What the hell is Somniloquy I hear you say?

som·nil·o·quy  (sŏm-nĭl′ə-kwē)

from Latin somnus (sleep) + loqui (to speak)

The act or habit of talking in one’s sleep.

Somniloquy is the technical term used for talking in your sleep. Many of us sleep comfortably and quietly. But for reasons so far unknown, some of us can be quite verbal when sleeping. Those who sleep talk can blurt out words, or even entire sentences while they are sound asleep. Somniloquy can also consist of incoherent mumblings and complete gibberish.

Somniloquy (more commonly known as sleep-talking), is the act of speaking when sound asleep. It’s a type of Parasomnia (an abnormal behaviour that takes place when sleeping). It can be quite a  common occurrence and is not generally considered a medical problem. Most sleep talkers are not even aware they are doing it.

This nighttime chit chat may be harmless, but it could be extremely graphic. Sleep talkers normally speak for no more than 30 seconds at a time, but some people could sleep talk many times during a night. For some, sleep talking makes no sense whatsoever, but for others, it could relate to past experiences or trauma.

Sleep-talking usually occurs by itself and is most often harmless. Some sleep talkers have been known to have complete conversations with their partner.

However, in some cases, it might be a sign of a more serious sleep disorder or health condition.

Sleep talking can also occur when sleepwalking and other nocturnal sleep-related disorders or activities.

Funny Fact

I was a sleep-talker as a child. My Dad claimed that I would tell him all of my secrets when I was asleep. To this day, I’m not sure what I said when sleep-talking :/

Things that can trigger or cause sleep talking include:

  • Certain medications
  • Emotional stress
  • Fever
  • Mental health disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Alcohol


Symptoms of Somniloquy could include:

  • Speech, conversation or mumblings during sleep
  • Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety disorders
  • Medical  conditions or illness causing a fever
  • Sleepwalking
  • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome
  • REM sleep behaviour disorder

Somniloquy does not appear to occur during any specific stage of sleep. Sleep recordings have shown episodes of sleep talking that can occur during any stage of your sleep cycle.

If you think you may be suffering from Somniloquy please consult with your medical professional.

7 replies
  1. Pamela Clatk
    Pamela Clatk says:

    My partnef talks in his sleep, swares, has conversations, yells at people, talks to people, has sung Happy Birthday to someone ??? And julmps out of the bed thinking he is protecting himself, or saving somebody else. His arms fly sometimes in all different directiions too.

    • Dee
      Dee says:

      OMG! This sounds hilarious but I’ll bet you are missing out on a good nights sleep as well with all of this going on! Stay safe!

  2. Jane
    Jane says:

    Dee, I certainly have learnt something today. I never knew the word for talking in your sleep but now I do and thanks for detailing out what it means. I have slept walked a few times, but not sure if I also chatted in my sleep as I have never been told so. I see how major stress could cause sleep talking as the mind is constantly engaged when stressed. I would hate to think I was giving away my deepest secrets when sleep talking, especially if it was with someone you don’t know well yet! Imagine having a first date and ending in bed and giving away your darkest secrets?:)

    • Dee
      Dee says:

      I agree Jane, there would be nothing worse than giving away your deepest darkest secrets when sleeping. I too have been a sleepwalker, I thought it was in the past but I actually had a couple of incidences recently 🙁

  3. Lisa Friedt
    Lisa Friedt says:

    I have totally been a Somniloquist. In fact one of the times that I was talking in my sleep causes me to laugh until my stomach hurts today. Both my Mom laugh for ages over it. I answered the phone while sleeping and told the person on the other line “I’ve got a pillow. OKAY, I’ve got a pillow” and then I hung up. Turns out it was someone calling my Dad for a figure contract. The best part is that I had fallen asleep less than 5 minutes before.

    I love the information that you provided in this post and I am definitely going to spend some time checking out the rest of your website.

    • Dee
      Dee says:

      Ha, that’s hilarious Lisa 🙂 I can only imagine how it must look (or sound) to others when we talk, or even have full-on conversations without ourselves. Thanks for dropping by.


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