Simply stated, parasomnias like sleep talking are unusual movements or behaviors during sleep, many of which occur when the child or adult is transitioning from the deepest sleep level of Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep into Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. It is believed that the parasomnia occurs when the person gets “stuck” between level 4 of NREM sleep (slow wave or deep sleep) and REM (dream state) sleep. As a result, the brain is not transitioning smoothly from one sleep stage to another. Sleep talking can occur in either NREM or REM sleep. There may be a genetic component, as it tends to run in families. Sleep talking is not harmful or of medical significance unless it is unusually frequent or loud and wakes up another individual sleeping in the same bedroom. No treatment is usually recommended for sleep talking because of its benign nature.
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The medical term for Sleep Talking is Somniloquy, and it is considered a Parasomnia. A parasomnia is described as “an unpleasant or undesirable behavioral or experiential phenomena that occurs predominantly during the sleep period" (Mahowald, Chokroverty, Kader, & Schenck, 1997, p. 67).