Sunday, September 26, 2010
Sleep Walking vs Sleep Talking
Hours after bedtime, do you find your little one wandering the hall looking dazed and confused? If you have a sleepwalking child, you're not alone.
As we sleep, our brains pass through five stages of sleep — stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Together, these stages make up a sleep cycle. One complete sleep cycle lasts about 90 to 100 minutes. So a person experiences about four or five sleep cycles during an average night's sleep.
Sleepwalking most often occurs during the deeper sleep of stages 3 and 4. During these stages, it's more difficult to wake someone up, and when awakened, a person may feel groggy and disoriented for a few minutes.
Kids tend to sleepwalk within an hour or two of falling asleep and may walk around for anywhere from a few seconds to 30 minutes.
Have you been told that you whisper sweet nothings in your sleep -- unaware that you ever spoke a word? Or, maybe your child shouts out streams of babble late at night -- only to fall right back to sleep.
Talking in your sleep can be a funny thing. Perhaps you chitchat unconsciously with unseen associates at the midnight hour. Or maybe a family member unknowingly carries on nightly conversations. It can also be violent or a sign of some other disorder.
What exactly is sleep talking?
Sleep talking, or somniloquy, is the act of speaking during sleep. It's a type of parasomnia -- an abnormal behavior that takes place during sleep. It's a very common occurrence and is not usually considered a medical problem.
The late-night diatribes may be exceptionally eloquent, or the words may be mumbled and hard to decipher. Sleep talking may involve simple sounds or long, involved speeches. Sleep talkers usually seem to be talking to themselves. But sometimes, they appear to carry on conversations with others. They may whisper, or they might shout. If you share a bedroom with someone who talks in his or her sleep, you might not be getting enough shut-eye.
Who Talks in their Sleep?
Many people talk in their sleep. Half of all kids between the ages of 3 and 10 years old carry on conversations while asleep, and a small number of adults -- about 5% -- keep chit-chatting after they go to bed.
It's hard to tell if you've been talking in your own sleep. Usually, people will tell you they've heard you shout out during the night or while you were napping.
My Family Stories on Sleepwalking and Sleep Talking
Check out this space for my stories about sleepwalking and sleep talking among my family members, yours truly, included. Believe me, they're really hilarious.....