Sleep Talking In Children: Causes, Treatment, And Remedies

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Sleep problems, like bedwetting, leg restlessness, teeth grinding, sleepwalking, and sleep talking in children, can be frequently seen. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), about 50% of the pediatric population have some type of sleep problem, with just around 4% being diagnosed with a sleep disorder (1). Sleep talking, also known as somniloquy, is a sleep-wake transition condition in which people talk in their sleep without realizing it (2). Children may speak in whole sentences, blabber, mumble, chuckle, or even whistle while sleeping. Sleep talking is harmless and temporary in most cases and does not require treatment. Continue reading to learn more about sleep talking, its effects on children, and how to deal with it.

Why Do Children Talk In Their Sleep?

Sleep talking is more common in children with sleepwalking

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Sleep primarily consists of two different stages, namely REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement). Sleep talking can occur in any stage of sleep. Children do not remember the content of their talks and have no memory of that event (1) (3).

Sleep talking has been known to be genetic, which means it runs in the family. It may also be caused by other factors or conditions (4).

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Excitement — about an activity such as an outing, event at school, etc.,
  • Stress
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Depression

Sleep talking is also likely to be associated with other sleep-related disorders such as nightmares, night terrors ,sleep walking, sleep apnea (interruption of breathing during sleep), REM sleep behavior disorder, and confusional arousals  (4). The good news is that children usually grow out of this condition by adolescence (2).

Stages And Symptoms Of Sleep Talking In Kids

Symptoms of sleep talking may vary depending on various factors

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Symptoms of sleep talking can vary depending on the severity and duration of the condition (4).

When sleep is lighter, talks can be understandable. However, they turn gibberish in the later stages of sleep.

  • Stages 1 and 2: The sleep is light during these stages, thus making the talking comprehensible. Sleep talkers can often have an entire conversation during these stages.
    • Stages 3 and 4:It is marked by deep sleep, which makes it difficult to comprehend the speech. There is some amount of speech restriction that could make the speech sound like gibberish or moaning.

Sleep talking can be classified as follows, depending on the severity.

  • Mild: Sleep talking episodes occur less than once a month
  • Moderate: They occur more than once a week. The sleep talk doesn’t interfere or disturb the sleep of others.
  • Severe: Episodes occur every night and could disturb the sleep of others.

Sleep talking can be classified as follows, depending on the duration.

  •  Acute: The duration of the condition has been a month or less than a month.
  • Subacute: The duration has been more than a month but less than a year.
  • Chronic: The condition has persisted for more than a year.

Complications Of Sleep Talking In Children

There are no complications of sleep talking in children. If sleep talkers are loud and the episodes frequent, then it may disturb the sleep of others in the room.

When To See A Doctor?

Sleep talking is a harmless condition. However, if your child shows severe symptoms such as frequent episodes and loud speech, then it may require a visit to the healthcare practitioner or a sleep expert. There might be an underlying condition such as stress, anxiety, or depression in school-aged children.

Treatment For Sleep Talking In Children

A sleep specialist may help treat the condition

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There is no known treatment for sleep talking. However, consulting a sleep expert can help you manage the condition. Solving an underlying cause can eventually help cure sleep talking.

Tips To Manage Sleep Talking In Children

The following tips can help you manage sleep talking in children (1) (4) (5).

  1. Maintain a regular sleeping schedule, including daytime naps, for your child.
  1. Set scheduled awakenings in the morning and for daytime naps.
  1. Make sure your child gets an adequate amount of sleep. Avoid distractions during bedtime.
Avoid distractions during bedtime

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  1. Maintain good sleep hygiene for your child. Sleep hygiene is a set of practices that help the child fall asleep better. For instance, keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature and avoid placing lamps with bright light near the bed.
  1. Avoid fatty, greasy, or spicy food and carbonated drinks before bedtime as these may lead to indigestion and disturb the sleep.
  1. Ensure that your child’s room has a good amount of sunlight in the morning and darkness in the night. This will help in maintaining a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
  1. Let the child get regular exercise or physical activity, such as cycling, swimming, or any other sport activity. This might help improve the quality of sleep.
Physical activity may help improve the child's sleep quality

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  1. Avoid caffeine and sugar at night.
  1. Let the child get regular exercise or physical activity, such as cycling, swimming, or any other sport activity. This might help improve the quality of sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it normal for a child to talk in their sleep?

Sleep talking behaviors are common and normal in children and do not always indicate a mental health disorder. Children usually talk in sleep during the non-REM stage of the sleep cycle, where some part of their brains might still be awake (6) (7).

2. Why shouldn’t one wake up sleep talkers?

Experts suggest it is unnecessary to awaken a child who is sleeping, as they may stop talking after a while and go back to sleep. However, if you are concerned about sleep talking being associated with other sleep disorders, it is ideal to speak to your child’s doctor (4).

You need not worry much if your toddler is talking in sleep, as it is a common habit among toddlers. Mostly, your child will outgrow this habit as they age. However, sleep talking becomes a concern if it is repetitive and is hindering the sleep of the others in the house. Hence, if the episodes occur frequently or are accompanied by other sleep disorders, it is better to consult a pediatrician and a sleep expert. They can identify the triggering factors and suggest a few tips to help your child sleep better.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Carter K. A., Hathaway N. E., and Lettieri C. F., Common sleep disorders in children; American Family Physician
2. El Shakankiry H. M. Sleep physiology and sleep disorders in childhood; Nature and Science of Sleep
3. Sleepwalking and sleep talking; American Academy of Sleep Medicine
4. Sleep talking; National Sleep Foundation
5. Sleep hygiene; National Sleep Foundation
6. Sleeptalking in children and teenagers; Raising Children Network
7. David Peeters and Martin Dresler; Scientific Significance of Sleep Talking; Frontiers for young minds.


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Sagari Gongala

Sagari was a math graduate and studied counseling psychology in postgraduate college, which she used to understand people better. Her interest in reading about people made her take up articles on kids and their behavior. She was meticulous in her research and gave information that could be of help to parents in times of need. An animal lover, vegan, and...
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Dr. Atiqur Rahman Khan

Dr. Atiqur Rahman Khan is an experienced senior neonatologist and pediatrician with over 20 years of experience. He has been working under the Ministry of Health at Maternity and Children’s Hospital Saudi Arabia for more than 15 years. Having completed his undergraduation from Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College, Dr. Khan went on to do his post graduation from Yerevan State...
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