When we talk in our sleep

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What horrors lurk in our subconscious? According to a new French study – believed to be the largest into the subject – on sleep-talking and what we say when we’re asleep, researchers found the most commonly used word is “no”, and the French swearword “putain” occurred, reports the Times, “800 times more often in sleep than when awake”. Some people were verbally abusive. The study also found that men sleep-talked more than women and used more profanities.

Sleep-talking, or somniloquy, is one of a number of a parasomnias (which include sleepwalking and night terrors). The idea that you can unearth someone’s deepest secrets while they are asleep is compelling. There are apps that record sleep-talking (Sleep Talk Recorder allows people to upload their often hilarious nocturnal mumblings).

It is much more common in children, and the majority of people grow out of it, although it could have a genetic factor. Anxiety and stress tends to bring it on. Sleep-talkers are generally reflecting some sort of aspect of a worry. I think it’s best not to place too much concern on sleep-talking and not take the words said by someone seriously.

However, sleep-talking might tell you one thing. Someone who persistently does it is probably quite anxious and it might be a good idea to find out what is worrying them.

 

 

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