Some of us sleep soundly without uttering a whisper; others deliver entire speeches while sawing their logs. But why is that…and how does sleep talking affect our health?
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Many people think of sleep as the brain shutting off. Curtains. Lights out. But our brains are actually quite active during slumber. Throughout the night, we cycle through two types of sleep: Rapid Eye Movement, or REM, and non-REM, which has three stages. As we move through each stage, our brain waves progressively fall into lower frequencies and higher amplitudes until we reach deep, slow-wave sleep at stage 3.
Sleep talk can happen at any point during what scientists call “transitory arousal”, which is when a sleeper becomes half awake while transitioning from one stage to the next. Interestingly, the quality of our speech here decreases as we move closer toward stage 3. After stage 3 we enter REM sleep. This is when our eyes rapidly move behind closed lids and our brain activity becomes closer to how it is when we’re awake.
There are two different structures in the brain that control when we’re awake and when we’re asleep, sort of like a light switch. One is the Reticular Activating System, or RAS, a complex network of neurons located in the brain stem. It releases chemical messengers called neurotransmitters that promote wakefulness and help regulate our sleep-wake cycles. The other system, the Ventrolateral Preoptic Nucleus, or VLPO, is located in the hypothalamus. It releases neurotransmitters that bring on sleep by suppressing neural activity to the RAS. During REM, the VLPO structure releases powerful neurotransmitters that work together to inhibit motor neurons and prevent you from acting out your dreams of flying.
#science #seeker #REM #sleep #health
Is There a Link Between Sleepwalking, Sleep Talking, and Mental Health?
“Both sleepwalking and sleep talking can happen for many reasons. Sometimes they are symptoms of a mental health condition, and both may cause psychological distress and interfere with relationships, work, and even overall life satisfaction.”
Why Do People Talk in Their Sleep?
“The things people say depend heavily on what sleep stage they’re in. Barrett describes a gradual progression during the four stages of non-REM sleep that goes from primarily mumbling sounds and simple words in the deepest sleep of stage four, to simple phrases in stage three, and finally complete sentences that begin in stage two.”
Here’s What You Say When You Talk in Your Sleep
“In the study, researchers found that sleep talkers said the word “no” four times more often in their sleep than when awake. And the F-word popped up during sleep talking at a rate of more than 800 times than what was spoken while awake.”
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