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Night time’s no time for talking

November 19, 2015
Westfield Republican

Crystal Gayle hit the top of the charts in 1978 when she sang, "You've been talkin' in your sleep."

But the song was not a hit with me a few months ago when I woke myself up, muttering as I came out of a dream.

Still in a fog, I wondered who that was I had just heard speaking. Then I realized it had been me. Strange, I thought, this was something new.

I asked my doctor what brought it on. He said it was likely a side effect of one of my medications.

Since my list of meds is enough to make the folks at the Walgreens Pharmacy give me a standing ovation when I stop in, it was easy to accept the doctor's answer as the likely cause.

After that first event, the night talking became a frequent part of my sleep time.

My curiosity sent me to the Internet to find out about this peculiar problem.

I learned that the folks in the scientific world have given the difficulty an impressive name: somniloquy.

But that lilting term gives me no pleasure when I'm in the middle of a vivid dream and start a conversation with someone else in my dreamland sequence only to wake myself up, muttering something unintelligible.

According to authorities on the subject, sleep talking is often triggered by such non-medical causes as stress, alcohol, caffeine, heavy meals, depression or undiagnosed sleep disorders.

But I'm certain my doctor is right. This problem is due to one of my arsenal of medications. It's probably the one that gives me a dry mouth so severe I can't even work up a whistle in the morning.

While looking into the subject of sleep talking, I learned that young children often have episodes of such mutterings. And, in most cases, the content is gibberish.

In my early nights of sleep talking, I tried to remember what I had said when I woke myself up. But the words faded away as quickly as a mist in the wind.

Then I realized I was losing so much sleep time to this problem, I simply wanted it to stop.

The solution I tried was a strap arrangement I found in a catalog. The contraption was designed to keep the sleeper from snoring.

My reasoning was if I couldn't snore (which I'm sure I never do) I couldn't talk.

When the item came in the mail, I put it on, accompanied by son Tim's stifled laughter. To say I looked ridiculous is an understatement. But, I thought, it was at least worth a try.

The first night, it seemed to work. But, after that, it slipped from its position, leaving my mouth open for my usual nighttime conversation.

I even bought a second "snore strap" with a different design. Unfortunately, it gave no better results.

My latest solution is to wear earplugs. This way, even if I do chatter during my sleep, I won't wake myself up. So far, the plan seems to be working. What the long-term results will be, I have no idea. If the earplugs stop working for me, I'll have to bring out the big guns.

What do you think about headphones and an iPod?

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