The toddler stage is an exciting phase for parents, especially when they’ve learned how to speak. But to your surprise, they also started talking in their sleep.
Is it something that you can be worried about? At what point should you worry and visit a doctor?
This article covers everything you need to know about toddler sleep talking, what causes it, and what parents can do to help their child get a better night’s sleep.
What is toddler sleep talking
Sleep talking is when your child talks in their sleep, whether it’s a clear sentence or mumbling or even laughing. It’s usually done without any emotion, and your child would forget whatever she talked about after she woke up.
While we usually believe that sleep talking is associated with adults, sleep talking is actually more common in children, and can be more common if the parents are also sleep talkers. Most of the time, sleep talking is not a problem in children and will usually go away when they get older. It’s also not something that will disturb your child’s sleep pattern.
What causes Toddler sleep talking
There are many possible causes of toddler sleep talking, including genetics, overtired, stress, sleeping in a new environment, fever, nightmares, or because of taking certain medication.
According to a study that involves 1,656 kindergarten children in China, sleep talking scores 28% of toddlers’ sleep problems, and around 29% of them are caused by overtiredness and lack of sleep. The bad news is, children with fatigue were found to have lower IQ test scores than children without sleep problems.
If your child’s sleep talking is a sign of overtiredness, that may be a time to change their sleep routine and habit to keep them more well-rested.
What to do when your child is sleeptalking
You may wonder about what to do when your child talks in her sleep. But in fact, there’s nothing much that you should do. Just keep in mind to not interrupt or even wake your child when she’s sleeping. It’s likely that they’re in a REM or deep sleep stage, and waking them can only reduce their sleep time.
In general, toddler sleep talking is harmless and doesn’t require any treatment.
However, if it persists, there are still a few things you can do to help reduce the frequency of sleep talking in your child and help her get the best possible sleep, such as:
Maintain A Consistent Sleep Routine
According to KidsHealth, toddlers between ages 1-2 need to sleep between 11-14 hours a day. The key to getting enough sleep for children is to establish healthy sleep habits, which you can achieve by establishing a consistent sleep routine.
This can help them feel relaxed and secure before bedtime, which is essential to make your child sleep early. Make sure your routine includes winding down activities, such as reading a story or taking a bath, to help your child relax and prepare for sleep. Also, keep a consistent sleep schedule for your child, even on the weekends.
Create a Calm and Comfortable Sleep Environment
A quiet, dark, cool and comfortable bedroom not only helps your child to fall asleep faster but also increases their sleep quality. You can consider using a blackout curtain or white noise machine to create a distraction-free sleeping environment for your little one.
Avoid Stimulating Activities Before Bed
Toddler sleep talking can also be caused by overstimulating activities before bedtime, such as watching TV, excessive digital screen time, or playing video games. These activities can make it harder for your child to wind down and fall asleep, and might also reduce their quality of sleep.
Give children some time to relax before bed and put away all electronic devices at least a half-hour before bedtime.
Ensure your child is getting enough healthy nutrition
Did you know that what we consume also affects our sleep, including children’s? Some foods, such as fatty, sugary and stimulant foods prevent sleep hormone production, which causes them to stay up and energetic even after bedtime.
On the other hand, there are also healthy foods that will increase your child’s sleep hormone production, leading them to quality sleep and feel more well-rested when they wake up. Some of these foods are bananas, rice, honey, eggs and spinach.
When to Seek Help
Toddler sleep talking is typically harmless, but there are some situations that can be a sign of a bigger problem, such as:
- Your child’s sleep talking is too frequent, and intense, and lasts for months.
- It disturbs their sleep, causing them to wake up frequently.
- It involves violent or inappropriate speech, which can be a sign of a behavioural or psychological issue
- She moves her arms and legs while she sleep talks
Sleep talking can also be related to other sleep issues or sleep disorders, especially if it doesn’t stop no matter how you try to improve the quality of sleep. In this case, a doctor’s visit is highly recommended to get your child evaluated and treated. However, it’s also more likely that your child’s sleep talking is just a common child sleeping problem.