Have you ever had to worry about what you could talk about in your sleep?
Most likely, such concerns are justified – they carried a study out in France in 2018, which concluded that night words could be more negative and offensive than we can imagine.
During the experiment, about 230 adults spent one or two nights in a sleep lab. During this time, the researchers recorded about 900 statements.
As speaking in sleep is not a relatively rare phenomenon, they chose people with various sleep disorders to take part in the experiment.
They analyzed the recorded statements in different aspects – how long they are, how often there is silence, what the tone is, how polite or rude the language is.
They compared the results with the largest collection of French spoken language to see to what extent they corresponded to modern language in terms of form and content.
Most of the night’s words were incomprehensible murmurs, whispers, or laughter where specific words could not be distinguished.
Of the clear part, a surprisingly large number were offensive or aggressive: 24% were negative, 22% were rude, and 10% heard the word “no” (only 2.5% in colloquial language).
The best-known slanderous words also appeared frequently about 2.5% of expressions were observed (only 0.003% awake). In about 10% of cases, what they said was something rude.
Why is it? Perhaps these figures confirm the so-called “threat simulation theory”, which is one explanation for the dream function.
This theory states that dreams are something like a simulation that trains people in situations that might arise while awake. This would mean that dreams are one mechanism of evolution.
Although rude, people expressed themselves differently than they would when they were awake.
The sentences were usually grammatically correct and corresponded to the colloquial language from the point of their intonation and the number of words in the expression.
The study concludes that talking in sleep could help to learn more about dreams and their necessity – even if it turns out to not be flattering.