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Unable To Talk Properly Whilst Dreaming

by Steve
(Pontypool, South Wales, UK)

I have a few questions to ask about sleep talking. I sleep talk quite a lot and have been known to talk, shout, swear and sing. I've even been known to bark, speak in "tongues" and speak in a different accent.


Anyway, I have two questions. Firstly, I've lately been experiencing the unsettling "problem" of being unable to speak properly during my dreams. I can make sounds but the words are very indistinct and I am fully aware of this inability whilst I'm dreaming and it always makes me feel uncomfortable. I can only describe it as the kind of speech one sometimes hears from stroke victims. The only explanation that I can come up with is that on these occasions my mouth may have become very dry and my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth. Could anyone shed any light on this?

My second question is more out of curiosity. I was wondering why people only seem to voice their own words in a dream but never seem to articulate the words being spoken by other characters in the dream. This seems odd as all the dialogue is being created by the same brain. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Regards

Steve (Captain Frantic)



Kevin: Hey Steve (aka Captain Frantic :). Interesting questions. The second I may have more thoughts about than the first, although they're just a bit simple and intuitive. Here they are:

Even during our dreams, our minds act with a certain expectation system built from our experience with the physical world that effects some aspects of the dream content itself. In most people's dreams, for instance, the laws of physics are still somewhat at play. The people around you still walk with their two feet on the ground. There are often the occasional exceptions to these normalities, but many of us often don't even pick up on the fact that, wow, it was really weird that my little sister just turned into that horse over there by the water! (But when we do start to pick up on these changes and recognize them as abnormal we can start doing cool things like lucid dream. In a lucid dream we can say "To hell with physics! I know I'm in a dream and gravity need not apply here! I'll fly now please.")

While it's not always that easy (to fly ;), I think the point these thoughts are trying to make is that maybe your dream mind is still operating on a system that expects you to only utter the words that the "dream you" is saying, since that's how things normally work. Perhaps it is prior experiences from the physical world that guides the movement of your physical body in relation to your dream sequence.

Hopefully that's somewhat coherent, but it's entirely possible that it's not! Anyone else have any thoughts on this out there?

And for your first question, I don't have any personal experience with hearing anything quite like what you describe. I found it fascinating that you are aware of the difficulty speaking while the dream is going on. That seems rather remarkable! Another thing to note perhaps is that sleep talking episodes typically occur during NREM sleep stages 1 & 2 (also known as the stages of "light" sleep), where vivid dreaming does not occur.

Not sure what to extrapolate from that but there you go. Perhaps investing in a Zeo Personal Sleep Coach may help you with some answers to that end. It's essentially an at home polysomnogram, measuring your sleep and giving you feedback on when you're in REM and NREM sleep throughout the night. Perhaps if you tested when you personally most commonly talk in your sleep it will further shed more light onto your questions.

Warmly,
Kevin

Comments for Unable To Talk Properly Whilst Dreaming

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May 24, 2013
Slurred dream speech NEW
by: Toni

I deal with sleep paralysis quite often, but recently I have noticed the same slurred, "stroke-like" speech in my dreams. I am unable to speak correctly and am completely aware of it in my dream, but have no idea what to do to fix it and end up in a state of panic while dreaming. It's really starting to concern me, but I haven't been able to find any answers as to what could be causing it.

Jul 20, 2013
Unable To Talk Properly Whilst Dreaming NEW
by: Sammy

I suffer from the same problem, which started a few years ago. Very frustrating that I find myself speaking like a stroke victim as well. Martyn I think what you're describing is sleep paralysis. I've suffered from it since the 1970s but didn't have a clue what was going on. Thank goodness for the Internet! Steve, your comment re: speech problems, that your mouth is very dry, was interesting because mine is too, it's been getting worse over the past few months. I've been lucid dreaming since childhood, I fly often and it's the most wonderful feeling, so I just need to sort this speech problem out now!

Jan 03, 2014
Paralyzed NEW
by: Jean

I too experience paralysis, just last night, I suddenly for paralysis in my legs just shortly into my dream and quickly it spread into my speech as I'm fully aware and even reaching out to my friend for help, everyone kept moving around like I wasn't there or that nothing was wrong even though I was slurring and reaching within inches and sometimes grabbing a hold of them. I'm curious what this may mean, it's such a helpless feeling.

Feb 26, 2014
Speak in tongues NEW
by: dreams.00.gs

To "speak in "tongues" and speak in a different accent" is also known as to "speak in tongues of men and of angels" : such "unknown tongues" are likely to be those of the Nine Orders of Angels; while the "different accent" is that likely that of Otherworld (Otherwhere) entities. It could be instructive to make audio-recordings of such "unknown tongues"; for the very process of making the recordings would be likely to elicit from their source more specific information, such as the specific Order of Angels involved. Of course, the distinction between "speaking in tongues" while asleep, and "speaking in tongues" while awake, is that the sleeping variety must entail communication from Angels presiding in the dream-world counterpart of the heaven of that particular Order of Angels.

Apr 29, 2014
FRUSTRATED WHILE TRYING TO SPEAK IN DREAM NEW
by: Anonymous

I am totally aware that I am having trouble speaking during my dreams. I am usually very angry and my husband wakes me up. I am also frustrated that I am having difficulty with speech during the dream. I can usually remember the dream vividly.
It's difficult to find information about this phenomena.

Jul 31, 2014
amazing description NEW
by: Anonymous

Had the same problem (speaking as though having a stroke) and have been struggling with a way of describing it. Perhaps now I can find a solution. Its very disturbing and sometimes the dreams are so vivid I feel like it will never end.

Sep 26, 2014
Possible answer to slurred speech NEW
by: Anonymous

I used to have recurring dreams I was trying to scream, but my mouth was litteray glued shut in some form or fashion. It was always in moments of crisis and my husband would have to wake me up, and my pillow would be soaking wet from crying in my sleep.

After much research, I realized it was my brain enlightening me to the fact that I didn't feel heard... Able to express myself. I was trying and trying to to speak, to no avail. Once this connection was made, I didn't have that problem anymore.

Recently, I been plagued with dreams where my speech becomes slurred. Mostly, it's when I am really angry or panic stricken. I suspect, based on the previous experience, this is representative of my attempts to speak out about something... The difficulty I am having. A look at the situation I am in during the episode has been offering some pretty clear pictures of some areas of expression I am currently struggling with. THAT would be my suggestion... Look at the situations you are in when this happens and think about this possible expalnation to see if it fits. Hope this helps and good luck!

Oct 18, 2014
I relate completely NEW
by: Anonymous

I also have this same dream which has been reoccurring for a little over a year. I am trying to talk in my dream but it want come out. Or if it does its a low whisper and very difficult for me to do. All the while, I'm thinking to myself, what is wrong with me? Why have I lost the ability to speak. Even in my dream it's like me brain will not communicate with my mouth. It's a horrible feeling and I am always so relieved when I realize it was just a dream. The thing that brothers me the most is how reoccurring it is. I use to have a reoccurring dream for years and years about light bulbs being blown. In my dream I am flipping every switch I come to and no light will work. There's normally no direct danger related other than the uncomfortable feeling of being in the pitch dark and not being able find light anywhere.

Nov 23, 2014
similar circumstances NEW
by: Anonymous

I am also suffering from a these similar paralysis and speech phenomena in my dreams.it usually seems more prevalent when my dream has me speaking in front of more than one person.
I have recently noticed that i now will wake up in the midst of this speech paralysis as i am awaking myself and my wife with my sleep talking.
This makes me think that since i am attempting to speak out loud physically while my mouth is probably closed, that from my dream state, I want to hear my articulate the words, but my closed mouth in my real life dimension stops this

Dec 26, 2014
SPEAKING PARALYSIS in sleep AND SLEEP PARALYSIS NEW
by: Jesus

I learned stop waking up from sleep paralysis. "" demons would attack me and at first i used to try to physically fight them, then I would just imagine myself with telekinetic powers and defeated them mentally instead of physically which would end up waking me up stuck in place. Eventually the entities went away.

Now I just dream about not being able to speak. I started signing. In a particular dream I was being escorted from a shopping store by a security guard or cop and i was trying to ask him to wait and not touch me. He kept escorting me and then i signed out the letters W-A-I-T. and he understood me.

Apr 26, 2015
HELP ME NEW
by: Ryan

Ihave this slured speech often. But what scares me more is somtimes i wake up from the dream and cant move in real life and try to scream but i cant make a sound. Ive sat in my body like that up to 30 mins. Wtf is that? My friend said he has heard people say its the devil sitting on your chest. Not only that i also see ghostly abbaritons as if the dream world is overlapping the real world. I saw a little blue girl sit at the end of my bed wacthing me as i tryed to movand scream with no results. After awhile she faded away and regained motor functions but felt tingly. I dont believe in the devil or the common concept of god. I know whatevers going on is coming from within my own head. Can anyone explain any of this? Im afraid to sleep.

May 07, 2015
@Ryan NEW
by: Jurben

i got incedents like that too, that happens when your body is tired of doing too much work and u sleep all day... i see hallucinations in the real world... monsters, real people who is really isnt there, etc.

May 20, 2015
Dream paralysis NEW
by: Anonymous

I think the most likely explanation is that this is an evolutionary protection against hurting yourself or alerting predators to your location while you are asleep. I do not see it as a disorder. My dog clearly has dreams, but his "running" is limited to twitching his legs and his "barking" consists of quiet yips. This would have the added advantage for animals who sleep together or near each other of not alarming or rousing others when one animal dreams. When you think about it, how could pack animals sleep sufficiently if others ran around and howled or barked at full voice in their sleep? Everyone would be on alert all the time.

Jun 08, 2015
Someone who can relate. NEW
by: Morgan

I'm looking for answers to the same question, I had actually just woken up from a nightmarish dream. I had far too much energy in my dream, all bottled up I could do anything. I could fly for a short while then when I hit the ground, I still had so much energy I couldn't stop moving, I had to use as much as I could, I was too energetic. Later on through the dream I noticed how unsettling the situation was. I was next to a highway by my local university, and it was dark, but not naturally dark. It was as if it should have been sunny, but something was limiting the light. There was a baby rabbit who was making goat noises in the grass. Which was extremely off putting. Eventually off in the distance I seen a girl who was walking towards me. But I was so uncomfortable because of the setting and that rabit, I knew I didn't want to talk, so I pulled out my phones and called my brother. It I couldn't speak?!I know that I just just making inaudable noises. You described it very well, as if I was having a stroke. This girl came to me in a panic, asking for help, but her voice sounded so far away even though she was standing right next to me, she was panicking begging for help. I was scared, I didn't want to talk to her, even if I wanted to, I couldnt have. It was as if I could mentally say these things, but physically it was impossible.

Anyways, I hope you found your answer. I'll be strolling through the comment section myself to see if anything helps. I know this is a somewhat common occurrence in my nightmares (I do not have nightmares often, maybe 5 a year)

Jul 28, 2015
Noticing the same things. NEW
by: Anonymous

I sleep talk/scream/cry/laugh in my sleep and I noticed the same dry mouth and slurred speech in my dreams. I wanna chalk it up to sleep me is actually trying to say what dream me is saying but I'm so deep in sleep or so dry mouthed I can't and dream me is saying how sleep me is. Haha I hope that's not confusing. I would defiantly like to see an answer tho.

Nov 10, 2015
unable to talk NEW
by: jamie

I literally just woke up from a dream like this. I was yelling in my dreams and reaching out for my husband to wake me up but i couldnt get any words out but i was able to move my arms. Also i know i was dreaming in my dream so i was trying to pull my eyes open in my dream to wake up. Finally at the end i was able to muster a loud scream which in turn was me moaning in my sleep in real life according to my husband. I had this cycle reaccure like 3-4 times in my dream before finally waking up. It scared me so bad a had tears coming out my eyes. I dont have any explaination but glad its just a dream even though its terrifying!

Nov 29, 2015
This just started happening to me! NEW
by: Benjy

So glad I found this entry and comment section! This has been happening to me lately. I'm pretty new to interpreting dreams and generally just experiencing them. It's rare that I dream and even more rare that I remember more than a few details.
I work in restaurants and I frequently have dreams that I'm at work, or something like it. It's always a stressful environment where problems happen and I have to do my darnedest to stay afloat. Lately I've been acting more ballsy in these situations and telling my customers what I really think!
Seems fun, but I find it extremely difficult to form words in my dreams. It's so difficult that I often wake myself with the sound of my voice by the time I get a full sentence out, and I don't even get to enjoy the reaction of a rude customer getting the cuss out of the day.
Once I gave someone a high five in my dream and awoke to the impact of my own hand on the wall I was sleeping next to. This speaking paralysis
situation has reminded me of that

Jan 19, 2016
talking improperly while dreaming NEW
by: Anonymous

I too have been recorded by my cousin talking in a very strange voice of mine that I have never heard before. Gut wrenching cries and slurrs of exhaustion came out of my mouth. It was frighting to hear them.I was screaming and yelling about something in my dream but was finding it so hard to articulate and move.

Jan 26, 2016
Any answers to this phenomena? NEW
by: Anonymous

Happens at least twice a week to me for the last 10 years or so

Feb 07, 2016
trying to call for help NEW
by: Anonymous

I have had this before but not a lot then it happened again 2 nights ago. I was in bed alsleep and i dreamt somethign dragged me out of bed in the night and i was screaming for help at the time it was very real i then got back to bed in my dream and it happened again i could feel the words coming out my mouth but it was tho i had a speach problem or a stroke, in the morning i decided it must have been that i was it between being asleep and trying to wake up so i didnt have full control if my mouth uts very scary because at the time i felt as if it was real and have had this a few times before also.

Mar 26, 2016
Similar reoccurring dreams NEW
by: Alice

I am having similar reoccurring dreams in which my voice is very hoarse or just above a whisper. It is becoming quite disturbing as the dreams seem to be intensifying as well as occurring on a more regular basis. 9/10 the dreams include my ex-husband, to whom I was married for 23 years. Divorced for 6 now. Our children were 18 and 19 when we divorced. Even though our relationship is not what I would describe as friendly, we are cordial and I hold no ill will towards him... or at least I didn't this so until these dreams began. It is always a situation which is urgent and I am trying to explain something or tell him something regarding our children. Sometimes the children are grown, as they are now, but more often the scenario is the children are in their younger years but the ex-husband and I have already divorced. It is driving me crazy! It makes me uncomfortable to have to deal with the ex 2-3 nights a week. I believe the dreams signify the belief that I "lost my relational voice" in the marriage but I dealt with those issues in therapy years ago. Why are they resurfacing out of the blue and on such a regular basis? I have remarried and moved on and would really like for my ex to leave my dreams as well.
Occasionally, the "lost voice" dream involves different situations in life.
Does this signify I believe I am not being heard? Or I feel like I am no longer important in the lives of my loved ones?
Finally, is there a way to STOP these terribly disturbing dreams? Help. Anyone.... Thank you.

Mar 30, 2016
Same dream NEW
by: Anonymous

As of lately I've been having these dreams as well. I also work in a restaurant as a bartender. So naturally I deal with a ton of stress on a daily basis but never have a problem keeping the customers happy. The dream I had the other night was extremely off putting. I was alone behind a bar full of people on a really busy night, they would ask me to make drinks I normally make on a daily basis but when I try to make them in the dream it takes me forever and I can never remember what the recipe is. People start to become infuriated, it literally feels like the whole bar is against me and everyone is calling me out on it. I try to calm them down but when I try to speak I cant properly form a sentence and start saying things that don't make sense, or are slurred. As all of you have said, I'm completely aware that I'm not making sense and it's absolutely terrifying. One specific detail I remember is running to the downstairs washroom trying to escape from a room full of people that have it out for me. I get to the washroom where all of my coworkers happen to be (for some reason) and try to talk to them to get some comfort/reassurance that nothing is wrong. Except when I try to talk to them I'm making even less sense than before and they don't seem to be hearing me. It's extremely frustrating and I end up in a state of panic. But no one seems to notice and they keep walking right past me as if nothing's wrong or I'm not even there. Then the strange part, everyone clears out and my brother is standing there. I walk up to him and try to talk to him but the only words I've said that I can manage to somewhat remember are a barely understandable sentence saying "don't, overlook, mental illness" then a few words after that that don't relate. As you could have probably guessed, this completely mortified me to the point where I wake up to a cold sweat soaked bed. I'm convinced it's like a preliminary warning for a stroke or something. I've been stressing about this and other similar dreams for weeks now and it's starting to affect my daily life. What should I do?

Mar 30, 2016
re Same Dream NEW
by: Alice

Anonymous, I wish I knew what to tell you to do to stop these disturbing dreams but I don't. I don't think it is a "sign" that you are about to have a stroke, rather I believe they are coming from some type of chronic underlying stress or issue. In fact, I've become quite the insomniac, dreading the thought of dreaming with no voice. I keep thinking maybe it will pass when I sleep a few nights without remembering any dreams then it happens out of the blue.
Disturbing recourring dreams mess with my psyche- almost losing confidence in areas of real life.
Maybe there is no "real" meaning to these dreams? I don't know- only wish they would stop. I do miss having fun, hopeful, fantasy type dreams but would much prefer none at all as opposed to these.
Maybe your job as a bartender has become more stressful recently? Maybe they mean nothing at all. It is hard for me to believe they mean nothing as our brains are so complex- but it is easier for me to accept than the alternative.
Maybe some quiet meditation before sleep would help? Now, if only I could sleep! I've done just a bit of "research", if one could call googling 'what does this dream mean' and have come up with nothing.
Sorry to be of no help- other than assure you are not alone.

May 20, 2016
I have dream I have trouble speaking NEW
by: Hilarynonymous

I don't ever remember having trouble speaking in dreams until recently (I'm 69). It's most disconcerting and I often wake up panicky after such a dream. It's the same sort of scenario that everyone else has described. I'm trying to communicate to a loved one or just anyone and the words are just gibberish.

Jun 22, 2016
Wow NEW
by: Andromeda

I just started this in February. (im 38) it happens like once a month and it's a common theme in my dreams, demons. I'm trying to holler at them and scream "go away in Jesus name but I can't. My mouth won't work. I can't open it. So I'm I'm screaming these words work a closed mouth. In my dream I know that I'm having this issue and try harder and harder to make my mouth open. My boyfriend wakes me because he hears my closed mouth screaming but can't make out what I'm saying. Im starting to actual wonder if demons are after me. I've never been a church goer or real religious, but this has me praying and going to church.

Jun 22, 2016
Wow NEW
by: Andromeda

I just started this in February. (im 38) it happens like once a month and it's a common theme in my dreams, demons. I'm trying to holler at them and scream "go away in Jesus name but I can't. My mouth won't work. I can't open it. So I'm I'm screaming these words work a closed mouth. In my dream I know that I'm having this issue and try harder and harder to make my mouth open. My boyfriend wakes me because he hears my closed mouth screaming but can't make out what I'm saying. Im starting to actual wonder if demons are after me. I've never been a church goer or real religious, but this has me praying and going to church.

Jul 05, 2016
Same dream - can't talk NEW
by: Anonymous

My dream is the same as Andromeda. It's been a reoccurring dream for more than 20 years now - either someone would be possessed or a demon was in my house. As soon as I tried to recite the Lord's Prayer, I couldn't get the words out - my speech was slurred, my mouth wouldn't move, etc. At first I thought it was a sign that I didn't have enough faith. But finally, about 5 months ago, it happened again, and this time I woke up and heard myself trying to recite the Lord's Prayer out loud. This led me to believe that whenever I try to speak in my dreams and can't, it's because I'm literally trying to talk. I remember reading somewhere that when you sleep, your body goes into a "paralysis" like state in order to keep you from actually moving and/or sleep walking. So perhaps the same thing happens with your mouth/voice when you sleep. You're trying to speak in real life, but your mouth isn't able to move - and this "paralysis" gets interpreted into your dream as you not being able to speak. And if you can speak in your dream but it sounds slurred (like a stroke victim, as others mentioned), I think it's because you are now literally speaking out loud, but not able to fully speak yet. It's almost as if your brain (in its dream state) is trying to break free of the "paralysis".

Sep 03, 2016
Sleep paralysis and stroke like speech NEW
by: Anonymous

It has happened to me for many years. The paralysis since I was a teen, and I am almost 63 now. The stroke like speech, which was the way I described it to my husband before I found this thread, is often, last night, both the paralysis and stroke speech all night. My stroke like speech started when my dad died in 1993 and family issues I felt prevented me from being heard. I used to have sleep apnea and when I slept with a CPAP, I don't believe I had these as often. Hmmm. I hate them, they are frightening. Often associated with nightmares but not always.

Sep 07, 2016
Having the same dream speech issues NEW
by: wheelhouse

I have more recently started having these speech issues while dreaming. My dreams seem to fit the narrative of the majority of the previous posts. I have been doing a lot of my own research or better explained as experimenting. In completely random order: Here is what I have come up with on my own. I first started with keeping a daily journal, trying to narrow down more stressful days and whether or not I could find a connection. This helped a great deal. I can tell you that in my situation, stress and being overly tired both physically and mentally exhausted seems to trigger these dreams more often. I have a very highly stressful job, some days more than others. I also tend to get much less sleep than I likely should. I have recently had a bad shoulder injury that doesnt allow me to get much sleep, I don't believe this to just be coincidence. The more often I wake up and fall back asleep, the worse these dreams tend to be. As the dreams got worse and more often, I finally decided to record myself as I slept. I can confirm such as an earlier poster said, I was very much trying to physically speak aloud, but that too just came out as mumbling and struggling jibberish. I wish I could tell you that what I have found has helped, but it simply hasn't. Having these recurring dreams only seems to stress me out more before going to bed. Which I theory only triggers them more often. My next steps are as follows: I am going to start walking every day. Even if it is just a block or two. I am also going to completely cut out caffeine from my diet. Lastly I plan on trying to meditate for a few minutes before bed to try and relax and clear my head. I will update again after a few weeks. Good luck to all suffering through this!

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