How do I stop moaning in my sleep?
March 16, 2010 7:20 PM   Subscribe

How do I stop moaning and making other strange noises in my sleep?

Over the past year I have started humming and/or moaning in my sleep. Sometimes I wake myself up with the sounds, but most of the time I end up sleeping through it and hear about it later from my sleep-deprived boyfriend. Many times it's short moaning sounds that can sound like a puppy whimper, but more often than not I give the impression that I'm dreaming about sexy times. (I'm not). Sometimes it's a straight up tuneless hum, like I'm meditating or something.

I have been noted on occasion to talk in my sleep since I was a wee tot, but this is a new development. My mom happens to do the same whimper thing. I'm scared it's genetic.

I'm starting to develop a bit of a complex. I frequently go on camping trips, cabin/hut trips, retreats or meetings for work where I'm sharing a tent/room with one or more people. I'm really scared of keeping people awake with these vocalizations, and have started avoiding such trips. Not to mention my poor man-friend who would appreciate a more restful night.

I haven't noted a pattern related to being really tired or alcohol or anything, I'm kind of at a loss of why I do this.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Did you find a solution? IS there a solution? Thanks!
posted by Maude_the_destroyer to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Funny, I do that too and often wake myself up. I haven't worried about it - I figure it's less annoying than snoring.
posted by cecic at 7:27 PM on March 16, 2010

Have you been under stress? Sometimes I do this when I'm stressed about something. I wouldn't avoid any trips. It's mainly how you play it off. I've woken up a room of people before, and I just laughed it off the next day.
posted by shinyshiny at 7:31 PM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I do the same thing, it comes and goes. I've never found anything to stop it, but I have noticed that different things seem to bring it on. If I'm slightly stressed (really stressed doesn't do it), if there are major changes in my life (even good changes that I'm excited about), and if I'm getting over being sick. Of course, it also comes on for no reason too. I have whole conversations with my husband and don't remember a thing.

(There was one time that hubby rolled over and spooned me and I started the moaning. He got all excited thinking I was up for a morning tumble until he realized that I was unconscious.)
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:49 PM on March 16, 2010

I do this as well but have no idea why. I'm sorry I can't help.
posted by kate blank at 8:17 PM on March 16, 2010

Omigod, I do it, too! And I thought I was alone out there...

As far as helpful suggestions to stop it, I'll be watching this thread because I haven't found a thing to stop the moaning and it's been going on for years and years.

My suggestion, therefore, would be to figure out coping mechanisms. I used to drive my roommates nuts because they couldn't sleep with my noise until they got used to it (so, about a month in for most of them). One of my roommates who shared a room space with me couldn't handle the noise when it got especially loud but learned to deal with the rest of the time, so her solution was to wake me up when I got loud. You and your SO will have to figure out ways to compromise (earplugs? waking you up? white noise generator?).

As for camping, etc, you really can't avoid social stuff because of this. Believe me, I know, as I just did a trip myself with a friend who I forgot to warn. You'll want to remember to warn people ahead of time (so they can bring earplugs if needed) and encourage them to wake you up if they can't take it anymore. And sometimes, with some people, you have to realize that if it wasn't you moaning, it would have been the rock under their sleeping bag or the light from the campfire or anything at all.

Barring awesome helpful suggestions for eradication of your quirk (here's one: see about getting yourself into a sleep study. You'll want to make sure that a doctor rules out anything serious like sleep apnea or another organic cause), you may just have to look at coping mechanisms.
posted by librarylis at 8:18 PM on March 16, 2010

I've observed what I started calling "troubled sleep" in a couple of families, 3 generations worth. I think it's hereditary. It manifests in numerous ways, sleep walking, talking, moaning or singing. As you've seen here, there doesn't seem to be a remedy, only coping mechanisms. Good luck!
posted by davoid at 9:40 PM on March 16, 2010

Ask your boyfriend to wear earplugs. Lay a box fan on its side for white noise to mask yours.

More info on somniloquy here.
posted by neuron at 9:54 PM on March 16, 2010

Ah, sleep noises. I'm rather active in my sleep thanks to a number of sleep disorders (night terrors, sleep-walking, sleep-talking). There's no sure fire way to a noiseless night, sorry. This is something that you're probably going to have to deal with for the rest of your life. But it's not so bad - I've found I can reduce the likelihood of an occurrence in a number of ways. Of course, YMMV.

-Make sure you are rested. This is the biggest tip I can possibly give you. It's strange that the more tired I am, the more likely I am to sleep-talk/walk, and many other people with sleep disorders say the same thing. Alcohol can make you fall asleep faster, but the quality of sleep you get is so poor it usually just makes the situation worse. Same thing with sickness or stress.

-TV, radio, or computer in the bedroom? Get rid of it, or at the very least, make sure it's all off before you go to bed. This was hardest for me, as I crave background sound and usually listened to music as I went to bed, but later found some kind of ocean sounds or white noise helped.

-Sleep aids. From my experiences, any kind of medicinal sleep aid just makes me more active in my sleep. Ambien was the worst for me, and made my usually irregular episodes of night terrors and sleepwalking almost nightly occurrences. Even over-the-counter Tylenol PM messes me up. If you're taking anything now that causes drowsiness, you may want to compare on and off the medicine.

-Strangely, certain foods affect my sleep. I'm more likely to sleep-talk/walk if my dinner was spicy or contained red meat. Caffeine after a certain hour is right out. You might want to keep an eye on what you had for dinner the nights you make sleep noises.

Since this is still a somewhat recent development, you'll really have to figure out what does or doesn't work for you - there's no magic answer to turn it off. I've done a number of sleep studies, and usually find them very helpful. Weird, but helpful. Over the years I've learned a lot of what I listed above, but most of this really varies from person to person. I noticed that it seems to happen in random spurts, followed by months of nothing, whereas other people seem to always have completely random sleep activity.

Socially, just explain that you have this thing you sometimes do in your sleep. If you do it and it gets too disturbing, let them know they can wake you up. Always give fair warning (as a kid, I once had a night terror during a camping trip and didn't warn anyone beforehand - Girl Scouts was really weird after that, lemme tell ya) but chances are nothing will happen. The less a big deal you make of humming in your sleep, the less others will see it as a big deal when/if it happens - and truthfully more people suffer from sleep disorders than you might think. Don't be surprised if you tell someone you hum in your sleep and you get a "Me too!" or they admit they've another sleep disorder as well (as evidenced by this thread).
posted by sephira at 10:01 PM on March 16, 2010

I do this when I'm overtired. So maybe avoid that? Try to sleep when you're tired but don't wait until you absolutely can't keep your eyes open any longer.
posted by katyggls at 10:27 PM on March 16, 2010

Consider a fan for whitenoise, a mouthgard, warning people beforehand.
posted by bunny hugger at 6:26 AM on March 17, 2010

Like some of the others on here - I have what are known as "parasomnias." I've been a crappy sleeper since I was a baby. I sleepwalk. I eat in my sleep (raw noodles, anyone? Yum). I kick and punch my bed partners, I snore, I grind my teeth, I sleep-talk. I scared the living bejabbers out of my camp counselor at Girl Scout camp by sleepwalking out of my top bunk and landing with a crash. Good times, good times! So a) you're not alone, and b) moaning and humming in your sleep is mild compared to what some of us do.

I strongly, STRONGLY suggest separate beds if you can swing it. Happy couples don't have to sleep together, that's a fiction of our particular culture. If I absolutely have to share a room/bed with someone I explain to them that I have some pretty weird sleep behaviors, don't be scared, and do get some earplugs. And for God's sake give me the bottom bunk.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:06 AM on March 17, 2010

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