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寝言の相手と会話をすると??言い伝えと科学的根拠を探る

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寝言を言っている人と会話をすることは、あまりおすすめできません。

なぜなら、寝言と会話をすると、寝言を言っている人の睡眠の質が低下してしまうからです。

「寝言を言っている人に話しかけると魂が抜けてしまう」という話を聞いたことがありませんか?

本記事では、寝言を言っている人と会話をするとどうなってしまうのか、ご一緒にみていきましょう。

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寝言と会話にまつわる言い伝え

満月

「寝言を言っている人と会話をしてはいけない」という話を聞いたことがありませんか?

昔から寝言と会話については、様々なことが言い伝えられてきました。ここで、その内容を一部ご紹介しましょう。

  • 寝ている間は魂が抜け出ているので、話かけると魂が抜け出たままになってしまう
  • 寝言は死人の言葉。返事をすると死んだままになってしまう
  • 寝言に返事をすると、寝言を言った人が寝たまま帰ってこられない
  • 寝言を言っているときは一種の催眠状態にあるため、寝言に返事をすると催眠が解けなくなる

いかがですか?聞いたことがある話もあったのではないでしょうか?総じて、寝言を言っている人と会話することはよくないこととされているようですね。

「迷信」といえばそれまでかもしれません。でも、昔の人の言葉には生活の知恵に裏打ちされた、なるほど!と思うような言葉もたくさん残されていますね。

寝言と会話することの言い伝えにも、真実が隠れているかもしれません。それでは次に、寝言と会話について、科学的根拠をもとに考えてみましょう。

寝言と会話とレム睡眠の関係

寝言を言っている人と会話をすることは、科学的にみてもよいことではないようです。

なぜなら、寝言を言っている人と会話をすることで、睡眠の質に影響を与えるからです。

寝言を言っているときはレム睡眠の状態であることが多いため、会話をすると脳がさらに覚醒してしまい、睡眠が浅くなってしまうのです。では、レム睡眠とはどのような状態なのか、次にご紹介します。

レム睡眠とは

レム睡眠とは、急速眼球運動(Rapid Eye Movement:REM)を伴う睡眠のことで、反対に急速眼球運動を伴わない睡眠は、ノンレム睡眠と呼ばれます。

レム睡眠とは、身体は眠っているのに脳が活動している状態で、脳は覚醒状態にあります。これに対し、ノンレム睡眠は、身体も脳も休んでいる状態です。

通常、寝ているときは、まずノンレム睡眠が現れ、約1時間から2時間でレム睡眠に移行します。以降、ノンレム睡眠とレム睡眠が交互に現れ、レム睡眠はほぼ90分おきに20~30分続きます。

レム睡眠は、脳が覚醒している状態であるため、このときに目覚めるとすっきりと起きることができます。睡眠時間の目安として、90分の倍数、といわれるのはこのためです。
(実際には、最初のノンレム睡眠からレム睡眠への移行には個人差があるため、ぴったり90分の倍数ではない場合もあります。)

また、レム睡眠の間は特に「海馬」と呼ばれる記憶に関係している部分が働いて、起きている間に得た情報を整理しています。脳の中にある一時的に情報を保管している場所から、半永久的に記憶しておくものを選別して移し替える、ということも行われています。
この情報を整理しているとき、その情報を使った今後の予測や予習などのシミュレーションも行われていて、この作業中に言葉が出て「寝言」となることもあります。

ここまで、レム睡眠について、簡単にご紹介しました。ではレム睡眠についてご理解いただいたところで話をもとに戻しましょう。このようなレム睡眠の状態にある寝言を言っている人と会話をした場合、どのような影響がでるでしょうか?

レム睡眠の状態にあるときは、脳が情報を整理している状態であることはご紹介しましたね。このようなときに、「会話」という外からの情報が入ってくると、脳の仕事が増えてとても疲れてしまいます。また、眠りが浅い時の人が、寝言で会話をすることで、脳が覚醒してしまうと、眠りのリズムを崩してしまうこともあります。

このような理由で、科学的にも、寝言を言っている人と会話をすることは控えた方がよい、ということが考えられるでしょう。

注意したい寝言

一般的に寝言は、夢に関連していたり、脳が日中に得た情報のシミュレーション作業をするのに伴って出たりするもので、特に心配する必要はありません。

ただ、なかには病気などが原因となっている寝言もあるので注意が必要です。以下に注意をした方がいい寝言の例をあげます。

  • ストレス:強いストレスにさらされると寝言の回数や程度が増えます。また、強い精神的なストレスを受けたときに起こる「外傷後ストレス障害」では、悪夢を見てうなされることがよくあります。
  • 睡眠時無呼吸症候群:この場合の寝言は、うめき声やあえぎ声のことが多く、寝言にいびきや呼吸停止を伴うときは、この病気が疑われます。
  • レム睡眠行動障害:夢の中での動きをそのまま現実の世界でも行ってしまう病気で、初老期以降の男性が時々かかります。
  • ナルコレプシー:寝言の内容は感情的なものが多く、しばしば悪夢を伴います。

以上のような症状が見られる場合は、専門の医療機関での相談をおすすめします。

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まとめ:寝言と会話をするのは控えましょう

寝言を言っている人と会話をすると、その人の睡眠の質が低くなってしまいます。

寝言は、奇想天外・支離滅裂なことを言っていることも多く、ついつい面白くて返事をしたくなってしまうこともありますよね。

でも、睡眠は心身を休める大事な時間。あなたの大切な人が横で寝言を言っていたら、面白くても少し我慢。ゆっくり休ませてあげましょう。だまって聞いていても、面白い話が聞けるかもしれません。

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