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寝る 笑う

寝言で笑っているけど大丈夫?寝ながら笑う3つの状態を解明

子供

寝ている人から楽しそうな笑い声が聞こえてくるときありませんか?寝ながら笑う姿を見て、きっと楽しい夢でも見ているのだろうな、と想像していましたが、人が寝言で笑う時は一体どんな睡眠状態にあるのでしょうか。

本記事では寝言で笑う時の睡眠状態と、なぜ寝言で笑ってしまうのか、心配なことはあるのか、などに焦点をあてて、ご紹介します。もし、家族や身近な人が寝言で笑っていたけど大丈夫なのだろうか?と気になっている方はご一読くださいね。

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「笑う」「寝言を言う」の睡眠状態

寝る

睡眠中、楽しい夢を見ている時「ふふふ」と笑ってしまったら、現実にも笑っていて同時に目が覚めた、という経験はないでしょうか。睡眠中はレム睡眠(浅い居眠り)とノンレム睡眠(深い眠り)が繰り返されます。この「睡眠単位」はおよそ90分かかります。寝言はレム睡眠の時に夢の場面と連動していることが多いのです。

睡眠中に寝言を言ったり笑っている時は、身体は眠っていても脳が起きている状態です。寝言を言う時は、脳の中でも言語中枢という部分が活発に働いています。寝言を聞いた人はつい寝言に返事をしてしまいやすいのですが、寝言を言っている時には、眠りながらも脳の中は動いている状態なので、返事が聞こえてくると脳は休むタイミングを逃してしまうことになります。これが寝言に返事をしてはいけない、と言われている理由です。

寝言や笑うことは心配ないのか

寝言で笑う時は、眠りが浅い時だということがわかりました。「寝言で笑う」というのは、一見楽しそうなことですが、心配になることはないのでしょうか。

寝言で笑うこと自体は生理的な現象に分類されますので、心配はありません。しかし寝言を言う時は、深い睡眠状態ではないことが多いものです。本来、睡眠中は副交感神経が優位になりリラックスしています。それをストレスなどの影響で交感神経が優位になってしまうと、浅い眠りになります。繰り返される睡眠の波の中、あまりに寝言や笑いが多いと熟睡できないまま目覚めることになってしまい、翌日熟睡した感じのないまま目覚めてしまいます。

睡眠中の寝言や笑いで睡眠障害、というと大袈裟に聞こえますが、過度に大きな声を出したり、笑ったりするようなら、日頃ストレスに感じていることはないかなど根本原因を探ってみるのも一つの方法です。大きな寝言や笑い声は同じ部屋で寝ている家族の睡眠まで妨げることにもなりますから。

寝言は治せるのか

寝ている時の笑いは心配のないものだとわかりました。では、寝言がうるさくて困る人のために、寝言を治すことはできるのか探っていきましょう。

前項で「寝言の原因は眠りが浅いこと」と書きました。それならば、寝言が出ないような深い眠りにつくために効果のあることは何でしょうか。

熟睡のために効果的なのはメラトニンです。メラトニンは主に太陽の光を浴びることで生成されます。朝はたっぷりと朝日を浴びると、夜ぐっすりと眠り、寝言を抑えることができるのです。

他には寝る前のホットミルクも有効です。牛乳にはトリプトファンという必須アミノ酸の一種が含まれています。これは眠りには大切な栄養素なのです。またトリプトファンから作られるセロトニンも安らかな眠りに効果のある成分です。セロトニンが少なくなると、うつや気分がふさぎ込みます。

そして、ストレスを溜めこまないようにすることは最も大事な寝言の対処法です。スポーツで汗をかき、適度な疲れを感じることは熟睡につながります。寝言対処のためにも自分なりのストレス発散方を見つけましょう。

赤ちゃんが寝ている時に笑うのは

少々番外編になりますが、寝ている時に笑うのは大人だけではありません。赤ちゃんが寝ながら笑うのはどんなことが起こっているのでしょうか。

生後1か月までの赤ちゃんが眠っている時に「にーっ」と笑う時、または笑顔に見える表情をすることがあります。この笑顔を「新生児微笑」「生理的微笑」と言います。またの名を「天使のほほえみ」と言われる、見た人の心を温かくする笑顔です。

これは、おっぱいを飲んでお腹いっぱいで眠った時によく出るため、ほとんどの人は満足の笑みだと思っています。しかしこの笑いは、何かの感情で出たのではなく、神経の反射として顔の筋肉を引きつらせているだけだと考えられています。また、生き物が自分を守る術として「笑顔は可愛がられる」という情報を遺伝子に持っていると言われています。生命ってすごいですね。

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まとめ:良い眠りは次への活力

本記事では、寝言や睡眠中の笑いについて、その原因や心配事、対処法を書いてきました。寝ている時に泣いたり怒ったりするよりも、笑うことは精神衛生上良いことであり、睡眠を妨げるほどでないなら心配はいらないこともわかりました。

また寝言はストレスが原因であるため、上手な発散方と熟睡できるように心がけることで、睡眠障害にまで発展するのを防ぎます。睡眠は人間の土台作りとも言える重要な時間です。ぐっすりと眠って活力を養いましょう。

  • 寝言や笑うことは心配ないのか
  • 寝言は治せるのか
  • 赤ちゃんが寝ている時に笑うのは

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