30 Sleep Idioms And Phrases To Help Your Brain Out

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Sleep is a form of desire.

It’s safe to say that it’s definitely on the top of everyone’s list for the most loved things to do in the world. For instance, just look at the girl sleeping like a log, on a log.

Now, that’s a properly used sleep idiom.

But, let’s talk a bit more about sleep before we dive into it.

Wikipedia defines sleep as “a naturally recurring state of mind and body, characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, reduced muscle activity and inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and reduced interactions with surroundings”.

That’s quite a definition which you probably skipped over or if you did read, must have made you yawn.

It’s because of the well-known fact that boring things often help us sleep easily.

sleeping man

Reading study materials? Eyes closed.

Your “wise” friend jabbering? Any second now.

Complex sentences? The sleep-o-meter level is off the roof and darkness ensues.

Anyway, I’ve curated a bunch of idioms and phrases related to sleep and a few with the word “sleep” but not directly linked to sleep.

Are you ready to improve your vocabulary? Read on.

Some Catchy Phrases Related to Sleep

put to sleep

Putting someone to sleep can be simply defined as making someone sleep, more like what our mothers used to do to us when we all were small and hated sleep as much as we love it today. Oh how the times have changed.

e.g. Ram put his baby to sleep.

hit the sack

This is something which at least I desire and want to do all day long. It’s one of the more confusion expressions for going to sleep. A sack is comfortable, isn’t it?

e.g. John immediately hit the sack after a long day at work.

a cat nap

a cat nap

This is a hobby that should turn into a professional career because catnap involves stealing some of your time for a small daytime nap.

e.g. Don’t disturb him. He is taking a cat nap

beauty sleep

I’m certain this isn’t a myth and should be known by people across the world. It has a literal definition which means sleep makes one beautiful. After all, beauty, after all, lies in the eyes of the beholder even if they are closed.

e.g. The real reason for her flawless skin is beauty sleep.

ready to drop

This defines my mood 24×7/. ‘Ready to drop’ means being extremely tired and just wanting to sleep without moving another inch.

e.g. He seems ready to drop. Probably must’ve had a long day.


Sleeeeeeppppp. That’s it.

Eg: This lecture is so boring, it’s the perfect opportunity to shut-eye.

sleep tight

Perhaps the most used slang for going to sleep in the list; it helps one realize the affection and generosity of the person who uses it, is because he/she is a well-wisher that wants the other to get a good round of sleep.

e.g. Good night, buddy. Sleep tight.

hit the hay

hit the hay

Hitting the hay means hitting the bed, more often than not, it is the only hitting that a person wants to get involved in. It’s used to emphasis on the fact that you’re really tired and can’t stay up anymore.

e.g. You are free to hit the hay, in case you feel too tired. 

^included in the list of things that your lecturer never told you.

sleep in

This is the best thing that can ever happen to anyone and yes, it doesn’t fall short of love for sleeping, especially on a day when the weather is not too good. To ‘sleep in’ means staying in bed for longer than usual.

e.g. Everyone loves to sleep in. Tell me a better thing in life that you enjoy.

Not an example but the truth.

sleep like a log

To sleep like a log is a dream come true. A deep sleep would be something that I would be wishing from Santa this Christmas.

e.g. There’s no use of waking Adam. He sleeps like a log.

sleep away

This is my personal favourite because it reminds me of school; my class teacher must have used this phrase over a million times especially when she caught me sleeping in her lectures.

e.g. The teacher was busy teaching as Abhishek was sleeping away to glory.

afternoon siesta

Something which I feel should be included as a compulsory activity in all offices and organisations. A small afternoon siesta will increase the efficiency of the employees. Agree?

e.g. I don’t like to be disturbed during my afternoon siesta. Period.

turn in

Turning in might have a lot of meanings but this type of turning in is perhaps the most loved. Who doesn’t like falling on to their cozy and comfortable bed?

e.g. I want to reach home and turn in to my bed ASAP.

sleep like a baby

I guess there’s more to being a baby than just playing with toys and laugh at serious matters. I miss every bit of it- been such a long time since I have managed to get a sweet and peaceful sleep. I should try music.

e.g. Don’t disturb James. Look at him, sleeping like a baby.

nod off

This is probably the most uncontrollable situation in the world regardless of how much one tries to focus or concentrate. Sometimes, it’s okay to fall asleep unintentionally.

e.g. I was so tired that I nodded off in the train on the way back home.

burn the candle on both ends

This is one of the most desired quality for being a true hustler which can jeopardise the quality of sleep.

e.g. George is burning the candle on both ends to get his startup rolling.

forty winks

We should get paid for this, really.

e.g. I dream of getting away with forty winks in the office.

lose sleep over (sth)

To lose sleep over something is simply getting worried about something to an extent wherein you can’t seem to think about anything else.

e.g. You got to help him out. He’s been sleep-deprived and losing his sleep over the unpaid debt.

Related: Sleep Deprivation | A Pocket-Friendly Checklist

sound sleep

It is widely spoken of and difficult to attain. Sound sleep refers to a comfortable round of sleep without any worries and problems.

e.g. I pray that you get sound sleep. You worked really hard this week.

waking up on the wrong side of the bed

A study by Hatch claims Americans have a bad start 300 times in a year. That’s quite rough. This phrase means to start your day with a bad mood.

e.g. You were so enraged with mother during breakfast. You seem to have woken up on the wrong side of the bed.

catch some z’s

This is one of the most precious catch anyone can get hold of- this idiom means getting or catching some sleep.

e.g. You look tired, go catch some Z’s.

night owl

All the students out there who suddenly turn into scholars and great learners one night before their exams claim to be night owls.  In reality, night owls stay up late because they function better at night.

e.g. Dary Mee’s video has turned Tom into a night owl. He hardly sleeps and is putting out great results at night.

tossing and turning

Also known as the lover’s syndrome, tossing and turning means not being able to get proper or comfortable sleep or not being able to sleep at all. Who gets a good sleep without bae anyway?

e.g. I couldn’t even sleep for a moment yesterday. I kept tossing and turning in my bed.

Related: 12 Tips to Stop Tossing and Turning All Night

early bird

This birdie has always been a part of lives in our parents taunts and examples- an early bird are a set of ideal human beings who wake up early in the morning *error 404*.

e.g. See, Mr Sharma’s son is an early bird, try and be like him.

rise and shine

A greatly sophisticated, diplomatic and evolved way of asking, rather than ordering someone to get out of their bed. But, this phrase is normally coupled with the act of the blanket being pulled up and thrown to the ground.

e.g. It’s already 10.30! Rise and shine, darling.

doze off

The chances are that you’ve fallen asleep unintentionally right from when you were a schoolkid because your brain told you so. Always trust your instincts, your brain knows you better.

e.g. I swear I tried my best but I dozed off during the presentation.

let sleeping dogs lie

let sleeping dogs lie

No-one wants to get into trouble, that too when it is unasked for and avoidable, it means to not interfere in any situation so as to not cause any further trouble.

e.g. There is no use talking to both of them about the protest.  They need to let sleeping dogs lie.

not sleep a wink

Mission Impossible! Not sleeping a wink means to not sleeping at all, some people prioritize work, studies or other things over sleep. Terrible decisions, I’d say.

e.g. Had some work in the afternoon followed by a night shift. I swear I haven’t slept a wink since yesterday.

asleep at the wheel

This is a field in which most of us backbenchers have always excelled all through our student life, not paying attention or not being attentive should be commended sometimes.

e.g. Please pay attention, I don’t want anyone to be asleep at the wheel.

sleeping partner

That one friend who never replies in the group. A sleeping partner is one who is not actively involved in the business but gets his share in the profit of the company.

e.g. There is no point of taking Ravi’s advice, he is anyway just a sleeping partner.

If you’re reading this, your brain has touched base with thirty phrases. Congratulations for making it this far.

Why don’t you show off your newly-acquired knowledge to your ‘grammar Nazi’ friends, poets, writers and even those who love to sleep?

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FAQs : Sleep Idioms

What is an idiom?

A group of words that express a figurative meaning which is established by repetitive usage. The words that form an idiom may express a figurative or sometimes a literal meaning.

How many idioms are present in the English language?

It's estimated to be around 25,000. That's huge!

Who created the idioms?

Idioms have originated from as early as the 1600s and there are several sources reported.

What are sleep idioms?

Phrases that have a figurative meaning related to sleep or simply idioms with the word "sleep" as a part of it.

This post is by Abhishek Goel, a passionate writer who has curated content for Terribly Tiny Tales and other microblogging sites. He’s a person with a lot of dreams that usually follow after he goes to sleep.

Feel free to connect with him on Instagram.

Featured image by Katie Moum

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