Sleep Idioms To Get Better Rest

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Learn sleep idioms to get better rest! When you're well-rested, you'll speak English more confidently and learn more easily. Sleep is an important part of life and we have wonderful sleep expressions to highlight a good night's rest!

In this lesson, you’ll learn twenty one expressions having to do with sleep.  Who knew there were so many? I’ll share the meaning as well as an example sentence.

Ready to get started?


Alright so with these expressions I encourage you to first guess the meaning so if you need to pause the lesson to do so, by all means go right ahead!

Without further ado, sleep expressions! 😴💤😴

1) To Pull An All-Nighter

This means you stay up all night to either work or party.  In College, I was a double major so every week I’d pull an all-nighter to write my two honors theses.

2) To Not Sleep a Wink

This means you are having trouble sleeping and can't fall asleep. I’m so tired today because last night I was tossing and turning. Couldn’t sleep a wink!

3) To Get Some Shut-Eye

This means you’re trying to get some sleep. We studied until around 3 am and then we decided we needed to get some shut-eye before the exam.

4) To Sleep Like A Log

Ah this is a dream. It’s when you are sleeping so well that you sleep through the night without being woke up. 
After that 10 mile run I slept like a log, it was glorious.

5) Sleep Like A Baby

This has the same meaning as “sleep like a log” when you have a nice long peaceful sleep.
I woke up super well-rested because last night I finally slept like a baby!

6) To Be Fast Asleep

When someone is in a deep sleep, they can’t be woken up. By the time I got home everyone was already fast asleep.

7) Beauty Sleep

Making sure you get enough sleep so that you can benefit from the healing processes that go on during REM and deep sleep. When we sleep well our bodies and mind recover from the day. I’m looking forward to getting some beauty sleep this evening.

8) Sleep In

When you sleep past the time you usually wake up or when you snooze your alarm clock and continue sleeping. Some people like to sleep in on weekends and catch up on sleep.

9)  Lose sleep over something

When you are up all night worrying about something. You can tell a friend who’s stressed or concerned about a situation: “Don’t lose any sleep over it.”

10)  Out like a light

This is when you’re exhausted to the point where you can fall immediately asleep. Just as quickly as you can turn off a light you can fall asleep when you’re this lethargic. This past week I’ve been so tired that by the time I get to sleep I’m out like a light!

11) Sleep it off

This is when you need rest because maybe you had too much to eat and you feel unwell, or maybe you indulged in other ways and your body is telling you it needs sleep to heal. To eradicate some unpleasant conditions by getting extra sleep. Sam is going to head home early and try to sleep off their stomach bug.

12) Do something in your sleep

When you do something in your sleep, you’re able to do it quite easily with not much difficulty. You can do it with your eyes closed, that’s another expression that means the same thing. You’re relaxed and carefree while doing this action effortlessly. You should ask Jonny for help—he could do this level of math in his sleep.

13) Sleep around the clock

This means that you’re sleeping for long periods of time without getting up. 
Sometimes when we have the winter blues, we might just sleep around the clock and not have much motivation to do anything else. Matt had a long 48-hour journey back home and spent the next three days sleeping around the clock to catch up on sleep.

14) Hit the hay

This is an informal expression to simply mean go to bed. Back in the day, some people would sleep on bundles of hay, so this is probably where this expression comes from. Julia was so zonked, she hit the hay as soon as she set foot in her apartment.

15) Hit the sack

This is a synonym for the one we just heard. It means to go to bed. This harkens back to a time when mattresses were made of cloth sacks stuffed with hay. Interesting little tidbit there! Jeremy gently reminds his kids to hit the sack early on school nights.

16) Sleep like a rock

This is when we get restful sleep with enough REM and deep sleep that we are sleeping soundly. 
After a day of long tough grueling workouts, I find that I sleep like a rock that night.

17) Let sleeping dogs lie

This means to leave a situation alone so you don’t make it worse than it already is. Don’t mention a word about Fred being fired last month - let sleeping dogs lie!

18) To be sound asleep

This is another way of saying to be in a deep restful sleep where you probably won’t wake up easily, even if there is noise around you. Jeff was sound asleep when the alarm went off. It’s no wonder he didn’t hear it!

19) Sleep with one eye open

This means to sleep so lightly or even to stay awake at night because you’re on high alert or extremely cautious about something. If someone is stranded in the woods alone, they might choose to sleep with one eye open.

20) To put someone to sleep

This means the person is boring you and causes you to fall asleep.  The lecture was uninteresting and not interactive whatsoever, and frankly put me to sleep!

21) Be sleeping on the job

This is when you aren’t working as much as you should be working. It could also mean that you’re shirking your responsibilities, meaning not doing what you are responsible for.  If the boss catches someone sleeping on the job more than once, they’ll likely get fired.

22) Sleep on it

This is when you decide to postpone making an important decision until the next day or so after you’ve had time to think it over. You might tell someone who wants to go into business with you that you’ll sleep on it and get back to them.


So we looked at 22 different sleep-related idioms that Native English speakers use frequently in conversation. They can be used in both informal and formal contexts. Practice these expressions, add them to your communication toolkit, and use them in the next English conversation you have with someone!


Alright Advanced English learners, thanks for joining me in this lesson.

I encourage you to come up with your own example sentences and feel free to share that with the community in the comments down below!

The full transcript of this lesson can be found on our blog, so be sure to check out advanced english dot co forward slash blog. If you prefer to listen to this lesson, check out our podcast; it's available on our website. And if you love the podcast, be sure to leave us a 5 star review, that really helps us out! See you in the next one where we’ll continue advancing your English together! Until then, keep up the awesome work.