Sleep Expressions Explained!

The English language is full of funny phrases that we don’t even think about — have you ever wondered why you tell someone to “sleep tight”, or why you’re wondering if a particularly grumpy person “got out the wrong side of bed” that morning? Here we bring you the origins of some of the most interesting sleep-related expressions we’ve come across!



1) Sleep tight
There are a few different ideas about where this one might have come from. One idea is that it comes from a time when mattresses were supported by ropes that needed to be pulled tight. It may also be that “tightly” was sometimes used to mean “soundly” or “well”.

2) Fast asleep
Nothing to do with the speed you drift off, apparently — the “fast” part of this expression should be taken in the same way as “stuck fast” as in “very hard to move”.

3) Sleeping like a log
Some have suggested that this is a reference to the similarity between the sound of logs being sawed and the sound of snoring! In reality it’s probably a more boring reference to fact that logs are still.

4) The Land of Nod
The very first reference to the Land of Nod comes from the Bible, where it in fact sounds pretty unpleasant. The shift to the happier meaning it has today might come from the way people nod when falling asleep while sitting up — as does, presumably, the expression “nodding off”!

5) Got out of the wrong side of bed
This one dates back to Roman times, when getting out of the left side of bed was considered to be bad luck. If you did get out of bed on this side, your day was sure to go terribly!

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