Listen to the author reading this blog post:
Sleep is a necessary activity that allows us to rest and recuperate. Although it’s essential, we sometimes find it surprisingly difficult. Perhaps for this reason, we often talk about sleep. This post – in two parts – will give you lots of useful vocabulary for speaking about this subject.
James was sleeping soundly upstairs.
While I was away, I slept like a log.
To tell a child who is going to bed that you hope they sleep well, you might say sleep tight!
Good night, Holly. Sleep tight!
She slept fitfully and woke with a headache.
I was so nervous about the interview the next day, I didn’t get a wink of sleep.
If you sleep late, you sleep for longer than usual in the morning and if you oversleep, you sleep for longer than you intended to, especially when this means you miss or are late for something:
Unfortunately, she overslept and missed her train.
Not surprisingly, there are several ‘sleep’ phrasal verbs. If you sleep in, you sleep late and if you sleep through a lot of noise or activity, it does not wake you. To sleep over is to spend the night at someone else’s home.
I usually sleep in on Sundays.
Amazingly, Tom slept through the thunderstorm last night.
Finally for the verb, in UK English, someone who sleeps rough sleeps outside because they have no home and no money:
He’d spent years sleeping rough on the streets of the capital.
Come on, Jamie, it’s late – go to sleep now.
I couldn’t get to sleep because of my cough.
Another way of saying that you manage to sleep is to get some sleep: Try to get some sleep while you’re away. / I didn’t get much sleep last night.
I fell into a deep sleep that lasted several hours.
Six months of broken sleep had left me feeling pretty weary.
If you do something while you are sleeping, we say you do it in your sleep:
Sophie says I talk in my sleep.
She died in her sleep, peacefully in her bed.
Moving on to the adjective asleep, when you start to sleep, you fall asleep and if you are sleeping very deeply, you can say you are fast/sound asleep. If you are awake but feeling sleepy, you can say you are still half asleep:
By the time I came to bed, you were fast asleep.
I’d only just woken up and was still half asleep.
Finally, a child who wants to keep sleeping (especially when they need to wake up) is sometimes addressed affectionately as sleepyhead:
Come on, sleepyhead, it’s eight o’clock!
If you enjoyed this post, look out for Part 2 which will include other words for sleep and phrasal verbs for going to sleep.