14 Common English Expressions for Sleep or Feeling Sleepy

14 Common English Expressions for Sleep or Feeling Sleepy

Welcome to our Daily English Listening Practice with this week’s series:

14 Common English Expressions
For Sleep and Feeling Sleepy

Today we talk about Common English Expressions for Sleep and Feeling Sleepy. We include 14 common words and phrases that we use a lot in everyday conversation, plus we’ve listed some uncommon or cliche phrases you might find in old English textbooks!

Listen to the audio clips for information and pronunciation.


Notes: incredibly tired; knackered / shattered: very British; shattered for physically tired as well as mentally tired

Nod Off

Notes: when you start to fall asleep, maybe on the couch or at your desk because you’re quite tired; “he just nodded off for a second”

Barely Keep My Eyes Open

Notes: incredibly tired, could also be used if something is boring and you’re tired of it

Nap / CatNap

Notes: nap is very common for a short amount of sleep during the day; a catnap is a very quick little nap, sometimes used for kids or something cute

Turn in (early)

Notes: going to bed; often used with early for going to bed early, not usually used with late; “I think I need to turn in early tonight.”

I passed out

Notes: pretty informal, going to sleep very quickly after a long or tiring day; not remembering when you fell asleep; “I came home and just passed out.”

Tuck You In

Notes: usually with children, when you put the blankets around them in bed so that they’ll go to sleep faster; it’s time to get “tucked in”; do you want me to tuck you in?

Went Straight to Sleep

Notes: when you fall asleep immediately, not remembering when you fell asleep; “I must’ve gone straight to sleep, because I didn’t even set my alarm.”

Tossing and Turning

Notes: not sleeping peacefully, often moving around in your sleep which causes you to wake up or sleep very poorly

Night Owl / Early Bird

Notes: night owl: a person who enjoys the evening or has the most energy at night; an early bird enjoys the morningtime or has the most energy in the morning

Sleep in / Have a Lie In

Notes: USA: I slept in, I like to sleep in, I slept in ‘til 12, I accidentally slept in (slept too late); UK: choose to have a lie in, have a nice lie in

Crack of Dawn

Notes: the crack of dawn is when the sun starts to rise; 4, 5, 6 in the morning can all be the crack of dawn as it usually means “very early”; very, very informally: the butt crack of dawn (hehe)

Hit Snooze a Few Times

Notes: hit snooze: to press a button for a small delay for a certain amount of time before your alarm rings again; the verb ‘to snooze’ is an informal word for ‘to sleep’

Won’t Lose Any Sleep Over It

Notes: *not actually about sleep* I don’t care about it, it won’t stress me out; “She’s mad at me, but I know I’m right so I won’t lose any sleep over it.”


Some phrases and expressions you learn at school or in old English textbooks include boring and overused phrases called cliches. You probably won’t sound like a native speaker if you use these phrases:

Get some shut eye: said sarcastically
Hit the hay/sack: overused
Sleep like a log:  instead, sleep like a baby
40 winks: we don’t even know what this means
Catch some Z’s: very American, but we don’t usually say it
Don’t let the bedbugs bite: Sleep tight! Can be condescending, usually said to children


Kat and Mark

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