Here are some colloquial and colourful expressions about sleep. It’s fun to explore word meanings, so let’s dig a little deeper to their origins.
Have you ever wondered how the term: hit the hay came about?
In 1902, mattresses were often sacks stuffed with straw or hay (hence the similar phrase ‘hit the sack’).
Catch 40 winks. This phrase is thought to have originated due to the utterly boring 39 parables that were passed down in church literature. Apparently they were so dreary, show couldn’t help to take a 40 wink nap afterward. Also 40 is thought to be a number with mystical powers.
Did you know the expressions sleep like a log and sleep like a rock were predated by another similie?
The expression ’sleep like a top’ is quite old and is recorded from at least 1693, when it appeared in William Congreve’s The Old Batchelour:
“Should he seem to rouse, ’tis but well lashing him, and he will sleep like a Top.”
Counting sheep jumping over a wall goes back to 1854.
Sawing logs refers to the sound someone makes when snoring.
The idea of a Sandman goes all the way back to Hans Christian Anderson in 1841. The Danish fairy tale describes a mythical creature with a colour-changing silk jacket who sprinkles dust in the eyes of children to help them get dozy and fall asleep. He carries two umbrellas, one with colourful pictures so that good children can have wonderful dreams at night, and one with no images at all, so naughty children will sleep heavily without any dreams at all.
A bed from Simmons Mattress Gallery is a lot like a colourful umbrella that will usher you into a vivid world of dreams.