Phrasal verbs with «Sleep»

Sleeping is one of the coolest things we do. Think about how weird it is; you lie down (yes, not lay!), you close your eyes and after some time you enter a state in which, according to the Oxford Dictionary,

the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.

And when you wake up, after some hours of sleep, you may or may not remember what you dreamt about! Dreaming, how’s that for weird as well! But we’ll get to that some other time.

So sleeping is an important part of our lives. It’s something we must do, ideally a few hours every day, and it’s something that we tend to love doing. So it’s no surprise that the word «sleep» has made its way into our language, barging in on our beloved phrasal verbs, among other areas. So today I’m bringing you 5 phrasal verbs constructed with the word «sleep». How about that!

1. Sleep in

When you sleep in, you remain in bed until later than usual. This is what we usually do on Saturdays and Sundays, provided we get the chance. Check out some examples:

I was too tired to get up and go to school, so I just slept in.
Sunday mornings are for sleeping in.
I could just as well sleep in and nobody would notice my absence.

sleep in

2. Sleep over

This term it is used especially in American English. We sleep over when we spend the night at someone else’s house. In fact, this phrasal verb is so popular over at the US that a night at someone’s house is known as a «sleepover». Sleepovers are extremely common among children, whose parents usually set them up on weekend sleepovers with their friends.

Mum, do you mind if I sleep over at Amy’s tonight?
As I had no money left, I had to sleep over at my parents’ house.
It’s her birthday tomorrow and she’s having a sleepover.

sleep over

3. Sleep something off

If you sleep something off, you’re using sleep to recover from something. This something  usually involves alcohol or some other drug.

I think I’ll eat something and try to sleep off the hangover.
The day after the party, they’ll be sleeping the cocktails off.
I’ll give you a call when I sleep off the drinks from last night.

sleep something off

4. Sleep on something (typically, «it»)

We all know how sleeping can give us a better perspective of things. We may have to make a difficult decision, but we don’t find ourselves in the right disposition to make it. In that case, we can sleep on it and make that decision tomorrow, when we’ve had time to think or, simply, when we don’t have any more time to think, ha, ha! In Spanish there’s an idiom for this phrasal verb, and it goes «consultarlo con la almohada», which is literally translated as «check with the pillow». Cool, right?

You don’t have to say anything now. Sleep on it and we’ll talk tomorrow.
Mary said she’d sleep on it and give me an answer in the morning.
I don’t know what to say. Let me sleep on it, will you?

sleep on it

5. Sleep around

This is the only phrasal verb in this list that doesn’t necessarily involve actually sleeping, and you’ll see why. If someone is sleeping around, it means that they have multiple sexual casual partners. Also, if you want to imply that someone is cheating on their partner, you can say that he or she might be sleeping around.

I dunno how long they’ll be together. I think she’s already sleeping around.
After breaking up, I slept around a bit before getting into another serious relationship.
When our parents were young, sleeping around was quite inapproriate.

sleep around

So did you know these phrasal verbs? Do you know any other? If so, let me know in the comments!

I don’t know about you guys, but after reading this post I think I could do with forty winks!

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Picture of Luis @ KSE Academy

Luis @ KSE Academy

Luis Porras Wadley is the owner and director of KSE Academy, an English academy and official Cambridge Exam Preparation Centre based in Granada. As an English teacher, Luis has been preparing Cambridge candidates successfully for more than ten years. He is the author of some successful test preparation books, including Speaking First, Speaking CAE, Speaking CPE, Use of English C1 and The Ultimate B2 First Writing Guide.

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