I explain seven phrasal verbs with SLEEP: sleep around, sleep in, sleep off, sleep over, sleep through, sleep together, and sleep with.


Sleep around

1. (informal, intransitive) To have many casual sex partners. 

This is usually considered disapproving.

  • “Just because you don’t sleep around doesn’t mean you’re not at risk of getting an STI.”
  • “I don’t want to marry someone who sleeps around.”

Sleep in

1. (informal, intransitive) To stay in bed later than usual in the morning.
  • “I always look forward to sleeping in on the weekends.”
  • “He slept in and almost forgot our brunch date.”
Preposition: In 

Here, we can also use “in” to refer to the clothes someone is wearing when they are sleeping.

  • “I don’t understand how some people can just sleep in their birthday suit.”
  • “I always look forward to winter so I can sleep in my flannel pyjamas.

Sleep (something) off

1. (separable) – To recover from something by going to sleep.
  • “If your headache is not too bad, you should sleep it off instead of taking an aspirin.”
  • “Can you sleep off a cold?”

Sleep over

1. (intransitive) To sleep in someone else’s home for the night.
  • “My nephew sleeps over where his father has a late shift.”
  • “She slept over at a friend’s place because she missed the last train.”

Sleep through (something)

1. (inseparable) To sleep without being awakened, usually by loud noise or activity.
  • “She slept through the thunderstorm last night.”
  • “I think I slept through the entire movie.”

Sleep together

1.   (informal, intransitive) To have sex together, especially if they’re not married to each other.
  • “I do not want to think about them sleeping together.”
  • “We slept together for the first time last night.”
Adverb: Together – With each other.

“Sleep” with “together” can mean they are sharing a bed. Although “sleep together” always implies sex for adults, this is not the same for children and immediate family.

  • “My sibling and I used to sleep together until we moved to a bigger house.”

Sleep with (someone)

1.   (informal, inseparable) To have sex with someone.
  • “Did you hear? She got promoted because she’s been sleeping with the boss.”
  • “He found out his girlfriend slept with his best friend while they were on a break.”
Preposition: With – Accompanied by another person or thing.

When talking about children or immediate family, it is common to say that they were accompanied by something or someone else while they slept.

  • “Our son used to sleep with his teddy bear when he was a baby.”
  • “It’s fairly common for children to sleep with their parents.”

Could do something in your sleep
– (idiom) To say that you can do something very easily because you have done it so many times before.

  • “She’s been knitting for as long as I can remember, I’m pretty sure she could do it in her sleep.”

Lose sleep (over something)
– (idiom) To worry about something so much that you cannot sleep.

Although this can be used in the affirmative, it’s often used in the negative as advice or to comfort someone.

  • “I know it’s your first day at work but there’s no point losing sleep over it.”

Sleep on (something)
– (expression) To delay making an important decision until the next day, to have time to consider it carefully.

  • “Why don’t you sleep on it and see how you feel?”

Original posts: 12 April 2021