What Does Sleep Tight Mean?

Sleep Tight Meaning

Definition: Sleep well.

Origin of Sleep Tight

One of the meanings of tight is firm or solid. Therefore, sleep tight literally means sleep soundly, or sleep peacefully.

It appeared as early as the 1800s, but it became more popular in the 1900s. It may have become popular because of the rhyme good night, sleep tight. Later variations even included the addition don’t let the bedbugs bite.

  • Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.

Examples of Sleep Tight

kidsongs good night sleep tightIn the conversation below, two friends are discussing their day.

Scott: Thanks for coming to the race with me today. I had a lot of fun!

Tony: Yeah, me too. I’m exhausted though. I’m probably going to sleep in really late tomorrow.

Scott: Yeah, me too.

Tony: Well, I’d better head home now and get some rest.

Scott: All right. Drive home safe. Good night and sleep tight!

Tony: You too!

definition of sleep tight Two coworkers use the expression while talking about their bedtime rituals.

Richard: I always am up late. It takes so long for my kids to fall asleep.

Miranda: How come?

Richard: I’m not sure. They just love me to read to them for a long time. They always want to hear more and more stories. Aren’t your kids the same way?

Miranda: Sort of. They love me to read to them, but they know they’re only allowed to have one story per night. They know that as soon as the story is finished that I tell them, “Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” Then we turn off the lights and they go to sleep.

Richard: I wish that would work for my kids.

More Examples

The first example is about a problem with bedbugs.

  • A growing infestation of blood-sucking bugs is making it increasingly difficult for Coloradans and people across the country to sleep tight. –Denver Post

The second example is about how using electronic devices with bright screens can make it harder to fall asleep.

  • Good night, sleep tight, and don’t look into that tablet light. –LA Times


The phrase sleep tight is something people say when wishing a person a good night’s rest.