Sleep Vocabulary for IELTS - Part 2

Particularly in your IELTS Speaking test, you might refer to the topic of SLEEP. These more complex phrases will impress the IELTS Speaking examiner.

a) To have 40 winks/to have a catnap/to have a snooze = to have a short, light sleep during the day.

b) To sleep with somebody = to have sex with somebody (to be sleeping together = to be in a sexual relationship with somebody; it is often used when the relationship is secret or when other people would not approve of it.)

c) A nightmare = a very bad dream or a terrible situation.

d) To snore = to make a loud noise as you breathe when you are asleep.

e) To hardly sleep a wink = to be unable to sleep nearly all night.

f) To toss and turn = to be unable to sleep well at night, usually because you are worried; to move around restlessly in bed because you cannot sleep.

g) Don’t lose sleep over something = to not worry about something bad you did, because it has not had a terrible effect.

h) To be fast asleep = to be in a deep sleep (the opposite of ‘to be wide awake’)


  • I think I might just have forty winks/a catnap/a snooze. I haven’t got to do anything for an hour or so and a little sleep will do me good.

  • There is a rumour that two of the teachers are sleeping together. They’re married, but not to each other!

  • Some people sleep together before they get married. Others find this behaviour deplorable.

  • It has been suggested that nightmares allow us to express our deepest fears and anxieties.

  • Unless we take action to protect the planet, we will face the mass extinction of species, famine and starvation. This would clearly be a nightmare scenario,

  • He was snoring so loud last night that he managed to wake himself up!

  • I hardly slept a wink last night. I was tossing and turning all night because I just can’t make up my mind whether to take the job or not.

  • I know you told your sister to stop being so selfish, but I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. I don’t think she took any notice of what you were saying.

  • I was fast asleep when you arrived. I didn’t hear you coming in.

  • I was wide awake all night. I didn’t even feel a little bit sleepy.


- A rumour = gossip; a piece of interesting news about a person, which may or may not be true and which spreads quickly from person to person.

- To be deplorable = to be unacceptable; to be very bad.

- The mass extinction of species = the situation in which many groups of animals die out or disappear.

- Famine and starvation = the situation in which many people die because they do not have enough food.

- To make up your mind = to make a decision.