Sleep Facts, Superstitions & Sayings | Soak&Sleep

Sleep sayings

What does “take forty winks” mean?

You get home after a long day at work, sit down on the sofa and flick on the telly. As you sit there, sinking back, you close your eyes for a few moments; just forty winks to help you feel a little bit more refreshed. But why forty winks? Where does this come from? Why do we say it? And What does it even mean?

Its earliest literary use can be traced all the way back to Lewis Carroll’s Sylvie and Bruno, first published in 1889, where one of the characters has their eyes shut whilst sat in an armchair. They say “Well, forty winks will do you no harm”.

Soak&Sleep pillows against a rustic wall, with shelf holding plants and photo frame

Another view is that it has biblical references, with the number 40 often being used to refer to “a long time”. For example, when it is said to have rained for 40 days and 40 nights. So 40 winks, could suggest a long time winking, or napping.

In general though, the saying is used in a situation where you aren’t having a proper nap or sleep, but your eyes are closed longer than your average blink or wink; collectively that of 40 individual winks.

Whatever the origin, what we know at Soak&Sleep is that whether you have 40 winks, 80 winks, a nap or a nice sleep, we've got everything you need to make the most of it. For starters, make sure you’ve always got a comfy and suitable pillow to rest your weary head.

Where did the saying “sleep tight” come from?

Bright image of woman making the bed

Ever wondered why you should ‘sleep tight’? Where did this saying come from? Let’s start by going back in time…a time before super comfy pocket sprung mattresses and a cosy topper was the norm (sounds awful doesn’t it!) and the bed you slept on at night was atop of a criss-cross of ropes. If you wanted a firm yet comfortable nook to have your well-earned 40 winks on, you would need to pull the ropes tighter on your bed. We would imagine that failing to do so would have probably provided a rude awakening.

Why do people say “my pillow is rock hard”?

What is your favourite part of your bed?

For a lot of us, it’s a pillow. Nothing better than sinking our heavy heads after a long day. With a menu of filling options available at Soak&Sleep, we are constantly being asked by customers for advice on how to choose the perfect pillow. The saying ‘my pillow is rock hard…’ is becoming a popular first greeting, and it got us thinking, where did this saying come from?

We have our suspicion that it may have something to do with the first historical record of a pillow. In around 7000 BC, ancient Egyptians would use stones as a pillow. Propping their necks up on a half-moon cut out block allowed them to keep heads off the ground, meaning that creepy crawlies would keep out of mouths, noses and ears. There is evidence that a soft pillow was available but understandably people were more keen for a bug-free sleep – we agree!

Here’s a picture of what it may have looked like – what do you think?

Don’t forget we have a large pillow department with a variety of fillings and firmness levels, designed for every sleeper, take a look here.

What is a ‘Knocker up’ alarm clock?

'Knocker up' alarm clock - two men shown to be using a long stick to tap a window until you wake up

Image: Pinterest

Everyone’s guilty of pressing snooze. Hands up if you set your alarm a little earlier so you can wake up, look at the time, and turn over happily, knowing you have at least another fifteen minutes of precious slumber? Do you use your phone with a soft melodic tone? A digital clock, or if you're a very heavy sleeper, a clock with wheels you have to chase around the room to turn it off (yes, this does exist!).

Ever wondered how people ever got up in time, before the wonder of modern technology? Well so did we…so we did a little research.

During the industrial revolution, there was a profession called a ‘Knocker up’ in Ireland and Britain. The job spec was simple, to be a human alarm clock, wake people up and get them to work on time. Using a long stick, truncheon, or even bamboo to reach the higher windows, they would tap until the occupant arose – and would NOT leave until they were sure.

Not sure how easy it would be to snooze a person!

Sleep myths & superstitions

Finding your future love in your sleep

Starting with the topic of marriage. Apparently, if a single woman sleeps with a piece of wedding cake under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband. Either that or it means that she tends to get very hungry in the middle of the night. At least the wedding cake isn’t too messy…might have a few crumbs and it may be a little squashed in the morning. Chocolate fudge cake would be a whole different kettle of fish. Rather than putting cake under the pillow, they should indulge themselves with another, yet less calorific, treat in the form of a squishy Hungarian Goose Down pillow. Less crumbs involved and a better platform for creating wonderful dreams.

2 people wearing Soak&Sleep cashmere socks in 4 colours

What day to change your bed sheets

Next, we move on to the topic of having a restless night’s sleep. Supposedly, you should never turn your mattress on a Sunday, or change a bed on Friday or you’ll have bad dreams. So best keep those bed sheets on until tomorrow. Also, when you are making your bed, you shouldn’t interrupt your work or you will have a restless night. So if your other half only puts the pillowcases on the pillows but then leaves the rest to you, give them this warning. And to be fair, if they had bed linen from our wonderful collection, they would be happy to get the bed made as soon as possible.

This moves nicely on to our final point. It is considered unlucky if more than two people make the bed. So if they start, they better finish it, or I’m sure the bad luck will come in the form of an angry significant other.