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Sleep on it

Posted by Smokey Stover on May 18, 2004

In Reply to: Sleep on it posted by Saxon on May 18, 2004

: Hi, I was wondering if anyone could help me out with the meaning and origin of the phrase in the above, thanks,
: Sax

I was very sure that I had seen a discussion of this phrase on Phrase Finders, but my search of the archives revealed no such discussion. It's not a big surprise that it refers to putting off a decision at least overnight, that is, to sleep on the matter by delaying a decision until one has slept. People often believe, probably rightly, that if the solution to whatever the problem is doesn't just jump out at them, then probably they would have better luck parsing the problem after a night's sleep. It is sometimes thought that the brain may continue to nag at a problem, even during sleep. Sometimes it is thought, on the contrary, that we can make a better decision because the brain, after a sleep, is less fatigued and can attack the problem freshly. I don't know if any of this is correct. I'll have to sleep on it. SS