Saying "I had a good night's sleep" is considered correct English. But, is saying "I had a good/great sleep" considered correct?

As a follow up: Is it also okay to wish someone, "Have a great sleep"? As opposed to the more common, "Have a great night's sleep?"

  • "I slept (very) well" is perhaps more idiomatic, but I have no problems with either of your sentences, they both sound American-English. Perhaps you want to know if great can be collocated with sleep? It's not common, but I don't see anything wrong with it. – Mari-Lou A Feb 4 '15 at 1:00
  • Thanks, as a follow up: Is it also okay to wish someone, "Have a great sleep"? As opposed to the more common, "Have a great night's sleep?". – Ingrid Morstrad Feb 4 '15 at 1:03
  • Please edit your post and include this request, which is related to your question. Comments are not meant to be proper "answers" but I'm sure someone will post a more detailed answer pretty soon. All the best! – Mari-Lou A Feb 4 '15 at 1:06
  • Many people (in the US) use "sleep" to mean "a night's sleep" or some such. It's not mainstream, but not that odd. I think it's especially common for children (or those speaking to children) to use the word in that sense -- "Christmas is in three sleeps" -- since it "makes sense" to a child. (When you stop and think about it, what's syntactically/semantically wrong with omitting "night's" in "night's sleep"?) – Hot Licks Feb 4 '15 at 1:40
  • Here in my part of NA (the Canadian part), in my generation, "a great sleep" seems more common to me than "a great night's sleep." I was surprised to learn that it's questionable to some. That said, "I slept well" and "sleep well" are also common. We also ask "how was your sleep"? And sometimes "how did you sleep?" To which the answer is "great" or "well," or... "actually I made a few mistakes" or "on my left side." – Rusty Tuba Feb 4 '15 at 2:41

"Have a great sleep" is perfectly grammatical, in fact "have a great nap" is pretty common. However, "Have a good night's sleep" is really the more idiomatic way to say this. I suppose if we were to draw a distinction it would be the latter wished the sleeper not a short sleep, but one that lasted through the night. But that would be nit picky in the extreme.

Nobody would reasonably misunderstand or consider grammatically incorrect the first option. Consider for example people who work the night shift: how are we to wish them happy ZZZZs? "Have a great day's sleep?" Now that sounds odd.

Another expression that is pretty common and conveys the same sense is "sleep well!".

"have a good night's sleep" sounds more complete and logical as compared to "have a good sleep". the latter sounds rather incorrect and incomplete.

  • 1
    Yet is is commonly used, at least in certain places and by certain people. Google "have a good sleep", with the quotation marks, and see what you find. Interesting to note that a lot of the sites are Canadian. But not all. – Rusty Tuba Feb 4 '15 at 12:56
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    Opinion is nice, but doesn't give an authoritative answer. – Matt E. Эллен Feb 4 '15 at 13:32

protected by user140086 Apr 19 '16 at 6:43

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