I am looking for a word to describe a person that can fall asleep 'as their head hits the pillow'.

To add context: my wife falls asleep seconds after she decides that she wants to sleep. Not just in bed, but on the sofa, on the train - almost anywhere where there is a relatively comfortable place to sleep. Even on a moving escalator. She is a person who I consider to be happy and at peace with herself. I mention this as I am not looking for a term to describe someone with a medical condition with no control over when they sleep.

  • 'easy sleeper'?
    – Řídící
    Jul 4, 2018 at 15:08
  • Perhaps a switch-on sleeper? (Sorry, completely uneducated guess. I just made up the word, and I am even not a native speaker.) Jul 4, 2018 at 15:27
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    A lot of people with that ability (?) are actually sleep-deprived. Jul 4, 2018 at 15:49
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    I don't know that there's a word for a person like that when it's not an actual disorder, but there's an expression for doing that. It's "to fall fast asleep" (e.g., "She fell fast asleep."). Come to think of it, there's a really old term for someone who can fall asleep at anytime and anywhere, but I don't think people use it much anymore. It's "Beetle Bailey" (e.g., "She's a real Beetle Bailey."). He used to be a character in the funny pages, and quite regularly he'd be caught sleeping in the oddest places at the oddest times.
    – Billy
    Jul 9, 2018 at 17:54
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    @Cascabel One of my ex-girlfriends could do this. Not sleep deprived. She could simply choose to fall asleep anytime and anywhere in an instant. I also learned I could sort of trick her into doing this, sort of like hypnotism. She was also nearly impossible to wake up at odd hours, she had to stick to a schedule. I'm not exaggerating that she could fall asleep standing up at the foot of the bed and just collapse onto it. She didn't have a name for it, and she hadn't met anyone else that could do that.
    – Phil Sweet
    Sep 8, 2018 at 2:28

1 Answer 1


It is common, though possibly insensitive to actual sufferers, to use the term narcoleptic in an exaggerative sense to refer to people who can fall asleep nearly instantly. It is actually more common (in my experience) to see the word used to describe someone like your wife, than to describe someone who is actually afflicted with narcolepsy, as the latter is far more rare. The tone is always playful in this form of usage and does not imply that there is anything actually wrong with the subject.

Alternatively, you could use a term of your own devising that is easily understood such as "sleep-on-demand".

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