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Sleep Tight

When I was a child my parents would often wish us a good night’s sleep with “Night Night, Sleep tight, Don’t let the bed bugs bite”. Fortunately we never had to worry about bed bugs but I’d never considered what “sleep tight” meant. I thought that it was related to getting “tucked in” but today’s trivia calendar entry says otherwise:

the phrase “sleep tight”originated when mattresses were set upon ropes woven through the bed frame. To remedy sagging ropes, one would use a bed key to tighten them.

Interesting but doesn’t sound like something to say a small child. Wouldn’t a parent tighten the ropes in the bed frame before hand?

Word Origins has a different answer:

The rhyming phrase good night, sleep tight is a remnant of an archaic sense of tight meaning soundly, properly, or well.

Sounds more plausible to me.

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