SLEEP in sign language

Early bird or night owl are you? Heavy or light sleeper? My cat Kibe is sometimes an early bird alarm clock. That's how I'm here updating this entry at 5am. Tonight, I'm going to turn her off -- i.e. closing the door.

Printable ASL for SLEEP

This word entry contains ASL signs for "sleep", fun related signs, culture notes, and baby signing 'sleep'.

ASL signs for SLEEP

How do you say "sleep" and other related common words in American Sign Language?

Meaning: To rest with eyes closed in a temporary state of inactivity.

Pronunciation (sign description): Dominant, loose "5" hand with its palm in front of the face moves downward toward the chin while the handshape transforms into flat "0" hand where the fingertips and thumb are in contact with the chin at the end of the movement.

Related signs

If it weren't for that darn Kibe the cat, I'd SNOOZE and SLEEP IN. Though, she loves to have a late-NIGHT SLUMBER party NIGHTLY that keeps waking me up. And, she can have a CATNAP any times during the daytime. She could just easily DOZE off. Not in my case. If I had a few minutes of NAP, I would toss and turn in bed at night until the wee hours. A NIGHTCAP is out of question. REST doesn't always come when you're weary, I've found. Even getting any SHUT EYE is a miracle because as soon as I start to DROWSE, I feel her plotting. It's only a matter of time before she wats my sleeping schnoz. So I sleep very little and am always on edge. Having a cat is a DREAM come true. If that dream is a NIGHTMARE. I have no idea how Mexicans, Egyptians, and Spaniards are able to take SIESTA afternoons.


Opposite: With a night of bad sleep, it's tough to WAKE UP.

Kids signing "sleep"

Having a trouble with your kid getting to bed? Or getting him/her to sleep at bed time? :o

The time-lapse video shows how the ASL-speaking bilingual child acquires the ASL word "sleep" and how its production (or pronunciation) naturally evolves in language development.

During the one-word stage of language acquisition, the ASL word "sleep" emerged. The baby Juli uttered it at age 1 with one handshape ("5" handshape). Over time, she developed with more control of the movement.

Note that 'baby sign language' is a cultural appropriation. Use the term "ASL words" or "ASL signs", not "baby signs". Babies can express what they need in any languages in either spoken or signed, which are on the similar timeline of language acquisition. Some spoken words are easier than other signed words and vice versa.

Culture through Deaf Lens

Untitled (2007) by Jolanta Lapiak. Mixed media: watercolor and digital painting.

Speaking of sleep... hearing people probably or likely imagine that Deaf people sleep soundly through the nights.

True and untrue. The lack of sound is no way an end. Vibration and light take over the "sound" regions of the brain. Deaf people are much more sensitive to light and vibration that can disturb their peaceful sleep (unless they are heavy sleepers).

My Deaf mother used to wake up by the 5am-ish city bus, passing by her house in the European village, bumping on the cobbled road sending vibration and headlight flashing through the window. That was her alarm clock in the mornings long before she received her first actual light-plugged alarm clock.

Anyway, my dear old Deaf man's peaceful nap was often disturbed by normal footsteps to the point that anyone had to mindfully tiptoe around near him. Whew, what an effort.

Being Deaf is not always living in silent world, despite the stereotypical association of the terms 'silence' with 'deafness'. Deaf people perceive the world in different ways.

First 100 words.

  1. again
  2. also
  3. ask
  4. bad
  5. boy
  6. but
  7. can
  8. come
  9. deaf
  10. different
  11. drink
  12. drive
  13. eat
  14. email
  15. excuse
  16. family
  17. feel
  18. few
  19. find
  20. fine
  21. fingerspell
  22. finish
  23. food
  24. for
  25. forget
  26. friend
  27. get
  28. girl
  29. give
  30. go
  31. good
  32. have, has, had
  33. he
  34. hearing
  35. hello
  36. help
  37. home
  38. how
  39. Internet
  40. know
  41. later
  42. like (feeling)
  43. little
  44. live
  45. man
  46. many
  47. me
  48. meet
  49. more
  50. my
  51. name
  52. need
  53. new
  54. no
  55. not
  56. now
  57. ok, okay
  58. old
  59. other
  60. please
  61. remember
  62. same
  63. say
  64. school
  65. see
  66. she
  67. should
  68. sign, signed word
  69. slow
  70. some
  71. sorry
  72. store
  73. take
  74. tell
  75. text, sms
  76. thank, thank you
  77. their
  78. they
  79. think
  80. time
  81. tired
  82. try
  83. understand
  84. use
  85. wait
  86. want
  87. what
  88. when
  89. where
  90. which
  91. who
  92. why
  93. will
  94. with
  95. woman
  96. work
  97. write
  98. yes
  99. you
  100. your

As you feel more comfortable with the first few hundreds of ASL signs, progress further with your vocabulary and learn signing more.