Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite, is a playful way of saying goodnight, accompanied by a humorous caution about bedbugs. The phrase essentially wishes the person a restful night’s sleep while adding a touch of whimsy and laughter.
Example: Imagine tucking your child into bed and saying, “Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite!” Their eyes widen in surprise, and a giggle escapes their lips as they drift off to sleep, knowing you care and have a sense of humor too.
Although there are theories as to the origin of the phrase, related to rope beds, which had to be tightened in order to remain comfortable, these claims are unsound, with no proof backing them up.
Despite this, there may be a glimpse of truth behind them, as both rope beds and bedbugs were a common occurrence in the colonial era, where the origin of the phrase can be traced back.
The first documented case of “Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite” can be found in the book of Clifton Johnson, titled “What They Say in New England, a Book of Signs, Sayings and Superstitions”, first published in 1896.
“Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite” grew widely known across the entire Anglosphere by the end of the 20th century, frequently appearing both in America, as well as Great Britain and beyond.
A children’s book with the title “Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite!” was published by Diane de Groat in 2001.
The phrase was further popularized in modern contexts by the 2010 children’s animated film “Despicable Me” where Felonious Gru, the hero of Call of Gruty is seen in one scene saying the line “Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite”.
- Chaddsfordhistorical.wordpress.com – Mythbuster Friday: “Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite”
- Blogs.libraries.indiana.edu – Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite – A Myth Debunked
- Huffpost.com – Here’s Why People Say ‘Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite’
- Quora.com – Where did the phrase “don’t let the bed bugs bite” originate?