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Sleep vs. Asleep: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 12, 2024
Sleep is a state of rest with suspended consciousness, while asleep refers to being in the state of sleep.
Sleep vs. Asleep

Key Differences

Sleep is a naturally recurring state of mind and body, characterized by altered consciousness and relatively inhibited sensory activity. Asleep, on the other hand, is an adjective describing the state of being in sleep. While sleep serves as both a noun and a verb, describing the action or state of resting, asleep functions primarily as an adjective.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024
In terms of usage, sleep can be used to indicate both the act of sleeping and the period during which one sleeps. Asleep is used to describe the condition or state of a person or animal who is sleeping. For example, one can say, "I need sleep" or "I sleep at 10 PM," whereas asleep would be used as "She is asleep."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024
Sleep can also be used in a broader sense, implying a resting state for non-living entities, like "The computer is in sleep mode." Asleep, however, is specifically used for living beings in the state of sleep and is not used metaphorically or for inanimate objects.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024
Grammatically, sleep can function as both a noun and a verb, whereas asleep is an adjective. This means sleep can be the subject or object of a sentence, or describe an action, while asleep is used to modify nouns and pronouns, as in "The baby is asleep."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024
The cultural and idiomatic usage of both terms also differs. Sleep can be used in various expressions like "sleep on it" or "sleep tight," indicating rest or a pause. Asleep does not commonly feature in idiomatic expressions and is straightforward in its application to indicate the state of sleeping.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Noun and Verb
Adjective
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Jan 12, 2024

Usage in Sentence

"I need more sleep."
"She fell asleep."
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Jan 12, 2024

Applicable To

Both living beings and metaphorically for objects
Primarily living beings
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Idiomatic Usage

"Sleep on it."
Not used idiomatically
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Jan 12, 2024

Descriptive Scope

Can describe the action or state
Describes the condition or state
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Sleep and Asleep Definitions

Sleep

The act of resting with closed eyes and reduced consciousness.
She goes to sleep every night at 9 PM.
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Dec 15, 2023

Asleep

In the state of sleeping.
The baby is asleep in her crib.
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Sleep

A state of inactivity, like hibernation or dormancy.
The computer goes into sleep mode after inactivity.
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Dec 15, 2023

Asleep

Not active or in use (metaphorical).
The machinery lay asleep until needed.
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Dec 15, 2023

Sleep

To rest in a state of reduced consciousness.
He sleeps soundly despite the noise.
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Asleep

In a dormant or inactive state.
The volcano has been asleep for centuries.
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Sleep

A natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body, in which the eyes usually close and consciousness is completely or partially lost, so that there is a decrease in bodily movement and responsiveness to external stimuli. During sleep the brain in humans and other mammals undergoes a characteristic cycle of brain-wave activity that includes intervals of dreaming.
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Asleep

Unaware, not attentive.
He was asleep at the wheel when the crisis hit.
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Sleep

A period of this form of rest.
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Asleep

In a state of sleep; sleeping.
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Sleep

A state of inactivity resembling or suggesting sleep; unconsciousness, dormancy, hibernation, or death.
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Asleep

Inactive; dormant.
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Sleep

A state in which a computer shuts off or reduces power to its peripherals (such as the display or memory) in order to save energy during periods of inactivity.
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Asleep

Indifferent
Politicians who are asleep to the needs of their constituents.
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Sleep

(Botany) The folding together of leaflets or petals at night or in the absence of light.
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Asleep

Numb, especially from reduced circulation of blood to a limb
My leg is asleep.
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Sleep

A crust of dried tears or mucus normally forming around the inner rim of the eye during sleep.
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Asleep

Dead.
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Sleep

To be in the state of sleep or to fall asleep.
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Asleep

In or into a state of sleep.
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Sleep

To be in a condition resembling sleep.
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Asleep

In or into a state of apathy or indifference.
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Sleep

To pass or get rid of by sleeping
Slept away the day.
Went home to sleep off the headache.
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Asleep

Into a state of numbness.
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Sleep

To provide sleeping accommodations for
This tent sleeps three comfortably.
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Asleep

Into the sleep of the dead.
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Sleep

(intransitive) To rest in a state of reduced consciousness.
You should sleep eight hours a day.
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Asleep

In a state of sleep; also, broadly, resting.
I was asleep when you called.
Never disturb a man asleep.
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Sleep

(transitive) To be slumbering in (a state).
To sleep a dreamless sleep
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Asleep

(slang) Inattentive.
How could you miss that? Were you asleep?
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Sleep

To achieve or make happen by manner of sleep.
Sleep your way to good health.
He hoped to sleep his troubles away.
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Asleep

(of a body part) Having a numb or prickling sensation accompanied by a degree of unresponsiveness.
My arm fell asleep. You know, like pins and needles.
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Sleep

To have sexual intercourse (see sleep with).
Last night we slept together for the first time.
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Asleep

(euphemistic) Dead.
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Sleep

(idiomatic) To earn by sexual favors.
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Asleep

In a state of sleep; in sleep; dormant.
Fast asleep the giant lay supine.
By whispering winds soon lulled asleep.
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Sleep

(transitive) To accommodate in beds.
This caravan can sleep four people comfortably.
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Asleep

In the sleep of the grave; dead.
Concerning them which are asleep . . . sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
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Sleep

(intransitive) To be careless, inattentive, or unconcerned; not to be vigilant; to live thoughtlessly.
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Asleep

Numbed, and, usually, tingling.
Leaning long upon any part maketh it numb, and, as we call it, asleep.
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Dec 13, 2023

Sleep

(intransitive) To be dead; to lie in the grave.
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Asleep

In a state of sleep;
Were all asleep when the phone rang
Fell asleep at the wheel
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Sleep

(intransitive) To be, or appear to be, in repose; to be quiet; to be unemployed, unused, or unagitated; to rest; to lie dormant.
A question sleeps for the present; the law sleeps
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Asleep

Lacking sensation;
My foot is asleep
Numb with cold
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Sleep

To wait for a period of time without performing any action.
After a failed connection attempt, the program sleeps for 5 seconds before trying again.
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Asleep

Dead;
He is deceased
Our dear departed friend
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Sleep

To place into a state of hibernation.
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Asleep

Into a sleeping state;
He fell asleep
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Sleep

To spin on its axis with no other perceptible motion.
When a top is sleeping, it is spinning but not precessing.
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Asleep

In the sleep of death
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Sleep

To cause (a spinning top or yo-yo) to spin on its axis with no other perceptible motion.
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Asleep

Lacking sensation; numb.
After sitting so long, my leg is asleep.
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Dec 15, 2023

Sleep

(uncountable) The state of reduced consciousness during which a human or animal rests in a daily rhythm.
I really need some sleep.
We need to conduct an overnight sleep test to diagnose your sleep problem.
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Sleep

An act or instance of sleeping.
I’m just going to have a quick sleep.
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Sleep

A night.
There are only three sleeps till Christmas!
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Sleep

(uncountable) Rheum, crusty or gummy discharge found in the corner of the eyes after waking, whether real or a figurative objectification of sleep (in the sense of reduced consciousness).
Wipe the sleep from your eyes.
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Dec 13, 2023

Sleep

A state of plants, usually at night, when their leaflets approach each other and the flowers close and droop, or are covered by the folded leaves.
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Sleep

The hibernation of animals.
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Sleep

To take rest by a suspension of the voluntary exercise of the powers of the body and mind, and an apathy of the organs of sense; to slumber.
Watching at the head of these that sleep.
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Dec 13, 2023

Sleep

To be careless, inattentive, or uncouncerned; not to be vigilant; to live thoughtlessly.
We sleep over our happiness.
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Dec 13, 2023

Sleep

To be dead; to lie in the grave.
Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
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Dec 13, 2023

Sleep

To be, or appear to be, in repose; to be quiet; to be unemployed, unused, or unagitated; to rest; to lie dormant; as, a question sleeps for the present; the law sleeps.
How sweet the moonlight sleep upon this bank!
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Dec 13, 2023

Sleep

To be slumbering in; - followed by a cognate object; as, to sleep a dreamless sleep.
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Sleep

To give sleep to; to furnish with accomodations for sleeping; to lodge.
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Sleep

A natural and healthy, but temporary and periodical, suspension of the functions of the organs of sense, as well as of those of the voluntary and rational soul; that state of the animal in which there is a lessened acuteness of sensory perception, a confusion of ideas, and a loss of mental control, followed by a more or less unconscious state.
O sleep, thou ape of death.
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Dec 13, 2023

Sleep

A natural and periodic state of rest during which consciousness of the world is suspended;
He didn't get enough sleep last night
Calm as a child in dreamless slumber
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Sleep

A torpid state resembling sleep
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Sleep

A period of time spent sleeping;
He felt better after a little sleep
There wasn't time for a nap
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Dec 13, 2023

Sleep

Euphemisms for death (based on an analogy between lying in a bed and in a tomb);
She was laid to rest beside her husband
They had to put their family pet to sleep
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Sleep

Be asleep
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Dec 13, 2023

Sleep

Be able to accommodate for sleeping;
This tent sleeps six people
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Dec 13, 2023

Sleep

A natural period of rest for the mind and body.
After a long day, a good night's sleep is refreshing.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Sleep

To provide lodging for the night.
The hotel can sleep up to 500 guests.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can sleep indicate a period of time?

Yes, like "I need eight hours of sleep."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

How is asleep used in a sentence?

Asleep is used as an adjective, like "The cat is asleep."
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Jan 12, 2024

What is sleep?

Sleep is a state of rest where consciousness is suspended.
Shumaila Saeed
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Jan 12, 2024

Is sleep used in expressions?

Yes, such as "sleep on it."
Shumaila Saeed
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Jan 12, 2024

Is asleep applicable to inanimate objects?

No, it's typically used for living beings.
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Jan 12, 2024

Is asleep ever a verb?

No, it's always an adjective.
Shumaila Saeed
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Jan 12, 2024

Does asleep have any idiomatic uses?

No, it's used in its literal sense.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Is asleep used for deep sleep only?

No, it can describe any sleeping state.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Can sleep be used as a verb?

Yes, as in "I sleep for eight hours each night."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Is it correct to say "go to asleep"?

No, the correct phrase is "go to sleep."
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Jan 12, 2024

Can we use asleep for a short nap?

Yes, like "He fell asleep during the movie."
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Jan 12, 2024

Can asleep be used in medical contexts?

Yes, to describe a patient's state.
Shumaila Saeed
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Jan 12, 2024

Can sleep be used metaphorically?

Yes, like "The city that never sleeps."
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Jan 12, 2024

Can sleep be pluralized?

No, it is used as a singular noun or verb.
Shumaila Saeed
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Jan 12, 2024

Can asleep describe a partial state?

Yes, like "half asleep."
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Jan 12, 2024

Can sleep be used for animals?

Yes, like "Dogs sleep a lot."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Is there an opposite of asleep?

Yes, "awake" or "alert."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Is asleep appropriate for describing a temporary state?

Yes, it indicates a temporary sleeping state.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Is it correct to say "in sleep"?

No, the correct term is "asleep."
Shumaila Saeed
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Jan 12, 2024

Can sleep be a noun?

Yes, as in "I need more sleep."
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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