Sleep is one of the main physiological needs of human beings, with which we can recover the energy lost during the day. In Italian, when we feel the need to sleep, we say «Ho sonno!». Are there, however, other ways of saying it so as not to be repetitive? Absolutely! We’ll see them in this video! In addition, I’ll also give you more formal alternatives to use when you are with someone you don’t know well. It would indeed be quite rude in these contexts if you suddenly said «Ho sonno!» and walked away.
All the ways of saying «HO SONNO!»
Let’s start first with the more colloquial alternatives to «Ho sonno!»
1. STO MORENDO DI SONNO!
Well, people can die of many things, bad things, but certainly not of sleep! Yet, it’s a very common way of saying that one is in dire need of sleep. The exaggeration in the expression indicates the intensity of our tiredness.
Sono tornata a casa un po’ tardi ieri sera… Pensavo di essere ancora giovane e di poter reggere i ritmi della discoteca e invece stavo morendo di sonno! (I got home a bit late last night… I thought I was still young and could cope with the pace of disco but instead stavo morendo di sonno!)
2. CASCO DAL SONNO!
Another, less «exaggerated» way of saying that one is in dire need of sleep is precisely this. This expression refers to the fact that, during sleep, the muscles relax and are no longer able to support the weight of the body; in fact, if not on a bed, a sleeping person would fall over.
Dopo la serata, volevamo andare a vedere l’alba, ma Alberto cascava dal sonno e quindi siamo tornati a casa. (After the night, we wanted to go and watch the sunrise, but Alberto cascava dal sonno so we went home.)
3. MI SENTO GLI OCCHI / LE PALPEBRE PESANTI!
In fact, if you are sleepy, you feel a feeling of heaviness right on your eyelids and a desire to want to close your eyes.
Oddio il discorso del notaio è così noioso! Mi sento gli occhi pesanti! Se non la smette, tra 10 minuti mi troverete addormentata! (Oh God, the notary’s speech is so boring! Mi sento gli occhi pesanti! If he doesn’t stop, I’ll be asleep in ten minutes!)
4. SONO IMPASTATO DI SONNO!
This expression also indicates being very sleepy, as if one had sleepiness clinging to one, with heavy eyes and a sluggish voice. In fact, «essere impastato di sonno» is also an expression used to refer to a person who is always a little sleepy, tired or eager to sleep, generally a little sluggish and lazy.
Avevo organizzato un sacco di attività da fare durante i giorni di vacanza ma mia sorella è perennemente impastata di sonno e alla fine non abbiamo fatto niente… Zero! (I had organised a lot of activities to do during the days off but my sister is perpetually impastata di sonno and in the end we did nothing… Zero!)
5. NON MI REGGO PIÙ IN PIEDI!
Once again, the idea is that we are so tired that our bodies cannot support the weight and we struggle to stay upright, so we need to lie down and rest.
Pensavo di non essere stanca e invece dopo 15 minuti di passeggiata non mi reggo più in piedi! Io torno a casa, mi dispiace! (I thought I wasn’t tired and instead after 15 minutes of walking non mi reggo più in piedi! I’m going home, I’m sorry!)
If, on the other hand, you are sleepy but in a more formal setting, you can say:
6. MI PIACEREBBE RIMANERE ANCORA UN PO’ MA PURTROPPO MI SI CHIUDONO GLI OCCHI!
It is a polite way to leave an event or conversation, indicating that you are sleepy.
7. SONO DESOLATO, MA DEVO LASCIARVI: È STATA UNA GIORNATA MOLTO LUNGA/INTENSA PER ME!
This is also a perfect way to indicate that you’re tired and that’s why you are leaving: it isn’t that the company was boring, it was simply that your day up to that point was full of commitments and things to do.
8. SAREBBE BELLO POTERMI TRATTENERE ANCORA, MA IL LETTO CHIAMA!
It is also a courteous and nice way of saying goodbye to someone we don’t know very well and saying goodbye to sleep.
As for expressions with «SONNO», here are the ones that Italians use every day in their conversations:
9. ESSERE NEL PRIMO SONNO
Having just fallen asleep, being in the stage where sleep has not yet reached the deep level.
Non fare rumore! La nonna è nel primo sonno e sai che se si sveglia poi non riesce più a riaddormentarsi! (Don’t make noise! Grandma è nel primo sonno and you know that if she wakes up then she can’t go back to sleep!)
10. FARE TUTTO UN SONNO
Sleep in a row for as many hours as necessary, without interruptions.
Questa mattina mi sento davvero riposata! Stanotte ho fatto tutto un sonno, come non accadeva da mesi! Evidentemente sono meno stressata in questo periodo. (This morning I feel really rested! Last night ho fatto tutto un sonno like I haven’t in months! Evidently I’m less stressed these days.)
11. GUASTARE IL SONNO A QUALCUNO
Giving someone serious cause for concern, taking away their peace of mind, causing them problems and unpleasant things, to such an extent that they should prevent them from sleeping.
Da quando ha compiuto 16 anni, il figlio di Luca sta guastando il sonno ai genitori. Non c’è un giorno in cui non combini un guaio! (Ever since he turned 16, Luca’s son sta guastando il sonno to his parents’ sleep. There isn’t a day when he doesn’t make a mess!)
12. PERDERE IL SONNO
Having big problems, worries, sorrows, fears, so serious that they take away our sleep and prevent us from sleeping.
Ogni volta che devo lavorare su un grande progetto, perdo il sonno per giorni. È sempre un incubo! Forse dovrei cambiare lavoro… (Whenever I have to work on a big project, perdo il sonno for days. It’s always a nightmare! Maybe I should change jobs…)
13. SONNO PESANTE / SONNO DA MARMOTTA
Both of these expressions indicate a deep sleep, from which one does not wake up even with loud enough noises. In short, a bit like hibernating animals (such as groundhogs) do.
Luca ha il sonno pesante: non si sveglia nemmeno se ci sono i fuochi d’artificio. (Luca ha il sonno pesante: he won’t even wake up if there are fireworks.)
14. SONNO ETERNO
It’s obvious, isn’t it? Eternal sleep (sonno eterno) is… death!
Dopo tanta sofferenza, potrà finalmente riposarsi con il sonno eterno. (After so much suffering, he can finally rest in sonno eterno.)
Well, I’d say that’s it as far as all the alternative expressions to «HO SONNO!» are concerned: let me know in the comments if it was useful to you and also write to me if there are any particular doubts or problems!
Thank you for finishing reading this article, and don’t forget to also go and discover all the alternatives to «SONO ARRABBIATO».