toss and turn

toss and turn

To continuously reposition oneself in an attempt to be comfortable enough to fall asleep, or, more figuratively, to sleep restlessly. Every night, it seems like I have to toss and turn for 15 minutes before I get comfortable, and then there's my wife, who falls asleep as soon as her head hits the pillow. I tossed and turned all night. I don't know why I wasn't able to stay asleep.
See also: and, toss, turn

toss and turn, to

To move about restlessly while in bed. If this alliterative expression were older, it would be redundant, since to toss once also meant to turn over and over. However, it did not surface until the late 1800s, and it is always used for this behavior while one is in bed. J. R. R. Tolkien used it in The Fellowship of the Ring (1954), “He lay tossing and turning and listening fearfully to the stealthy night-noises.”
See also: and, toss
References in periodicals archive ?
I toss and turn, I toss and turn, and then I toss some more.