Why is Going to Bed Called “Hitting the Hay” and Where did the Expression Come From?

When going to sea, early sailors had to provide for their own bedding.

This need was catered to by merchants on the docks who, for a shilling, sold the seamen crude canvas sacks stuffed with hay.

When heading off to sleep, a sailor would announce that he was going to “hit the hay.”

why is going to bed called hitting the hay and where did the expression come from

Although less crude than those coarse canvases, early North American settlers also used hay to stuff mattresses and pillows, so when going to bed, they too would “hit the hay.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.