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Stock Phrases about keeping someone on edge during the night.
Examples of Sleep with One Eye Open include:

Film

 Liv: If I were your wedding, I'd be sleeping with one eye open...

  • Gunpowder, Treason & Plot

 Lord Darnley: I am one of the finest swordsmen in England, Bothwell.

Bothwell: Well, you're in Scotland now *your majesty*!

Lord Darnley: Then sleep with one eye open.

 You have to sleep with one eye open for the rest of your life.

 I have to sleep with one eye open.

 Tell him to sleep with one eye open.

 And sleep with one eye open.

  • Mean Machine

 You sleep with one eye open, son.

  • Dance of the Vampires

 The best thing is to sleep with one eye open.

  • Freebird

 I think you should sleep with one eye open.

  • Twin Daggers

 I have to sleep with one eye open.

  • Gary Unmarried

 Hey, do yourself a favor, pal. Sleep with one eye open.

 What do we do when we are awake?

Keep two eyes on the sky.

What do we do when we sleep?

Keep one eye on the sky.

What do we do when we see them?

Dig hard, dig deep, go for shelter, and never look back.

Literature

  • In The Hobbit, Smaug does this when he realizes that there is an intruder in his lair. It's not a problem for Bilbo since he can turn invisible at least until the dragon sniffs him out.
  • In Scott O'Dell's The Black Pearl, the Sevillano does this while holding a knife in his hand and the pearl in his feet.

Live Action TV

 Simon: [To Jayne] Now, we could circle each other and growl, sleep with one eye open, but that thought wearies me.

  • Oz episode "Ancient Tribes"

 Augustus Hill: I gotta share a pod, McManus. I gotta sleep with one eye open.

  • Bat Masterson episode "High Card Loses"

 Bank Manager: I hope you enjoy your stay in Las Cruces.

Bat Masterson: I will now. I have no lock on my hotel room. It takes twice as long to sleep with one eye open.

Music

  • Brandi Carlile's song "Shadow on the Wall" contains the lyrics:

 I don't really want to be safe

It must have been the way I was raised

Sleep with one I open, I say

  • Metallica - "Enter Sandman":

 Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight

 A patient dream that wants to rise

I will not close more than one eye

 But now she sleeps with one eye open, that's the price she'll pay


Tabletop Games

  • The Space Marines in Warhammer 40000 can literally sleep like that, thanks to an implant in their brains that allows them to keep one brain hemisphere awake while the other is resting.

Video Games

  • Persona 3: Akihiko says this when SEES decides on investigating a ghost story.
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