Etymology
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sandman (n.)

bringer of sleep in nursery lore, 1861, from sand (n.) in reference to hard grains found in the eyelashes on waking; first attested in a translation from the Norwegian of Andersen (his Ole Lukoie "Ole Shut-eye," about a being who makes children sleepy, came out 1842), and perhaps partly from German Sandmann. More common in U.S.; dustman with the same sense is attested from 1821.

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Definitions of sandman

sandman (n.)
an elf in fairy stories who sprinkles sand in children's eyes to make them sleepy;
From wordnet.princeton.edu