There are two main words for sleep in Spanish:
- Sueño is the noun for “sleep” in Spanish.
- Dormir is the verb “to sleep” in Spanish.
- “I like sleep” in Spanish is me gusta sueño.
- “I like to sleep” in Spanish is me gusta dormir.
It’s also worth knowing that the word for “nap” in Spanish is siesta.
And that’s the basics!
But… there is so much more to learn about sleep in Spanish.
So, if you want to learn:
- How to use the verb dormir (“to sleep”) in different Spanish sentences (e.g. I sleep, you slept, they are sleeping)
- The difference between the noun and the verb for “sleep” in Spanish
- How to say “I’m sleepy”, “I’m tired”, “go to sleep” and “sleep well” in Spanish
- The words for “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” in Spanish
- How to ask “Did you sleep well?” in Spanish
- Spanish expressions related to sleep (e.g. “to sleep like a baby”)
- How to make snoring sounds in Spanish
- Spanish podcasts to learn Spanish while you sleep
- And even how to book a hotel room in Spanish (for sleeping, of course!)
…then read on, and I’ll explain it all.
Plus I’ll share way more about how to talk about sleep in Spanish. It’s basically a “how to talk about sleep in Spanish 101” guide.
“But why learn sleep-related vocabulary?” you may wonder.
The answer is simple! Sleeping is one of our primary needs, so it is often at the core of human preoccupations. If you’re going to visit a Spanish-speaking country, you will have to find a place to sleep. If you plan on interacting with Hispanics, the topic might pop up in phrases like “I couldn’t sleep last night!” or “I’m going to sleep early, today.” And these are only a few reasons!
Luckily, I’m here to help you become familiar with all the Spanish sleep talk.
Oh, and stay awake until the end, because I’ve put together two special bonuses that are waiting for you! One is a short but essential guide of vocabulary words to book hotel rooms in Spanish (for sleeping, of course!) and the other is a list of tips to learn Spanish while you sleep.
Sounds interesting, right? If you are a fan of your pillow as much as I am of mine, you are going to love this post. 😉
So what are we waiting for? ¡Vamos! (“Let’s go!”)
How to Say “Sleep” in Spanish: Sueño
How do you say “sleep” in Spanish?
The noun for “sleep” in Spanish is sueño. It’s a pretty word, isn’t it? But, um… Pretty rhymes with tricky. Sueño also means “dream” in Spanish.
When I started learning Spanish, I used to link sueño to “dream”. In Italian, which is my native language, sogno has a similar pronunciation and only means “dream”.
There is no other way to differentiate between the two meanings than paying attention to the context, and sometimes tone, in which the word is used. But don’t worry, it’s easy.
I learned that when I was out at night with friends. One of them rubbed her eyes and said Tengo un sueño, emphasizing the un (“a”). I froze and wondered: “Wait, she’s having a dream right now?”
Turned out it was a way to say she was sleepy.
How to Say “To Sleep” in Spanish: Dormir
The verb “to sleep” in Spanish is dormir. It’s important to know because it pops up in many sleep-related phrases and expressions. And you’ll learn a handful of those later in the post!
First, let’s check out the conjugation of dormir (this is how the word looks in different sentences).
A Little Refresher: Spanish Subject Pronouns
Before we dive into conjugation tables, let’s open a brief parenthesis to make sure you go in with a solid basis.
English’s seven subject pronouns (I/you/we/etc.) pale in comparison when they’re confronted with Spanish’s 13 subject pronouns!
Although Spanish conjugated forms make subject pronouns almost useless, it’s important to learn the pronouns in order to use Spanish conjugation properly. This is mostly due to the fact that there are six ways to say “you” in Spanish.
Believe me, this little effort will make things easier for you in the long run. You’ll be able to learn only the conjugated forms you really need!
Dormir, Indicative Present Conjugation
Back to the star of the show. Here is the present tense of dormir:
|él/ella/usted duerme||he/she/you sleep|
|nostros dormimos||we sleep|
|vosotros dormís||you sleep|
|ellos/ellas/ustedes duermen||they/you sleep|
Dormir, Preterite Conjugation
Here is the simplest past tense of dormir:
|yo dormí||I slept|
|tú/vos dormiste||you slept|
|él/ella/usted durmió||he/she/you slept|
|nostros dormimos||we slept|
|vosotros dormisteis||you slept|
|ellos/ellas/ustedes durmieron||they/you slept|
Spanish Pronouns Quick Refresher:
In case you were wondering when to use the pronouns above, here is a super-quick refresher:
- yo: “I” – It isn’t necessary to capitalize yo unless it’s at the beginning of a sentence.
- tú: standard informal singular “you”
- vos: informal singular “you” – The people of certain Latin American countries, such as Argentina, use vos instead of tú as the informal singular “you”. Most of the time with indicative present tense, the conjugation is different depending on which of the two pronouns is used.
- él: “he”
- ella: “she”
- usted: formal singular “you
- nosotros: masculine “we” – Nosotros is used for exclusively-masculine groups or gender-mixed groups.
- nosotras: feminine “we” – Nosotras is often forgone in conjugation tables, but it is the appropriate pronoun to use when referring to a group of girls/women only.
- vosotros: masculine informal plural “you” – Vosotros is used in Spain but not in other Spanish-speaking countries.
- vosotras: masculine informal plural “you” – Like nosotras, vosotras often doesn't appear in conjugation tables.
- ellos: masculine “they”
- ellas: feminine “they”
- ustedes: plural “you” – Ustedes is the formal plural “you” in Spain, but it is employed as the plural “you” for any occasion throughout Latin America.
If you’re going to Spain, forget about vos. If you’re headed to a Latin American country, leave vosotros behind. Learn only what you need to know to master Spanish faster.
How to Say “To Fall Asleep” in Spanish: Dormirse
“To fall asleep” in Spanish is dormirse, the reflexive version of dormir.
The conjugation is the same. All you need to do to go from “to sleep” to “to fall asleep” is add the appropriate reflexive pronoun to the verb.
- with yo → me
- with tú/vos → te
- with él/ella/usted → se
- with nosotros/as → nos
- with vosotros/as → os
- with ellos/ellas/ustedes → se
Example: Me dormí. – (“I fell asleep.”)
Another way to say “to fall asleep” is quedarse dormido/a, which literally means “to remain asleep”.
How to Say “I’m Sleepy” in Spanish: Tengo Sueño
Depending on where you plan to get sleepy, you might learn to say it in a different way.
As it usually happens with Spanish expressions, there are several ways to say “I'm sleepy” in Spanish. In fact, most Hispanic countries and Hispanic regions have their own phrase to say so, or they apply their own spin to the basic expression.
The most common way to say “I’m sleepy” in Spanish is tengo sueño, which literally translates to “I have sleep”.
You can make the phrase stronger by adding a small word to it.
- Tengo mucho sueño – “I am very sleepy.” Mucho means “a lot”, so the literal translation of this expression is “I have a lot of sleep”.
- Tengo un sueño – “I am so sleepy,” literally “I have a sleep”. ¡Ojo! (“Be careful!”): This only works if you emphasize the un. Otherwise, it will mean “I have a dream”. Apply more pressure on the tanto, like you would when reading this italicized “so”: “I am so sleepy.”
- Tengo resueño – “I am so sleepy” in an informal, almost slang way in Latin America. Re is a fun Spanish prefix. When used in a grammatically appropriate way, it means “again” or a negation. However, youth in certain Latin American countries use it to make words more impactful.
Not sleepy? No problem! Say No tengo sueño (“I’m not sleepy”).
How to Say “I’m Tired” in Spanish: Estoy Cansado/a
To say “tired” in Spanish, you would say cansado (masculine version) or cansada (feminine version).
To form the phrase “I am tired”, pair cansado/a with the verb estar (“to be”): Estoy cansado/a.
If you want to deny your tiredness, say No estoy cansado (“I’m not tired.”)
How to Say “Go to Sleep” in Spanish: Vete a Dormir
Imagine you are hanging out with a friend who has said “I’m sleepy” in all the different ways listed above in the last half hour. You should probably tell them to go to sleep. In Spanish, to go to sleep is “irse a dormir”.
A way to say “go to sleep” is vete a dormir. This phrase uses the imperative of the verb irse (“to go”) and the infinitive of the verb dormir (“to sleep”), which we’ll talk more about later.
You might also come across the phrase stripped of its reflexive pronoun — ve a dormir — especially in Latin America.
¡Ojo! Before using this sentence, remember that there are several second-person pronouns in Spanish. You should pay attention to conjugation depending on the person or people you are addressing.
- with tú → vete a dormir or ve a dormir
- with vos → andá a dormir
- with usted → váyase a dormir or vaya a dormir
- with vosotros → idos a dormir or id a dormir
- with ustedes → váyanse a dormir or vayan a dormir
Note: The version with the reflexive pronoun may sometimes sound more authoritative because irse means “to go away”. As it is in the imperative form, vete can carry the meaning of “go away!” However, it is the grammatically correct choice, as irse a dormir is the proper way to say “to go to sleep”.
How to Say “Go to Sleep” to Children in Spanish: Duérmete
If you have experience with putting young children to sleep, you probably want to learn how to say “Go to sleep” in a more decisive manner in Spanish.
This is easy! Use the imperative of dormirse: ¡duérmete! (“go to sleep!” or “sleep!”). For more than one child, use dormíos in Spain and duérmanse in Latin America. It’s improbable that you will come across the expression conjugated with usted, but you can learn it just for good measure: duérmase.
If you want to make it clear that there is no “but” expected, add ya: duérmete ya or ya duérmete (“go to sleep now”).
If you’d rather arrullar (“to lull to sleep”) the children, you could sing them canciones de cuna (“lullabies”). One of the most famous ones is called Estrellita, ¿dónde estás?(“Little star, where are you?”) It’s the Spanish version of “Twinkle, twinkle, little star”:
How to Say “I'm Going to Sleep” in Spanish:
When you’ve convinced your friend and they’re finally ready to go to sleep, they will tell you me voy a dormir (“I’m going to sleep”).
It’s also common to say ya me voy a dormir. Notice how the sentence is the same except for the first word.
We’ve briefly seen ya above, in the phrase ya duérmete. Ya in Spanish means “already”, but in this case, it can also be a random filler word like “alright”.
“I’m going to sleep early” is me voy a dormir temprano, and “I’m going to sleep now” is Me voy a dormir ahora.
If you want to say “I’ll go to sleep early, today”, use the future tense of the verb ir: Me iré a dormir temprano, hoy.
How to Say “Sleep Well” in Spanish: Que Descanses
After your friend has agreed to go to sleep, you might as well wish them to sleep well.
There are two main ways to say “sleep well” in Spanish, and they both use our favorite Spanish tense: subjunctive. (Yes, that totally was sarcasm.)
But don’t worry! Both phrases are super short and easy to remember. Say que descanses (descansar means “rest”) or que duermas bien (literally “sleep well”).
Before using these phrases, remember to choose the appropriate second-person form:
- with vos → que descanses (in Argentina) or que descansés (in Central America) and que duermas bien
- with usted → que descanse and que duerma bien
- with vosotros → que descanséis and que durmáis bien
- with ustedes → que descansen and que duerman bien
¡Ojo! Que duermas bien and its other forms are informal and usually addressed to children. For this reason, it might be rare for you to come across que duerma bien.
How to Say “Have a Good Night” in Spanish: Que Pases Buenas Noches
If it’s already night and you want an alternative to “sleep well”, tell your friend: que pases buenas noches (“have a good night”).
- with vos → que pases buenas noches (in Argentina) or que pasés buenas noches (in Central America)
- with usted → que pase buenas noches
- with vosotros → que paséis buenas noches
- with ustedes → que pasen buenas noches
You can replace pasar with tener (“to have”)
- with tú or vos → que tengas buenas noches
- with usted → que tenga buenas noches
- with vosotros → que tengáis buenas noches
- with ustedes → que tengan buenas noches
You can also say buenas noches (“good night”).
Note: In Latin America, buenas noches is sometimes replaced with buena noche.
How to Say “Sweet Dreams” in Spanish: Dulces Sueños
Remember when I told you about sueño also meaning dream? That knowledge comes in handy if you want to be kinder to your sleepy friend and wish them sweet dreams! In Spanish, you would say dulces sueños (“sweet dreams”).
As the verb “to dream” in Spanish is soñar, another way to wish “sweet dreams” is to say sueña con los angelitos (“dream of the angels”). It’s more appropriate for a familiar interaction and,let’s say it… it’s quite sappy.
You might also hear sueña conmigo (“dream of me”), either as a romantic or playful phrase.
How to Ask “Are you sleeping?” in Spanish: ¿Estás Durmiendo?
We all know that type of movie scene when a character asks another “Are you sleeping?” in the middle of the night because they’re having an existential crisis of some sort.
In case you ever have to star in a Spanish movie, or if your sleepy friend often has existential crises at 2am, you better learn to recognize the question.
“Are you sleeping?” in Spanish is:
- with tú or vos → ¿Estás durmiendo?
- with usted → ¿Está durmiendo?
- with vosotros → ¿Estáis durmiendo?
- with ustedes → ¿Están durmiendo?
Depending on the script, or your mood at the moment, you might respond with antes, sí (“I was, before”), (ahora) ya no (“not anymore”), or no puedo dormir (“I can’t sleep”).
Psst… You might also opt for staying silent and ignoring the question altogether. 😉
How to Ask “How Did You Sleep?” in Spanish:
Regardless of whether your friend is a madrugador/a (“early bird”) or likes to dormir hasta tarde (“to sleep in”), you might want to ask them how they slept.
You’ll be happy to learn the preterite of dormir earlier in the post. “How did you sleep?” in Spanish is ¿Cómo dormiste?
- with usted → ¿Cómo durmió?
- with vosotros → ¿Cómo dormisteis?
- with ustedes → ¿Cómo durmieron?
As it often happens in Spanish, you might come across qué tal replacing cómo.
Example: ¿Qué tal dormiste?
You might also hear ¿Cómo amaneciste? in Latin America, which roughly means “How did you feel when you woke up?”
- with usted → ¿Cómo amaneció?
- with vosotros → ¿Cómo amanecisteis?
- with ustedes → ¿Cómo amanecieron?
¿Cómo amaneciste? and its other conjugated forms are informal and usually used in familiar settings.
How to Ask “Did You Sleep Well?” in Spanish:
“Did you sleep well?” in Spanish is simply ¿Dormiste bien?
- with usted → ¿Durmió bien?
- with vosotros → ¿Dormisteis bien?
- with ustedes → ¿Durmieron bien?
The question also frequently uses the compound past tense:
- with tú/vos → ¿Has dormido bien?
- with usted → ¿Ha dormido bien?
- with vosotros → ¿Habéis dormido bien?
- with ustedes → ¿Han dormido bien?
Sleep-Related Spanish Expressions and Idioms
Now that you’ve learnt all the practical expressions, how about some fun to distract yourself a bit?
Here are some Spanish expressions and idioms related to sleep:
Tener el sueño ligero – “to be a light sleeper” Hablar estando dormido or hablar en sueños– “to sleep-talk” (literally “to talk while being asleep” and “to talk in dreams”) No pegué ojo (en toda la noche) – “I didn’t get a wink of sleep (all night)” Dormir como un tronco – “to sleep like a log” Dormir a pierna suelta – “to sleep like a baby” (literally, “to sleep with loose legs”) Pasar la noche en blanco, pasar la noche en claro or pasar la noche en vela – “to have a sleepless night” Al que madruga Dios le ayuda – “it’s the early bird that catches the worm” (literally “God helps the one who wakes up early”)
How to Make Snoring Sounds in Spanish
As we’re exploring the funny side of sleep vocabulary, let’s include something from the comics universe.
Did you know that the sleeping onomatopoeia in Spanish is zzz, like in English? And a popular way to write the sound for roncar (“snoring”) is rrr.
What Is a Siesta?
The siesta is known nationally in Spain, but few Spaniards actually put it into practice in a literal way.
Traditionally, the siesta is an afternoon nap taken between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to avoid having to work in the extreme midday heat of the Iberian peninsula. It comes right after the famous long-winded Spanish almuerzo (“lunch”), which is heavy and followed by a long sobremesa (a post-lunch conversation), to facilitate a peaceful digestion.
While few people use the siesta time to sleep nowadays, shops and businesses do close between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. It drives tourists crazy, as the streets may look like they belong to an abandoned town during the break!
To say “to have a nap” in Spanish, you can either say dormir la siesta or echar(se) la siesta
How to Book a Hotel Room in Spanish – Some Vocabulary
Here is the first bonus I promised at the beginning of the post!
You may be thinking that I’m going to teach you a phone conversation to book a hotel room in Spanish. But let’s be honest: does anyone even book hotel rooms by phone anymore? It’s very rare.
Instead, we’re going to look at some typical online reservation vocabulary.
What you will need first:
- reservar – “to book”
- buscar – “to search”
- la fecha – “date”
- la entrada – “check-in”
- la salida – “check-out”
- un adulto – “one adult” (dos/tres/cuatro adultos – “two/three/four adults*)
- un niño – “one child” (dos/tres/cuatro niños – “two/three/four children*)
- una estrella – “one star” (cinco/cuatro/tres/dos estrellas* – “five/four/three/two stars”)
- el (mejor) precio – “the (best) price”
- todo incluido – “all inclusive”
- desayuno incluido – “breakfast included”
- *cancelación (gratis) – “(free) cancellation”
- (sin) pago por adelantado – “(no) prepayment needed”
- parcialmente reembolsable – “partially refundable”
- traslado aeropuerto – “airport shuttle”
- el personal es amable/desagradable – “the staff is friendly/unpleasant”
- *check-in a partir de las… * – “check-in from…”
- check-out antes de… – “check-out before…”
What you need to know to confirm your reservation:
- introduce tus datos – “enter your details”
- nombre – “name”
- apellido – “last name”
- dirección de correo electrónico – “email address”
- hora de llegada – “arrival time”
- ¿Cómo te/le gustaría pagar? – “How would you like to pay?”
- tarjeta de crédito – “credit card”
- completa la reserva – “complete the reservation”
Algunos tipos de alojamiento (some types of hotels):
- hotel – “hotel”
- hotel de aeropuerto – “airport hotel”
- apartamento – “apartment”
- bungaló – “bungalow”
- posada – “inn”, also occasionally “bed and breakfast”
- albergue – “hostel”
- motel – “motel”
- la habitación or el cuarto – “room”
- la cama de matrimonio – “double bed”
- la cama individual – “single bed”
- la cama extra or la cama supletoria – “extra bed”
- el sofa cama – “sofa bed”
- la cuna – “cradle”
- la litera – “bunk bed”
- la almohada – “pillow”
- la sábana – “sheet”
- el aire acondicionado – “air conditioning”
- el armario – “wardrobe”
- la percha – “coat hanger”
- el reloj despertador or la alarma – “alarm clock”
- la lámpara – “lamp”
- el teléfono – “telephone”
- el balcón – “balcony”
- el cuarto de baño – “bathroom”
- la ducha – “shower”
- la banera – “bathtub”
- la toalla – “towel”
- el jabon – “soap”
- el champú – “shampoo”
Some Tips on How to Learn Spanish While You Sleep
Wait, is it possible to learn a language while sleeping?
While nothing will outdo practice as the supreme language learning method, there are a few techniques and hacks that will help you maximize your time and pick up a language faster — i.e. while you’re sleeping. Here are my personal favorites.
Read Your Notes Right Before Going to Bed
As a student, I’ve always found it productive to review lessons right before going to bed on the day prior to a test. I would wake up in the morning and remember concepts, formulas, and words more easily.
Now that I’m learning Portuguese, I make sure that reading some Portuguese is the last thing I do before falling asleep. This gives the entire night to my subconscious to become more familiar with a list of vocabulary words.
Try Listening to Audio While You Sleep
This is something I haven’t tried yet with language learning, but listening to audios while I sleep has helped me progress faster in other areas of studies.
Magic? More like science. Studies have demonstrated that a person’s memory of words or activities can be improved if said person is exposed to sounds tied to the word or activity during sleep. Yes, that seems to work with language learning as well.
SpanishPod101 makes YouTube videos titled “Learn Spanish While Sleeping” that you might want to try out. They use binaural beats, which are said to improve focus and further help with sound assimilation.
Snore Like a Pro in Spanish
Now that you know everything about sleeping in Spanish, you could totally bypass talking about dormir in English and do it entirely in Spanish!
Psst… If you’re also concerned about one of the other primary needs, food, check out this yummy post.
Now tell me, how will you put your sleep-related vocabulary into practice? Will you sing Spanish lullabies? Or say “goodnight” in Spanish?
Let me know in the comments!
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.