In Bedtime’s Embrace: Saying Goodnight the German Way

Elly Kim9 min
Created: Nov 24, 2023Last updated: Nov 24, 2023
Goodnight in German

Learning to say goodnight in German is as essential for language enthusiasts as memorizing different ways to say thank you or greet someone. It is a great way to expand your vocabulary and understand basic phrases vital for casual conversations. Today, you’ll embark on a journey through popular German goodnight expressions, from typical to unusual ones.

Common Expressions to Say Goodnight in German

German, like any other language, has numerous variations of the same phrase. Some of them are mostly used by language learners, while others are widespread among native speakers. Below, we’ll discuss both cases. And for starters, let’s explore some basic goodnight German phrases.

  • Gute Nacht – [ˈɡuːtə naχt] – Goodnight.

This is the most common way to say goodnight to someone. It is used in both formal and informal settings. For example:

Gute Nacht, schlaf schön. (Good night, sleep well.)

Ich wünsche dir eine gute Nacht. (I wish you a good night.)

Bis morgen! Gute Nacht! (See you tomorrow! Good night!)

  • Schlaf gut – [ʃlaf ɡuːt] – Sleep well.

This is another popular German good night phrase. Typically, it is used in more informal conversations when you know your interlocutor well. For example:

Schlaf gut und träum süß! (Sleep well, and sweet dreams!)

Ich wünsche dir eine erholsame Nacht. Schlaf gut! (I wish you a restful night. Sleep well!)

Bis morgen früh. Schlaf gut! (See you tomorrow morning. Sleep well!)

  • Angenehme Nachtruhe – [ˌaŋəˈneːmə ˈnaχtˌʁuːə] – Have a pleasant night’s rest.

This is a more formal German way to wish someone goodnight. It is mostly used in official settings. For example:

Wünsche dir angenehme Nachtruhe. (Wishing you a pleasant night’s rest.)

Gute Nacht und angenehme Nachtruhe! (Good night and have a pleasant night’s rest!)

Angenehme Nachtruhe, bis morgen! (Have a pleasant night’s rest, see you tomorrow!)

  • Ich wünsche dir eine gute Nacht – [ɪç ˈvʏnʃə diːɐ̯ ˈaɪ̯nə ˈɡuːtə naχt] – I wish you a good night.

This formal expression is another great way to politely and respectfully wish someone goodnight. For example:

Es war schön, mit Ihnen zu sprechen. Ich wünsche dir eine gute Nacht. (It was nice talking to you. I wish you a good night.)

Ich danke Ihnen für Ihre Aufmerksamkeit. Ich wünsche Ihnen eine gute Nacht. (Thank you for your attention. I wish you a good night.)

Tschüss, Karla! Ich wünsche dir eine gute Nacht. (Bye, Karla! I wish you a good night.)

German for Goodnight: Alternative Farewells

And now, it is time to move to more casual and even slang phrases Germans use when saying goodnight. Some of them are actual goodnight expressions, while others can also be used at various times of the day.

  • Bis bald – [bɪs balt] – See you soon.

This common expression is a great way to say good night in German when you know that you’ll see the person anytime soon. It can also be used as a general way to say goodbye. For example:

Gute Nacht! Bis bald. (Good night! See you soon.)

Bis bald und träum was Schönes. (See you soon and dream of something beautiful.)

Nacht! Bis bald. (Night! See you soon.)

  • Schlaf schön – [ʃlaf ʃøːn] – Sleep well.

This expression is similar to the phrase “Schalf gut.” It is also informal and can be used when talking to your friends, family members, or people close to you. However, it slightly differs from the previous expression, as it is warmer and friendlier. For example:

Gute Nacht, schlaf schön! (Good night, sleep well!)

Ich werde Ihnen morgen die Einzelheiten mitteilen. Schlaf schön! (I will tell you the details tomorrow. Sleep well!)

Bis morgen! Schlaf schön. (See you tomorrow! Sleep well.)

  • Träum süß – [trɔɪ̯m syːs] – Sweet dreams.

This phrase is the only answer on how to say sweet dreams in German. It is very casual and suitable mostly for informal settings. For example:

Träum süß, mein Schatz. Ich liebe dich. (Sweet dreams, darling. I love you.)

Lassen Sie uns das morgen zu Ende bringen. Träum süß! (Let’s finish this tomorrow. Sweet dreams!)

Träum süß für meinen Lieblingsmenschen auf der Welt. (Sweet dreams to my favorite person in the world.)

  • Ab ins Bett – [ap ɪns bɛt] – Off to bed.

Parents commonly use this phrase in German for good night to remind their kids it is time to go to bed. Yet, it is also commonly used by adults as a way to say their late-night farewells. For example:

Gute Nacht! Ab ins Bett. (Good night! Off to bed.)

Ab ins Bett, Kinder! Morgen müsst ihr früh aufstehen. (Off to bed, kids! You need to wake up early tomorrow.)

Ab ins Bett und bis morgen! (Off to bed, and see you tomorrow!)

  • Schnarch gut – [ʃnaχ ɡuːt] – Sleep well.

The literal translation of this phrase is “snore well.” It is a humorous expression used to say have a good night in German in very informal conversations. For example:

Gute Nacht! Schnarch gut. (Good night! Snore well.)

Hoffe, du schnarchst gut. (Hope you snore well.)

Nacht! Schnarch gut und bis bald. (Night! Snore well and see you soon.)

  • Nacht – [naχt] – Night.

The last expression in our list is very casual, similar to the English phrases “Night!” or “Nighty night.” For example:

Nacht, Suzie! Ich wünsche dir ein schönes Wochenende. (Night, Suzie! Have a lovely weekend.)

Ich muss jetzt gehen. Nacht, Bruder! (I need to go now. Night, bro!)

Ich bin fertig für heute. Nacht! (I’m done for today. Night!)

How to Say Night in German: Useful Vocabulary

Now that you know the most common ways to wish someone goodnight, it is time to expand your vocabulary further. In the list below, you can see many useful words related to the topic of bedtime. 

  • Aufwachen – [ˈaʊ̯fˌvaːχən] – to wake up.

Jeden Morgen wache ich um sieben Uhr auf. (Every morning, I wake up at seven o’clock.)

Wenn ich früh aufwache, mache ich gerne Sport. (When I wake up early, I like to exercise.)

Es ist schwer, am Wochenende früh aufzuwachen. (It’s hard to wake up early on weekends.)

  • Einschlafen – [ˈaɪ̯nˌʃlaːfən] – to fall asleep.

Nach einem langen Tag fällt mir das Einschlafen leicht. (After a long day, falling asleep comes easy to me.)

Sie braucht immer etwas Zeit, um einzuschlafen. (She always needs some time to fall asleep.)

Das Lesen vor dem Einschlafen hilft mir zu entspannen. (Reading before falling asleep helps me relax.)

  • Das Kissen – [das ˈkɪsən] – the pillow.

Mein neues Kissen ist super bequem. (My new pillow is super comfortable.)

Ich habe gerne mehrere Kissen im Bett. (I like to have several pillows on the bed.)

Ein gutes Kissen ist wichtig für einen erholsamen Schlaf. (A good pillow is important for restful sleep.)

  • Die Decke – [diː ˈdɛkə] – the blanket.

Im Winter brauche ich eine dicke Decke. (In winter, I need a thick blanket.)

Die Decke ist zu kurz für das große Bett. (The blanket is too short for the big bed.)

Diese Decke fühlt sich angenehm weich an. (This blanket feels pleasantly soft.)

  • Das Bett – [das bɛt] – the bed.

Ich freue mich darauf, heute Abend in meinem gemütlichen Bett zu schlafen. (I’m looking forward to sleeping in my cozy bed tonight.)

Unser neues Bett ist sehr komfortabel. (Our new bed is very comfortable.)

Das Bett ist mein Lieblingsplatz zum Entspannen. (The bed is my favorite place to relax.)

  • Die Nacht – [diː naχt] – the night.

In der Nacht ist alles ruhig. (Everything is quiet at night.)

An manchen Tagen schlafe ich besser in der Nacht als tagsüber. (On some days, I sleep better at night than during the day.)

Die Nacht ist mein Lieblingsteil des Tages. (Night is my favorite part of the day.)

  • Der Schlafanzug – [deːɐ̯ ˈʃlaːf.anˌtsuːk] – the pajamas.

Ich ziehe meinen Schlafanzug an, wenn ich ins Bett gehe. (I put on my pajamas when I go to bed.)

Er trägt immer seinen alten Schlafanzug. (He always wears his old pajamas.)

Der neue Schlafanzug ist so bequem. (The new pajamas are so comfortable.)

  • Der Schlaf – [deːɐ̯ ʃlaːf] – the sleep.

Guter Schlaf ist wichtig für die Gesundheit. (Good sleep is important for health.)

Der Schlafmangel beeinträchtigt meine Konzentration. (Lack of sleep affects my concentration.)

Ich hatte einen erholsamen Schlaf. (I had a restful sleep.)

  • Der Traum – [deːɐ̯ traʊ̯m] – the dream.

Ich hatte einen merkwürdigen Traum letzte Nacht. (I had a strange dream last night.)

Träume können manchmal sehr lebhaft sein. (Dreams can sometimes be very vivid.)

Hast du einen Lieblingstraum? (Do you have a favorite dream?)

  • Das Schlafzimmer – [das ˈʃlaːfˌʦɪmɐ] – the bedroom

Mein Schlafzimmer ist mein Rückzugsort. (My bedroom is my sanctuary.)

Das Schlafzimmer sollte ein gemütlicher Ort zum Entspannen sein. (The bedroom should be a cozy place to relax.)

Das Schlafzimmer ist gut belüftet. (The bedroom is well-ventilated.)

Saying Goodnight in German: Regional Variations

The German language is spoken in nineteen countries aside from Germany. While general words and phrases are almost the same in most, there are numerous regional variations of the same expressions specific to a particular country. Here are some examples of how to say goodnight in different German-speaking areas.

  • G’sund bleibn – [ˈɡsʊnd ˈblaɪ̯bn] – Bavaria, Austria. This expression is literally the way to wish someone to stay healthy. However, it is often used as a goodnight farewell.
  • Guete Nacht – [ˈɡʊətə naχt] – Swiss German. It is a standard way of saying “Good night” in Swiss German, used widely across Switzerland. As you can see, it is quite similar to the German “Gute Nacht,” but the pronunciation is slightly different.
  • Pfuus Guet – [pfuːs ɡʊət] – Switzerland. This is another Swiss-German farewell, used to bid someone a goodnight. Literally, it means “Goodbye well” or “Sleep well.”
  • Guad Nacht – [ɡuːd naχt] – Rhineland-Palatinate. It is another regional variation used to bid someone “Good night” in the local dialect.

Of course, there are many other phrases widespread in other German-speaking countries. The ones above are just a few examples to give you a glance at diverse regional variations of the same phrase. Memorizing them will help you avoid misunderstandings and easily recognize the expression, even in different dialects.

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Conclusion

All in all, learning to say goodnight in German is an important part of studying the language. Whether bidding farewells to your friends or colleagues, choosing the appropriate phrase is essential. We hope that with the help of today’s article, you will be able to find the right words easily. See you soon!

FAQ

Can “Gute Nacht” and “Guten Abend” be used interchangeably?

Although these expressions look similar, you can’t use them interchangeably. “Gute nacht” is “goodnight” when bidding farewell before someone goes to sleep. “Guten abend,” or “good evening,” is usually an early evening greeting.

How should I know what expression to choose to wish someone goodnight?

You need to decide according to many factors. Firstly, consider the relationship with your interlocutor – are they close to you or just an acquaintance? Moreover, think about the level of politeness and respect you want to convey. Finally, don’t forget about the fluency level of your interlocutor – you need to decide on an expression that will be easy to understand, avoiding any miscommunication.

Is memorizing regional variations essential when learning to say goodnight in German?

It depends on your current proficiency level, preferences, and interests. Of course, when just starting to learn the language, you only have to memorize basic phrases used in most German-speaking areas. However, if you want to expand your vocabulary and better understand the cultural nuances of different regions, you should definitely learn a few variations.

Are there any non-verbal cues appropriate to use alongside words in German culture?

Non-verbal cues such as a gentle hug, a wave, or a nod may accompany saying goodnight in German culture, particularly among friends or family. These gestures often complement the verbal expression of goodnight and contribute to the warmth and closeness of the interaction.

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