How To Say Goodnight In Spanish (Quick Beginner's Guide)

  • Jada Lòpez
    Written byJada Lòpez
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How To Say Goodnight In Spanish (Quick Beginner's Guide)

When the night arrives in Spanish-speaking countries, you’ll typically hear the natives say buenas noches to each other, which literally translates as ‘good nights’.

You might know this if you’re studying a Spanish course.

But did you know that there are many other ways to wish your family, friends and colleagues ‘goodnight’ in Spanish?

This guide covers all you need to know about the common and the less frequently used ways to say ‘goodnight’ in Spanish. Once you’ve got to the end, you’ll know exactly which phrases for ‘goodnight’ are appropriate for your family and which you should use with your colleagues.

Let’s dive in.

What are some common ways to say ‘goodnight’ in Spanish?

Some of the commonly used phrases you’ll frequently hear in Spanish speaking countries that mean ‘goodnight’ are:

EspañolEnglish
Buenas nochesGood night
Que descansesRest well
Que duermas bienI hope you sleep well
Buenas tardesGood evening
Que tengas dulces sueñosSweet dreams
Hasta mañanaUntil tomorrow
¡Duérmete!Go to sleep!
Que sueñes con los angelitosI hope you have sweet dreams

When to use buenas noches and when to use buenas tardes

The Spanish phrase buenas noches is usually heard after 8 pm. It’s used when you’re just about to part ways with someone at the end of the night, or if you’re going to bed.

Take a look at this example:

Buenas noches, cielo. Mañana tienes que madrugar.

Goodnight sweetheart. Tomorrow you have to get up early.

The phrase buenas tardes is used in a similar context, but is used in the evening up until around 8 pm. It means ‘good evening’.

Buenas tardes, hasta la próxima.

Good evening, until next time.

Using the imperative form duérmete

In Spanish speaking countries, you’ll typically hear parents telling their children to go to sleep with the phrase duérmete, or duérmete ya. This phrase uses the imperative, which is sort of like a command or instruction.

To help you remember this one, there’s a Spanish lullaby sung to the melody of ‘Rock-a-by-baby’, that features the imperative phrase duérmete ya.

The song Duérmete Niño is commonly heard in Spain – parents sing it to get their children to sleep (before the crocodile comes to eat them!)

Using que tengas dulces sueños and que sueñes con los angelitos informally

The two phrases que tengas dulces sueños and que sueñes con los angelitos are always used in informal contexts. You would never tell your boss, or a stranger, that you hope they ‘dream of angels’ in English, and that’s exactly the same for these two Spanish phrases.

Here’s an example of how to use these phrases with family members:

Que tengas dulces sueños, cariño. Descansa bien, que tenemos mucho que hacer mañana.

I hope you have sweet dreams, darling. Rest well, we have a lot to do tomorrow.

Likewise, the phrase que sueñes con los angelitos should also be reserved for family members and loved ones. It’s a caring and loving way to say ‘goodnight’ to children or close family members. Here’s how it could be used:

Buenas noches, y que sueñes con los angelitos.

Good night, I hope you have sweet dreams.

Using the phrase hasta mañana to say goodbye to colleagues

In Spain, many employees work up until 8 pm, meaning they finish work at night.

In this context, you’ll hear natives using the phrase hasta mañana to say goodbye to their colleagues. It means ‘until tomorrow’ and is an acceptable way to wish your coworkers a good evening.

Essential Spanish vocabulary to use when wishing someone ‘goodnight’

We’ve listed some key Spanish vocabulary that will enhance your knowledge when it comes to saying ‘goodnight’. You’ll hear these phrases used by Spanish speakers in the context of saying goodnight to someone.

Which words are you familiar with? Which do you need to memorise?

EspañolEnglish
La nocheThe night
DormirTo sleep
Tengo sueñoI’m sleepy
Voy a dormirI’m going to sleep
Voy a la camaI’m going to bed
La camaThe bed
Estoy cansadaI’m tired
Estoy agotadaI’m exhausted

Using the subjunctive to wish someone sweet dreams in Spanish

If you’re studying Spanish at an intermediate level, did you notice that the phrases que duermas bien and que sueñes con los angelitos have something in common?

Yes, they both use the subjunctive form!

Why is the subjunctive used in these cases?

Well expressions such as these are normally used to wish someone a pleasant night’s sleep. The phrase que duermas bien is a shorter version of the phrase espero que duermas bien.

So, in this case, the subjunctive is used for two reasons:

  1. This phrase is a ‘wish’, a ‘hope’ or un deseo. Remember that the subjunctive is usually used in contexts where you ‘hope’ something will happen.
  2. In terms of grammatical rules, as we have two subjects in the sentence joined together with the word que, the subjunctive is required. The formula for this expression that will help you remember this rule is esperar que + [subjuntivo].

Start practicing your Spanish phrases for ‘goodnight’

Now it’s over to you to start using these Spanish phrases for ‘goodnight’ in your conversations.

To help, consider using Spanish resources such as YouTube videos or podcasts to hear other contexts in which these phrases are used.

Though you might not be familiar with some of the trickier phrases, don’t panic. Keep practicing and it will soon come naturally to you.


Got any other Spanish words for ‘goodnight’ that we’ve forgotten?

Share them below.

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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
Currently learning: Icelandic
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