27 reliable ways to say sweet dreams and goodnight in German

While some German princesses somehow manage to sleep for a hundred years, the rest of us are lucky to get 7 or 8 hours in - even though sleep is so crucial for all activities that require brain power, including language learning!

It doesn’t matter if you’re an early bird or a night owl. Each day has to end eventually and you’re going to have to go to bed at some point. As a German language learner, that means you won’t get around saying goodnight in German.

Whether you’re wishing your colleagues a good evening at the end of the work day, telling a friend goodnight at a slumber party or texting your crush “sweet dreams” - we show you exactly what to say in each situation.

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Goodnight in German.

How to say goodnight in German

Learning how to say good night in German is just as important as asking “How are you” or saying ”hello” in German. The evening” is “der Abend”, while “the night” is “die Nacht” and they’re not as interchangeable as they are in English.

The evening is roughly between 6PM and 10PM. If you say “guten Abend” (good evening), it’s generally a greeting around that time and if you want to say goodbye and wish someone a good evening you’d actually say “Einen schönen Abend noch” (Have a nice rest of your evening).

If you say “gute Nacht” (good night) in German, it’s only if you’re actually about to sleep. If you wish someone “gute Nacht” when you leave the office at 6PM, Germans may think you’re off to bed and shoot you a strange look. So good evening and goodnight are not quite the same in German.

English German IPA Context
Good evening Guten Abend [ˌɡuːtən ˈaːbənt] A formal greeting
Good evening N’Abend [ˈnaːbmt] A greeting, short form
Goodnight! Schönen Abend noch! [ˌɡuːtən ˈaːbənt nɔx] A good-bye
Goodnight, my friend Gute Nacht, mein Freund / meine Freundin [ ˈgu:tə naxt maɪ̯n fʁɔʏ̯nt / ˈmaɪ̯nə ˈfʁɔʏ̯ndɪn] Sometimes used among friends
Have a good night! Hab noch einen schönen Abend! [ha:p nɔx ˈaɪ̯nən ˈʃø:nən ˈa:bənt] A good-bye, singular
Literally: Enjoy the rest of your evening
Have a good night! Habt noch einen schönen Abend! [ha:pt nɔx ˈaɪ̯nən ˈʃø:nən ˈa:bənt] A good-bye, plural
Literally: Enjoy the rest of your evening
Get home well (be safe) Komm gut nach Hause [kɔm gu:t na:x ˈhaʊ̯zə] A common goodbye at the end of an evening spent together
Drive safely Fahr vorsichtig [fa:ɐ̯ ˈfo:ɐ̯zɪçtɪç] When someone is leaving by car at the end of the night
Text me when you get home Schreib mir, wenn du zuhause bist [ʃʁaɪ̯p mi:ɐ̯ vɛn du: tsuˈhaʊ̯zə bɪst] Especially used with close friends and family

Romantic or flirty good night in German

You have a German crush or loved one? Maybe you have a date coming up and want to impress your significant other? Of course you need to know how to say goodnight and sweet dreams in German!

Remember to say “schönen Abend” when you’re leaving for the night and “gute Nacht” when the date went really well and you’re actually about to go to sleep. So you better learn how to say good morning in German as well!

Couple kiss goodnight in German train station.

English German IPA
Goodnight, my love Gute Nacht, mein Liebling [ˌɡutə ˈnaxt maɪ̯n ˈliːplɪŋ]
Goodnight, sweet dreams Gute Nacht, süße Träume [ˌɡutə ˈnaxt ˈzyːsə ˈtʁɔɪ̯mə]
Goodnight, baby Gute Nacht, Baby [ˌɡutə ˈnaxt ˈbeɪbiː]
Sweet dreams Süße Träume [ˈzyːsə ˈtʁɔɪ̯mə]
What a beautiful night Was für ein schöner Abend [vas fy:ɐ̯ aɪ̯n ˈʃø:nɐ ˈa:bənt]
I had a lot of fun tonight Ich hatte heute Abend viel Spaß [ɪç ˈhatə ˈhɔʏ̯tə ˈa:bənt fi:l ʃpas]
May I kiss you goodnight? Darf ich dir einen Gute-Nacht-Kuss geben? [daɐ̯f ɪç di:ɐ̯ ˈaɪ̯nən gu:təˈnaxtkʊs ˈge:bən]
I’m gonna miss you while you’re sleeping Du wirst mir fehlen, während du schläfst [du: vɪɐ̯st mi:ɐ̯ ˈfe:lən ˈvɛ:ʁənt du: ʃlɛfst]

Other greetings for a good evening/night in German

There are many more ways to say goodnight in German. If you can’t pick one, you can always check out our guide on ways to say goodbye in German and just choose any of those.

English German IPA
It’s bedtime Es ist Schlafenszeit [ɛs ɪst ˈʃla:fənst͡saɪ̯t]
I have to be at work early tomorrow Ich muss morgen früh bei der Arbeit sein [ɪç mʊs ˈmɔɐ̯gən fʁy: baɪ̯ de:ɐ̯ ˈaɐ̯baɪ̯t zaɪ̯n]
I should probably get some sleep Ich sollte wahrscheinlich schlafen gehen [ɪç ˈzɔltə va:ʁˈʃaɪ̯nlɪç ˈʃla:fən ˈge:ən]
I’m gonna get ready for bed Ich mach mich ‘mal bettfertig [ɪç max mɪç ma:l ˈbɛtfɛɐ̯tɪç]
I’ll go brush my teeth Ich geh Zähne putzen [ɪç ge: ˈtsɛ:nə ˈpʊt͡sən]
I’m gonna change into my pajamas Ich geh mir meinen Schlafanzug anziehen [ɪç ge: mi:ɐ̯ ˈmaɪ̯nən ˈʃlafant͡su:k ˈantsi:ən]
I’m going to bed Ich geh ins Bett [ɪç ge: ɪns bɛt]
Have nice dreams Träum ‘was Schönes [tʁɔʏ̯m vas ˈʃø:nəs]
Sleep well Schlaf schön [ʃla:f ʃø:n]
I’ll see you in the morning Wir sehen uns am Morgen [vi:ɐ̯ ˈze:ən ʊns am ˈmɔɐ̯gən]

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Meet the German sandman

Das Sandmännchen (the little sandman) is a German children's tv show that many German children watch for bedtime each night. It follows the sandman and his friends, most importantly the goblin Pittiplatsch, the dog Moppi and the duck Schnatterinchen.

At the end of each episode, the friendly sandman blows sand into the kids’ eyes to make them fall asleep and have good dreams.

Unser Sandmännchen (DDR) Intro und Outro

It’s also a cult classic and an important part of German history. The Sandmännchen was created while Germany was split into West and East Germany following World War II. It was first introduced in the West in 1959 and copied by an East German tv channel only three weeks later.

Both versions ran parallel until German reunification in 1990. Ultimately, the Eastern version ended up being more popular and is still airing today, as the world’s longest running animated tv series in history!

Good night!

Sleep is actually a crucial part of language learning. A Berkeley study found that taking a one hour nap in between studying sessions will help your brain to perform better and give you the energy to carry on with your studies.

That’s just one of our many language learning tips. Each one of our articles is full of helpful advice and little tricks that will help you master any language you want.

Check out our German language blog and see for yourself!

Or if you’d rather take a nap instead, just make sure you watch an episode of the Sandmännchen first, so you get your language learning done and that magical sand will transport you right into dreamland. Gute Nacht!

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