We regularly think that the French as masters of living well, with excellent cuisine, lots of vacation days, and also a basic joie de vivre. However like most stereotypes, this one isn’t precisely true. Because that one thing, the French have actually a trouble that you’ll discover in most arisen countries: As a current story ~ above the news show Zone Interdite revealed, about 50% the French world say they nothing get enough sleep.

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It largely comes down to the same problem lots that us approximately the world may have actually – continuing to be up late digital or ~ above the phone, or being woken increase or disturbed by among our precious associated devices. One more common sleep struggle among the French might be just as relatable to you: resting with a pet. I can personally attest to the truth that even a normally lazy cat will certainly wake you increase at least once or twice at night. Follow to this study, an approximated 16% of French human being would agree through me.

As i have thought about sleep in France, I’ve likewise realized that, return France has actually a reputation for gift a location where people live well and also take your time, sleep doesn’t have the important duty that it does in nations like Spain. There is no timeless concept that siesta. The midday break in France is more specialized to savoring a good meal 보다 to sleeping.  

Still, the French, prefer just about any culture, have their own methods of talking around sleep, and these terms and also expressions are valuable to learn. After all, not just is the polite or kind to great someone a an excellent night’s sleep; indigenous the statistics i’ve shared, it’s most likely the French person you’re talk to really needs it!

Here space some ways to talk about sleep in French, starting with just how to great someone a an excellent night. 

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If you desire to wish someone “Good night” in French, your basic choices are really limited. (This said, If you want to gain creative, an web search because that “Comment souhaiter bonne nuit” leads to some exciting results, prefer this list of text messages to send your absent sweetheart.)

Here room the 3 most usual ways to great someone goodnight in French:

1. Bonne nuit  

Bonne nuit literally method “Good night” and also is supplied the same way as in English. It can be stated to anyone, and is the easiest, most basic nighttime farewell.

That said, be certain not to confuse it through Bonne soirée – great evening. When “Good evening” in English is a really formal expression, often linked with old-school vampires, it’s very common in French. Bonne soirée is supplied to finish an night or nighttime conversation v anyone the you’re not straight seeing turn off to bed.  

For example, if ns in a grocery keep late at night, I would certainly wish the cashier Bonne soirée (and lock would do the very same to me) due to the fact that they’re no in front of me in your pajamas, and also I’m not continuing to be at your house and aware the they’re top to your bedroom for the night.

On the other hand, if ns at mine in-laws’ house and we’re all going come our bedrooms to sleep, I would certainly wish lock Bonne nuit.

2. Dors bien

Meaning “sleep well,” dors bien can likewise be supplied in the imperative type with vous: Dormez bien. But this would probably mean you’re talking to multiple people, no that you’re addressing someone in a formal context, since, in most cases at least, this expression has tendency to reflect a certain tenderness and closeness. I could see using it through someone you don’t know very well, however, if you’ve been talking around sleep and also it’s late and you understand they’ll sleep in a couple of hours.

For example, if my baker tells me she’s been having trouble sleeping, and the boulangerie is around to close for the evening, depending on the emotion of the conversation, I might say Dormez bien as I leave. But mostly, it’s supplied with human being close to you, or through someone in a vulnerable instance (someone who is in hospital, a young child, etc.).

3. Fais de beaux rêves

Literally, “Make beautiful dreams,” fais de beaux rêves is the French identical to the English expression “Sweet dreams.”  

I really love exactly how the French version means that the sleeper can produce their own dreams. It’s sort of inspiring, in a way. Of course, whenever I have actually a nightmare or something monster or awkward happen in a dream, I choose it less….

This is another expression the would usually be supplied with someone you’re near with, no in a formal situation. If you used it through vous (Faites de beaux rêves) the would probably be to address multiple people, no in a formal context.

So, basically, two of the three typical ways come say goodnight in French are booked for civilization you’re close with. When in doubt, usage Bonne nuit.

Some other sleep-related French expressions and also vocabulary


Of course, “Goodnight” is just the beginning. What if you desire to talk around how you sleep or slept, what kind of sleeper friend are, or what sort of night friend had? right here are part words and expressions to help with that:

Avoir sommeil

To be tired.

Example : Il a essayé de m’expliquer l’œuvre de Rousseau, mais j’avais trop sommeil pour l’écouter. (Hard as he make the efforts to define Rousseau’s works to me, ns was too exhausted to listen.)

Avoir le sommeil agité/lourd/léger

To it is in a restless/heavy/light sleeper.

Example : Ne t’inquiètes pas si tu together le sommeil agité – j’ai le sommeil lourd, tu ne me réveilleras pas. (Don’t worry if she a restless sleeper – I’m together a heavy sleeper the you won’t wake up me up.)

Bien dormir

To sleep well.

We observed this formerly in the imperative form; you’ll also often hear it in the passé composé, when world are describing exactly how they slept.

For example, J’ai bien dormi (I slept well.)/Je n’ai pas bien dormi. (I no sleep well.) 

Dormir à la belle étoile

To sleep outdoors.

Literally translated, that means, rather charmingly, “to sleep like the beautiful star”. This is even an ext charming if, uneven me, you actually enjoy sleeping outside. Example : Malgré le froid, nous étions components d’avoir dormi à la belle étoile. (Despite the cold, we were happy to have actually slept outside.)

Dormir comme…

To sleep like…

As in English and many other languages, in French, there room a number of fun ways to express the you’ve slept well. here are the most common: 

Examples: Je me sens bien aujourd’hui parce que hier soir j’ai dormi comme une marmotte. (I feel great today because ns slept choose a groundhog./Il y avait de l’orage, mais dans notre petite chambre, nous avons dormi comme des loirs. (There was a storm but in our little room, us were sleeping prefer dormice.)

Dormir debout

To it is in falling sleep standing up.

Example: Je dors debout – je vais aller me coucher. (I’m falling asleep standing up – i’m going to go to bed.) Be cautious not to confuse this with the expression à dormir debout, which means something the is ridiculous and hard to believe.

Dormir d’un sommeil de plomb

To sleep heavily/like a stone.

Plomb is the French word because that lead, so hefty is absolutely the idea here! Example : Après avoir acheté un nouveau matelas, sylvie a dormi d’un sommeil de plomb. (After buying a new mattress, sylvie slept prefer a stone.)

Dormir sous les ponts

To sleep ~ above the streets.

Literally, this means “to sleep under the bridges”, which countless homeless civilization in Paris did in i delivered days, and sometimes quiet do. Example : Depuis qu’il a perdu tout child argent, Jacques dort sous les ponts. (Ever because losing his money, Jacques has slept top top the streets.)

Être crevé(e)

An informal means to say who is fully exhausted, worn out, beat. Example: Je n’en peux plus – je suis crevé ! (I can’t carry out anymore – i’m worn out!). Crever is an interesting word. The essentially way “to burst”, however in unshened language the can denote exhaustion or also death. 

Faire la grasse matinée

To sleep in/sleep late/have a lie-in.

Literally translated, this expression means “to do the fat morning.” Example : Ils ne viendront pas pour le petit-déjeuner au restaurant demain ; ils comptent faire la grasse matinée. (They won’t involved breakfast at the restaurant tomorrow; castle planning to sleep in.)

Faire dodo

A childish method to speak “go come sleep”. Dodo is obtained from the verb dormir. Example: Allez les enfants, c’est l’heure de faire dodo ! (Let’s walk children, it’s time to walk night-night!)

Faire la sieste

To take it a nap.

Examples:  Il a cinq ans mais il fait toujours la sieste. (He’s 5 years old yet he still takes a nap.)/J’ai sommeil – je vais faire une petite sieste. (I’m sleepy – i’m going to take it a tiny nap.)

Un manque de sommeil

A absence of sleep.

This can additionally be used as a expression with the verb manquer.

Example: Selon un sondage, la moitié des Français souffriraient d’un manque de sommeil. (According to a survey, fifty percent the French population is suffering from a lack of sleep.)

Le marchand de sable est passé

The Sandman came by.

In other words, someone/everyone has fallen asleep. For much more on the marchand de sable, view the ar on sleep-related characters.

Métro, boulot, dodo

Essentially, “transport, job, sleep”, this usual expression evokes the day-to-day routine.

Ne dormir que d’un œil

To sleep through one eye open. In various other words, come sleep easy so as to be aware of her surroundings.

Example : Malgré la fatigue, je n’ai dormi que d’un œil. (I slept with one eye open regardless of being tired.)

Un noctambule

A night person/night owl.

Example : Céline se demandait souvent si sa vie serait add to facile si elle n’était pas noctambule. (Céline frequently wondered if her life would certainly be simpler if she no a night person.)

Un oiseau de nuit

Another word because that a night person/night owl, frequently with the implication that this person likes to spend the night at parties and clubs.  

Passer une nuit blanche

To remain up all night (literally, “to spend a white night.”).

This deserve to be a choice: J’ai du mal à me concentrer aujourd’hui ; top top s’est tous retrouvés pour une soirée chez Denis et finalement on y a passé une nuit blanche. (I’m having trouble concentrating today; last night we all obtained together at Denis’s house and also ended up continuing to be up all night.), or it can be involuntary: J’étais tellement inquiète que j’ai passé une nuit blanche.  (I to be so concerned that i couldn’t sleep.)

You might likewise see the expression Nuit Blanche if you in Paris in early on October. Every year around this time, there’s one night wherein a many of different events (mostly concerts and art installations) take ar throughout the city, from dark till dawn. The typically surreal ambiance makes it feel prefer you’re in a dream. 

Piquer un somme

An informal means to say “to take it a nap” (somme is short for sommeil (sleep)).

Example : Nous étions trop crevés après cette nuit blanche, donc nous avons piqué un somme. (We’re to win after continuing to be up every night — let’s go take a nap.)

Qui dort dîne

He/She who sleeps, eats. In various other words, once you sleep, girlfriend don’t feel hunger. 

This expression may seem Hans Christian Andersen-level sad, but I’ve heard it used in non-serious contexts.

For example, as soon as I was a college student in Paris, i rented a room in one elderly French couple’s house. The man frequently dozed in his chair in the evenings. One day, he wake up up and told me jokingly, Qui dort dîne. Comme ca, j’évite de devenir obèse. (He who sleeps, eats. This way, ns won’t get fat.)  


To snore.

Example : Tu ronfles si ft que je peux t’entendre de l’autre bout de la maison ! (You snore so loudly the I can hear you every the way across the house!)

Un/une somnambule

A sleepwalker.

If you call someone a sleepwalker, nothing forget the dominion in French that defining someone in some way way dropping the article: Ne t’inquiète pas si tu entends des pas dans le couloir cette nuit – Charles est somnambule. (Don’t problem if friend hear footsteps in the hallway this evening – Charles is a sleepwalker.)

Sleepy vs sexy: The two most typical sleep-related verb in French — and also a significant faux pas you can make v them


When talking about sleep (le sommeil) in French, you will do it probably have to use one of these verbs:

They can be used interchangeably in plenty of cases however be cautious if you talking around sleeping with someone/something!  

In English, the expression “sleep with” have the right to be completely innocent – because that example, “I sleep through the irradiate on,” or “She sleeps v her teddy bear.” however if the context no clear, it usually takes on a sexual connotation. The exact same is the case for coucher. 

In fact, there room a number of expressions with coucher that imply a person is doing more than sleeping:

Coucher ensemble

Sleep (have intercourse) together.

Example: Tu ne savais pas ? Ils couchent ensemble depuis au moins un an. (You no know? They’ve been resting together because that at least a year.)

Coucher to water réussir

To sleep one’s method to the top.

Example : Je me demande si Jeannette mérite vraiment cette promotion, ou si elle a couché to water réussir. (I wonder if Jeannette yes, really deserves this promotion, or if she is sleeping her way to the top.)

Coucher à droite à gauche

To sleep around.

Example : Thierry semble pudique, mais il couche à droite et à gauche. (Thierry appears prudish, but he sleeps around.)

But coucher no just imply sexual intercourse. There are numerous ways to use this word the don’t indicate that at all. Some typical non-sexy sleep words concerned coucher include:

Example: Si tu es couche-tôt, il vaut mieux ne pas dormir chez Françoise. Elle a un studio et elle est couche-tard. (If you walk to bed early, it’s ideal not to sleep in ~ Francoise’s. She has actually a studio apartment and also is a night owl.)

Un sac de couchage

A sleeping bag.

Apart from these expressions, though, if you want to be particular you’re using coucher in an chaste sense, carry out it as a reflex verb. because that example, Je me couche toujours à 23h. (I constantly go to bed at 11pm.) or Dis donc! Vous vous couchez vachement tard ! (Say, you guys go to bed bloody late!)

But what if you desire to talk around someone sleeping with someone/something in a totally innocent way? In this case, usage dormir avec.  

For example, earlier in this article, I mentioned that i sleep with my cat. To express that in French, I would certainly say Je dors avec mon chat. If i said, Je couche avec mon chat, the police would be in ~ my door, since bestiality is illegal in France!  

Sleep-related French characters

Just around every society has the myths and beliefs around sleep. Choose several the them, French has le marchand de sable (sand vendor – Sandman in English). This is a male who sprinkles sand come make human being (especially children) close their eyes and also fall asleep. The character originated in very early 19th century story by Hoffmann, butt the idea that sand gift in one’s eyes after sleep goes earlier much further.

See more: A Parking Brake System Is Not Required If Your Service Brakes Are Fully Functional.

Although I’ve claimed the French aren’t as sleep-focused as some other societies are, castle are additionally at the beginning of yet an additional famous sleeper: La belle au bois dormant– sleeping Beauty. With roots in middle ages French folktales, the version of her story that we know ideal today has actually its beginnings in a 17th century assimilated by Charles Perrault.

Talking about sleep in French have the right to involve part imaginative and very accurate vocabulary. How carry out you match up v French sleep statistics? have the right to you use several of these words and phrases to explain how friend sleep?