Mastering Nighttime Phrases: How to Say Go to Sleep in Japanese

Have you ever wondered how to say “go to sleep” in Japanese? Whether you’re planning a trip to Japan or simply studying the language, understanding the various phrases and expressions related to sleep is essential. In this article, we’ll explore the Japanese translation for go to sleep, the different Japanese phrases for go to sleep, the Japanese word for sleep, the Japanese equivalent for go to bed, and the Japanese saying for getting ready for sleep.

By mastering these nighttime phrases and understanding the cultural context behind them, you’ll be able to communicate like a local and appreciate the significance of sleep in Japanese society. Let’s dive in!

In this section, we will explore the various ways to express the phrase “go to sleep” in Japanese. By understanding the nuances and cultural context, you’ll be able to communicate like a local in no time. So, let’s get started with the basic phrase for “go to sleep” in Japanese.

The most common translation for “go to sleep” in Japanese is “Neru” (寝る), which directly means “sleep.” However, there are other words and phrases that can be used depending on the situation and level of formality. We’ll explore these different phrases in the following sections.

Understanding the Basic Phrase

When it comes to expressing “go to sleep” in Japanese, the most basic and common translation is “Neru” (寝る), which directly means “sleep.” This phrase can be used in various contexts, from casual conversations with friends and family to more formal situations at work or school.

It’s essential to note that Japanese language is a context-based language, and the choice of words depends on the speaker’s relationship with the listener, the setting, and the level of formality required. Therefore, using “Neru” alone may not always be suitable in all situations.

For example, when addressing someone of higher status, it may be more appropriate to use the polite expression “Oyasumi nasai” (おやすみなさい). This phrase can be used to wish someone a good night’s sleep and is commonly used in polite contexts.

If you’re unsure which phrase to use, start with “Neru” and adjust according to the situation as you become more familiar with the language.

To sum up, “Neru” is the basic phrase for “go to sleep” in Japanese. However, depending on the situation, you may need to use other phrases like “Oyasumi nasai” to convey politeness and respect.

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Example Usage:

Situation Phrase
Casual Setting “Neru” (寝る)
Polite Setting “Oyasumi nasai” (おやすみなさい)

Polite Expressions for Going to Sleep

In Japanese culture, it’s important to use polite expressions when addressing someone of higher status or in formal settings. There are specific phrases you can use to convey the message of “going to sleep” in a polite manner.

Japanese Phrases English Translation
“Oyasumi nasai” (おやすみなさい) “Goodnight” or “Sweet dreams”
“Shitsurei shimasu” (失礼します) “Excuse me for leaving” or “I will take my leave now”

Using these phrases indicates a level of respect and consideration for the other person. It’s important to note that these polite expressions are not used in casual settings and with friends or family members.


If you’re staying at a traditional Japanese ryokan, you might hear the staff use the phrase “Oyasumi nasai” (おやすみなさい) when you retire for the night. This is a polite way of wishing you a good night’s rest.

Common Phrases for Preparing to Sleep

Aside from the basic phrase “go to sleep” in Japanese, there are other Japanese words and phrases related to sleep and preparing for bedtime that you should know.

The Japanese word for sleep is “Nemuri” (眠り), and you can use it to express that you want to sleep. For example, you can say “Nemuri ni shimasu” (眠りにします) which means “I will go to sleep.”

If you want to say “go to bed” in Japanese, you can use the phrase “Shinro ni iku” (寝床に行く). However, it’s more common to use the phrase “Nemuri ni ikimasu” (眠りに行きます) which means “I am going to sleep.”

When getting ready for sleep, you might want to use the phrase “Nemurou” (眠ろう) which is similar to saying “let’s sleep” in English. You can also use “Shuumatsu wo yasumu” (週末を休む) which means “rest on the weekend” or “take a break on the weekend” to indicate that you’re going to sleep.

Finally, if you’re feeling sleepy, you can use the Japanese word “Nemui” (眠い) which means “sleepy.” For example, you can say “Nemui desu” (眠いです) to express that you’re feeling sleepy or tired.

Cultural Significance of Sleep in Japan

In Japan, sleep is considered an essential aspect of health and well-being. The average Japanese person sleeps for 7 hours and 24 minutes, according to a recent survey. This is more than the average amount of sleep recorded in Western countries.

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Sleep is not only seen as crucial for physical health but also for mental and emotional health. In Japanese culture, it’s believed that sleep helps to restore and rejuvenate the body, improve memory, and increase mental sharpness.

Sleep Hygiene

The importance of sleep hygiene is emphasized in Japanese culture. Sleep hygiene refers to a set of practices that promote good sleep quality and quantity. Some of these practices include avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, ensuring a comfortable sleep environment, and establishing a consistent sleep schedule.

Sleep hygiene is taught in schools and workplaces, and many Japanese companies offer nap rooms to their employees to promote better productivity. Sleep-related practices are also commonly incorporated into traditional Japanese customs and rituals. For instance, taking a hot bath before bedtime is a popular practice that helps to relax and prepare for sleep.

Significance in Daily Life

Sleep is integral to daily life in Japan, and it’s not uncommon to hear people discussing their sleep habits and experiences. The traditional Japanese concept of “inemuri,” which means “sleeping while present,” is also socially accepted in some situations. Inemuri involves dozing off during meetings or lectures, and it’s seen as a sign of dedication and hard work.

In some cases, a person who is sleep-deprived may be perceived as lacking dedication or even disrespectful. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize sleep and establish healthy sleep habits to ensure optimal performance and social acceptance.


Q: What is the basic phrase for “go to sleep” in Japanese?

A: The most common translation is “Neru” (寝る), which directly means “sleep.”

Q: Are there other words and phrases for “go to sleep” in Japanese?

A: Yes, depending on the situation and level of formality, other words and phrases can be used.

Q: What are some polite expressions for going to sleep in Japanese?

A: Some commonly used phrases in polite settings are “Oyasumi nasai” (おやすみなさい) and “Shitsurei shimasu” (失礼します).

Q: Are there other sleep-related phrases in Japanese?

A: Yes, apart from “go to sleep,” there are words like “Nemui” (眠い) meaning “sleepy” and phrases like “Nemurou” (眠ろう) meaning “let’s sleep.”

Q: What is the cultural significance of sleep in Japan?

A: Sleep holds cultural importance in Japan, and there are various customs and practices associated with it.

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