Exploring the German verb SCHLAFEN and its variations

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We’ve gone to bed and then couldn’t sleep. What to do? Well, next time you can’t sleep, you could watch this German Sesame Street video and see what Ernie did to try and get to sleep …

Or you can read this blog post to find out more about German sleep words 😉

The German verb for to sleep is schlafen, which you conjugate like this

  • ich schlafe
  • du schläfst
  • er/ sie/ es schläft
  • wir schlafen
  • ihr schlaft
  • sie/ Sie schlafen

If you want to use it in the past tense, you say ‘ich habe geschlafen‘ in the perfect tense and ‘ich schlief‘ in the imperfect tense.

This you probably already knew anyway. But did you know all the following verbs?

  • ausschlafen – to sleep in/ have a lie-in
  • durchschlafen – to sleep through the night
  • einschlafen – to go to sleep/ fall asleep
  • verschlafen – to oversleep
  • sich hochschlafen – to sleep one’s way up to the top

Then there are these

  • tief schlafen – to sleep soundly
  • unruhig schlafen – to sleep
  • wie ein Baby schlafen – to sleep like a baby
  • länger schlafen – to sleep in (can be used instead of ausschlafen)
  • mit jemandem schlafen – can just mean to sleep with somebody, but most likely means to make love to somebody
  • schlecht schlafen – to sleep poorly
  • nur mit einem Auge schlafen – to sleep with one eye open
  • bis in die Puppen schlafen – to sleep till all hours
  • schlafen wie ein Murmeltier – to sleep like a log

How do you sleep? Can you say it in German?

If you still can’t sleep you might like this song: Ich kann nicht schlafen

If you want to know more about German verb conjugation in the present tense, check out my online course German tenses 1 – the present tense, although I do suggest you are awake for that 😉

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