A woman sleeping next to her dog.

How You Can Learn Spanish While You Sleep

If only you could learn Spanish in your sleep. It would save so much time, right?

Well, one study suggests that listening to Spanish audio in your sleep might actually aid in vocabulary acquisition and retention.

It’s important to note that while you’re unlikely to learn Spanish from scratch in your sleep, you may be able to retain vocabulary better if you study it in a traditional way and then reinforce that with sleep learning.

So check out these eight resources that could help you improve your vocabulary while you catch some Zs. And then catch up on the latest research on sleep learning.

Contents


Key Resources for Learning Spanish in Your Sleep

1. Learn While You Sleep

Resource type: YouTube

Learn While You Sleep is dedicated to helping you learn Spanish. They offer Spanish flashcards along with some helpful sleep learning videos that focus on common words and phrases. There are two main types of sleep learning videos.

The first type comes from a CD and includes captioning of the words and phrases. This is a helpful tool for studying the video before you sleep. The speakers say the word or phrase once in English and then once in Spanish. Peaceful music plays between the words and phrases.

In the second type of video, the words and phrases are very spaced out. Each video has an audio background, and most videos are available with your choice of thunderstorms or white noise. You’ll hear more of the background noises than the actual Spanish, but this is a good option for people who like to sleep to background noise and want to reinforce a handful of common Spanish words or phrases.

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I tried this one night and actually found it quite relaxing and as I was falling asleep, I was able to remember a few words that I’d forgotten.

2. Master Subliminal

Resource type: YouTube

Master Subliminal focuses on subliminal learning and offers topics like positive affirmations, times tables, Italian vocabulary and—of course—Spanish vocabulary.

In addition to more general videos, Master Subliminal offers a number of videos that cover Spanish verbs and their conjugations. The speaker introduces words and phrases in Spanish before translating them into English. The videos are more fast-paced than most other videos, so you’ll be exposed to a large selection of words and phrases whenever you listen.

Master Subliminal also provides a nice selection of accompanying sounds including music, rain and ocean sounds. This way, you can select whatever sounds you think will help you sleep.

Again, I found this app very relaxing. The positive affirmations were particularly calming at bedtime.

3. Vocabuflash

Resource type: YouTube

While Vocabuflash is not designed to be used in your sleep, it’s still a strong option for sleep listening. In general, Vocabuflash aims to help Spanish speakers learn English and to help English speakers learn Spanish. However, Vocabuflash’s Spanish vocabulary playlist is also helpful for sleep listening.

Their vocabulary videos are thematic so you can easily pick and choose which sets of vocabulary you want to work on. The audio is exclusively in Spanish, but the videos themselves show the Spanish and English words written out. Because of this, you should study the words ahead of time to help make your sleep listening session more effective.

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Since this app isn’t specifically designed for sleeping, for me, it worked slightly less well than the others. This could be because there wasn’t any calming music.

4. Real World Spanish Lessons

Resource type: YouTube

Real World Spanish Lesson’s foray into sleep learning features 60 useful Spanish phrases that’s meant to be left on while you sleep.

It starts with real basics like hola (hello) and goes on from there. The video has relaxing music and the voice is quite soft, too, which makes it a good option. Each phrase is repeated multiple times in different tones and pitches, so you can hear the different pronunciation variations of each word.

Since the phrases are basic and the video lasts six hours, this could be a good one to put on the night before a trip to a Spanish-speaking country or region.

Although the vocabulary in this video is basic, I found it effective. Was I learning in my sleep? I’m not totally sure.

5. SpanishPod101

Resource type: YouTube

SpanishPod101’s “200 Words While Sleeping” video follows a similar format to the others. At about four and a half hours in length, it’s good to put on when you go to bed, but it will be over well before you wake up, so you’ll have some uninterrupted sleep time, too.

The video’s format works like this: over a base of relaxing music, a man reads each word in English and then a woman gives the Spanish equivalent. 

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6. Learn Spanish World

Resource type: YouTube

In Learn Spanish World’s sleep learning video, useful ready-made phrases are featured first, such as cuenta conmigo (count on me), en serio? (seriously?) and voy en camino (I’m on my way). Then the video moves on to common words, repeating them in a soft and relaxing tone after the English versions.

The background to this video is a soft rain sound, which is a sound I happen to love when falling asleep.

7. Learn Spanish: Sleep Learning System

Resource type: iOS app

This app developed by a certified hypnotist focuses on helping you learn Spanish through “guided meditation.” It’s intended to help “open the language center of your mind.” While reviewers note that it contains no actual Spanish, it might be useful and/or motivational for learners.

Since this app doesn’t actually teach Spanish words, I found it less helpful than some of the videos. But as a relaxing bedtime app, it was very calming and I ended up using it every day for a week.

The app is available to download for $6.95 from iTunes.

8. “Learn in Your Car Spanish: The Complete Language Course”

Resource type: CD

Learn in Your Car Spanish Complete Language Course (Spanish and English Edition)

While the title references learning in your car, please do not take this as a suggestion to learn Spanish while sleeping while driving! Even though this CD is intended for people to use in the car, it’s also a good option for people to use while sleeping (preferably in a bed).

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The set offers nine hours of audio on nine CDs. The vocabulary grows increasingly more advanced, so it’s appropriate for beginning through advanced students.

You should also study the accompanying booklet ahead of time to increase your learning.

The Science Behind Learning Spanish While You Sleep

It may sound crazy, but there is research to support the idea that you can learn Spanish (or any language) while you sleep. Learning while sleeping, known as hypnopaedia in the research world, is gaining popularity lately. After a long period of being out of fashion, scientists are taking a new look at sleep learning possibilities.

New evidence suggests that we can indeed learn while we sleep, although it’s good to keep in mind that there are plenty of other studies who debunk this method and some other studies that say learning while you sleep degrades your sleep quality overall.

Researchers from Switzerland’s University of Bern have found that people are able to learn new words during deep levels of sleep. The results of this study recently appeared in the publication Current Biology.

They say it works best as a supplementary learning method though, and there’s no proof that anyone has ever learned an entire language through sleep learning. 

So where do you begin? In theory, you could use any audio resource to study Spanish while you sleep.

For example, you can tap into FluentU’s library of authentic video clips on either the website or app.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

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First, sit down and use all the interactive features, like personalized vocabulary lists and flashcards. Then, play the videos you watched while you sleep to reinforce your learning.

For more into the research behind sleep learning, check out this handy video:

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So go ahead and take a nap break. You deserve it. Plus, if you use these helpful resources, your vocabulary may even improve as a result. It’s worth a try, right?

And One More Thing…

If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Spanish with engaging material and will then love FluentU.

Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.

FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:

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FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.

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Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.

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Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

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The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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