As anyone will tell you, sleep is awesome.
But is it a learning opportunity?
If you do it the right way, it just might be!
Improving your Spanish daily can be a challenge for any learner. Sometimes, it’s hard to fit in as much studying as you’d like.
But when you need to acquire common, everyday vocabulary, sometimes the only option seems like hours of intense studying.
If you’re looking to learn Spanish vocabulary in no time, you’ll need a special plan. And there’s one special and surprising way to learn vocabulary which also saves you both time and energy: sleeping.
Yes, one recent study suggests that listening to audio in your sleep might actually aid in vocabulary acquisition. Before you say “that sounds like the stuff of pseudoscience,” let me point out that this study is a legit research-based study and not just some quack with a cool marketing plan.
Before you get too excited, though, it’s important to note that merely listening to audio in your sleep is unlikely to help you learn Spanish or any other language from scratch. Simply put, the study suggests that participants who were exposed to words and then listened to those words in their sleep were more likely to remember those words.
So while listening in your sleep is unlikely to skyrocket you to fluency, it might give you that extra edge you need to remember the vocabulary words you’ve already studied. Therefore, learning Spanish in your sleep can be a helpful way to supplement your Spanish education.
So check out these resources that could help you improve your vocabulary while you catch some Zs.
Why Learn Spanish While You Sleep?
Listening to Spanish vocabulary in your sleep can save time. Since listening in your sleep can improve your retention of vocabulary words, this can cut down on the time it takes you to study while awake.
Learning Spanish while you sleep can also save energy. It can make learning the words a little easier, so you won’t have to put in quite as much work.
Plus, learning Spanish in your sleep requires no effort. You don’t have to try to learn—all you have to do is play audio while you sleep. And if in the end it doesn’t work for you, no worries; you haven’t put in any effort, so you won’t feel bad!
9 Great Resources to Turn Your Sleep Time Into Spanish Learning Time
In theory, you can use practically any audio resource to learn in your sleep. Try playing some of FluentU’s authentic videos (like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspirational talks) while you sleep. Then, watch them again when you’re awake with the benefit of interactive subtitles and flashcards for maximum learning power!
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—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:
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.
Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
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.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and recommends examples and videos for you based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re studying with the same video.
This YouTube channel offers videos on a number of different topics including French, English, the periodic table, times tables and capital cities. And, of course, the highlight of the collection is Sleep Learning’s Spanish videos.
While Sleep Learning’s Spanish playlist only has four videos, the videos offer a total of 19 hours of learning—that should be enough for even the most devoted sleeper!
The videos cover common, useful Spanish phrases. For each phrase, the speaker first introduces the English phrase. Then, the speaker repeats the Spanish phrase three times. Pauses between phrases keep them from running together.
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.
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.
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.
Spanish Head Start is an app designed to be listened to while asleep or awake.
One particularly unique feature of this app is that you can set how long you want it to play for. This way, you can decide whether you want to listen to it for a few minutes while you fall asleep or a few hours while you sleep.
The Spanish Head Start app is free to download from Google Play.
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.
The app is available to download for $6.95 from iTunes.
Sleepy Spanish encourages you to study for just three minutes a day and then learn the material by listening to it again while your sleep.
The material is broken down into lessons, and the lessons are grouped thematically. Exams along the way allow you to test your learning.
You can download the app from iTunes for $1.99.
While it’s not designed to help you learn Spanish in your sleep, “Spanish Vocabulary Builder+” is a good option for aspiring sleep learners.
This CD set introduces a whopping 1000 words in just four hours, so you’ll have lots of exposure to useful vocabulary. Since some of the material assumes you already have some basic knowledge, the set is best for intermediate and advanced Spanish students.
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).
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.
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!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.