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How To Say "To Wake Up" In Spanish

If you are traveling to a Spanish-speaking country, one of the most useful phrases to know is how to say "wake up" in Spanish. Knowing how to communicate this basic need will help you start your day off on the right foot, and avoid any misunderstandings with your hosts or hotel staff. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about how to say "wake up" in Spanish, including its meaning, translations, and regional differences.

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What is "Wake Up" in Spanish?

"Wake up" in Spanish is "despertarse" (IPA: /desperˈtaɾse/). It is important to note that "despertarse" is a reflexive verb, which means that it requires a reflexive pronoun before the verb. For example, "I wake up" would be "me despierto" in Spanish.

Meaning of "Wake Up" in Spanish

The meaning of "wake up" in Spanish is the same as in English: to stop sleeping and become conscious. However, there are some nuances to the term that may vary depending on the region or context. For example, in some Spanish-speaking countries, "despertarse" may be used to refer specifically to waking up from a nap, while in others it may refer to waking up in the morning.

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Translating “Wake Up” to Spanish

Here are some different ways to express the concept of “wake up” in Spanish:

  • Despertar (IPA: /desperˈtaɾ/): As mentioned earlier, this is the most common verb to express “wake up” in Spanish. It can be used in a variety of contexts, and it is the one that most Spanish-speaking people would use.
  • Levantarse (IPA: /leβanˈtaɾse/): This verb is another way to say “wake up” in Spanish. It is often used when referring to getting out of bed or physically standing up. For example: “Me levanto a las 6 am todos los días” means “I wake up at 6 am every day”.
  • Abrir los ojos (IPA: /aˈbɾiɾ los ˈoxos/): This expression literally means “open the eyes” and can be used to indicate waking up from sleep. For example: “Abre los ojos, el sol ya salió” means “open your eyes, the sun is up”.
  • Despertarse de un sueño (IPA: /desperˈtaɾse de un ˈsweɲo/): This phrase means “wake up from a dream” and is used to indicate that someone was dreaming and then woke up. For instance: “Me desperté de un sueño muy extraño” means “I woke up from a very strange dream”.
  • Recuperar la conciencia (IPA: /rekupeˈɾaɾ la konˈsjensja/): This expression means “to regain consciousness” and is used in medical contexts to indicate that someone woke up after being unconscious. For example: “El paciente recuperó la conciencia después de la cirugía” means “the patient regained consciousness after the surgery”.

Regional Differences

As mentioned earlier, there may be some regional differences in the use of "despertarse" and its variations. For example:

  • In Mexico, it is common to use "despertar" instead of "despertarse". So, "I wake up" would be "me despierto" in most Spanish-speaking countries, but "despierto" in Mexico.
  • In some Spanish-speaking countries, such as Argentina, "despertar" is only used in the context of waking someone else up. So, "I wake up" would always be "me despierto" in these countries.
  • In Spain, it is common to use the verb "levantarse" instead of "despertarse". So, "I wake up" would be "me levanto" in Spain. 

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How to Say "Wake Up" in Spanish: Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences you can use to say "wake up" in Spanish:

  • Me despierto temprano todos los días.

(I wake up early every day.)

  • Quiero que me despiertes mañana a las 7 am.

(I want you to wake me up tomorrow at 7 am.)

  • ¿Te cuesta despertarte los lunes?

(Do you find it hard to wake up on Mondays?)

  • Si no me despierto a tiempo, llegaré tarde al trabajo.

(If I don't wake up on time, I will be late for work.)

  • El ruido de la alarma me despertó.

(The sound of the alarm woke me up.)


Learning how to say "wake up" in Spanish is a basic but essential part of any traveler's vocabulary. While "despertarse" is the most common translation, it is important to be aware of regional differences and other possible variations. With the sample sentences provided in this article, you will be able to practice your Spanish skills and communicate your needs effectively during your travels.

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