I have always learnt that 'to get out of bed' is 起床, but a book of mine says that two elderly people 从来不下床. Is there a difference between the two or is it just a dialect thing? Also, if you can say 下床, can you say 我上床 to mean 'I am going to bed'?

  • see dictionaries, e.g.bkrs:下床:下床离开床铺。#15634 如:「医生吩咐她必须卧床静养,不宜随便下床。」 get out of bed get up (from bed)同义: 起床, 起身, 起来, 起五更,他好多了,能下床了。(he already is much better and can get out of bed) cf.下车/飞机,下楼梯,
    – user6065
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 21:17

2 Answers 2


Alright, to me, 起床 means the end of sleep and getting up. 下床 means the opposite of being on the bed, as in your example, two elderly people 从来不下床 may mean that they have health problems so they have to be lying on the bed, but they may not be asleep when they are on the bed.

上床 can be used to refer to the action of going to bed, like 我一般晚上 11 点钟上床。(I usually go to bed at 11 pm.) Also 上床 is the common saying of having sex.

  • It is correct, 起床 mean 'wake up and get out of bed' 下床 only mean 'get out of bed' The opposite of 起床 is 就寑 (get on the bed to sleep)
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 21:54
  • I agree. 起床 means get up. It might not suggest that the person got off or out of the bed and he might still be sitting on the bed awake.
    – dan
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 0:01
  • Isn't 醒来 also used?
    – Blaszard
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 3:54
  • 1
    @Blaszard Yes you can say 醒来 but 醒来 emphasizes the state transition from being asleep to being awake. Instead if you say 起床 people would think that you are already out of bed.
    – pjhades
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 13:43

上床 generally means that you have moved to bed, but not necessarily to sleep. You can read books and other activities in bed. For example: 我上床去睡觉。 下床 is you leave the bed, first, there is a temporary departure and will come back within a short time; second, the location of the move, for example, you just read in bed, and now get out of bed to the sofa to read a book. For example: 我下床穿衣服。 And 起床 often is used to represent a series of actions that awaken from sleep. The coherent behavior of sleeping from bed, sleeping and opening your eyes, sitting up, getting out of bed, and washing yourselves can all be called up. For example: 我起床去工作了。

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.