Usually when someone's lying in a prone position with both eyes open, unblinking, they're dead. Well, it's either that or they're sleeping and their eyes are still open for some supernatural reason or because whatever species they are part of sleeps with their eyes open. Creepy, no? A lot of people who discover a character with this ability sleeping think so too.
While there are some people in Real Life
who have trained themselves to sleep with their eyes open, it is bad for your eyes because the lack of blinking causes your eyes to dry up.
Not to be confused with Sleep With One Eye Open
. For someone who dies with eyes opened see Dies Wide Open
Anime & Manga
- The beginning of this commercial featuring an Asian woman going for a world record in keeping her eyes open.
- Misty's Psyduck in the Pokémon did this once, making Misty think he was immune to Jigglypuff's singing. All Pokemon slept this way before Generation V.
- Subverted in City Slickers where the main character thinks this is happening. Turns out, Curly's really dead.
- A bad guy in The Adventures of Tintin sleeps with his eyes open, not out of training, but because he lost his eyelids. In a card game.
- Lampshaded in Major Payne.
- Invoked in Matilda. As Matilda is sneaking into her parent's room, her mother sits up and stares right at Matilda with huge eyes - then after a second, you realize it's an opaque sleep mask with eye designs. By the time she takes it off, Matilda is out of the room.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf sleeps with his eyes completely open.
- In The Lord of the Rings Elves sleep with their eyes open, and Gandalf can sleep with his eyes half-open.
- Wizards in Sword of Truth sleep with their eyes open.
- Being artificially made creatures who only possess features their creator deemed necessary, the "Little People" in The Saga of Darren Shan have no eyelids. Their eyes do become dimmer while sleeping, though.
- Xena: Warrior Princess. In one episode, there was a group of mercenaries who slept not only with their eyes open but also in battle ready stances.
- In an episode of Psych Shawn walked into the chief's office and started talking to her before realizing she was sleeping with her eyes open (her kid had kept her up all night).
- From Supernatural season 1, episode 18:
Old Woman In Hospital Room: Ahhh, nonsense. I was sleeping with my peepers open. And fix that crucifix would ya? I've asked four damn times already!
Sam: *laughs* I was sleeping with my peepers open?
Dean: I almost smoked that old girl, I swear. It's not funny!
Sam: Oh man, you should have seen your face!
- In Greek Mythology, Endymion was granted the ability to sleep with his eyes open so he could keep watch over his lover, Selene.
- Ars Magica supplement Lion of the North: The Loch Leglean Tribunal. The Scottish hare is so alert that it sleeps with its eyes open.
- Dungeons & Dragons, Ravenloft campaign expansion Masque of the Red Death. Dracula sleeps with both eyes open and sees everything that happens around him while he rests.
- Manly Guys Doing Manly Things. Canadian Guy doesn't sleep, he sits in a rowboat in the middle of a pond with a buttonbox concertina and a blank, empty stare. Somehow, this causes a stack of beaver pelts to appear in Commander Badass's office every morning.
- In Slightly Damned Buwaro manages to fall asleep during a staring contest with Kieri, without her noticing.
- In one arc of S.S.D.D it looked like Norman might have OD'ed on something when he was just sitting there on the couch with his eyes wide open after bugging Kingston for sleeping pills. Turned out he was just asleep.
- There was a Disney cartoon where Donald Duck achieves this by reading a book on sleeping with your eyes open.
- Spongebob: Ever alert, Mermaid Man has trained himself to sleep with his eyes open.
- Fish and snakes sleep with their eyes open due to not having eyelids.
- Josef Stalin trained himself to sleep with his eyes open, to make potential assassins think he was awake so they couldn't sneak up on him. This was shown in the Made-for-TV Movie World War II: When Lions Roared