Woodstock's back must be really limber.
Showing a character's sleeping habits can tell the audience a lot about their character. Often an indication that a character is a bit off is if they have Bad Dreams
, or in some cases, don't sleep at all
And then there are characters who sleep in strange places. Showing a character who habitually sleeps in a place other than a bed may serve to indicate that the character in question has a few odd personality traits
, or that they're not altogether there mentally, or that they're just not used to sleeping in a bed for whatever reason. It can also be used to show that a character is not human, and therefore it might be perfectly normal for members of their species not to sleep in a bed. The main point is that the trope is used to set the character apart in some way, or to indicate something specific about their character.
A very common version of this is characters who are used to discomfort or hardship - homeless people finding a shelter somewhere in a city, outdoorsmen camping in the wild, front-line soldiers in forward camps or berths not entirely designed for humans - who are offered a bed in the lap of luxury, but find it impossible to sleep in.
If a character doesn't sleep in a bed because there isn't one available, it's not this trope. There Is Only One Bed
is when a character gives up the bed out of necessity or a sense of honor.
Anime and Manga
- In Appleseed, Deunan sleeps on the floor instead of the bed after being taken from the wasteland into Olympus. She's spent the last few years roughing it in a battlezone environment, so curling up into a corner for rest is the only thing she was used to.
- Similarly, Sousuke Sagara of Full Metal Panic! makes a habit of sleeping under his bed, as a manifestation of the paranoia he carries over from his years as a Child Soldier. And, considering the extremely limited space and the decided uncomfortable-ness of the area in question, sleeping there tends to noticeably deter any of his many admirers from trying to cop a feel on him while he's asleep.
- In Strike Witches, Francesca Luccini often sleeps in high, perched, narrow structures like tree branches and beam girders, possibly reflecting her Cat Girl nature.
- Roronoa Zoro of One Piece tends to sleep on the deck of the Straw Hat's pirate ship whenever possible... even in the middle of devastating storms. He's also been known to take naps in snow drifts while half-naked.
- THE iDOLM@STER - Miki can sleep most anywhere, this includes the trunk of a van, two or three foldable chairs, and even while Haruka is piggybacking her in the Live For You OVA.
- Claymores only bother to sleep every few days, but Theresa of the Faint Smile was seen as unable to even rest in the best room of a local inn until she planted her BFS into the floor and sat to lean against it.
- Coyote Starrk sleeps on a green beanbag chair. If an omake is to believed, Lilynette can sleep on top of Starrk.
- Rukia prefers to sleep in Ichigo's closet, because it was the only appropriate space available when she "moved in". When she returns on a more formal mission, she makes herself pass as a New Transfer Student to Ichigo's family and they agree to have her move into Karin and Yuzu's room. Though she didn't fool Isshin; as a former Shinigami, he had sensed her presence from the start but decided not to say anything.
- Likewise, Ren from DearS sleeps in Takeya's closet because she thought that it was the space that he appointed for her to sleep in. It wasn't, as he didn't even want her to live with him in the first place, but she does anyway and makes it her happy home.
- In A Certain Magical Index, Touma usually sleeps in his bathtub. It's uncomfortable but necessary because his roommate Index tends to sleepwalk and bite him.
- In the most recent movie adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantes is shown to sleep on the floor instead of in a bed after being imprisoned for so long.
- In the 1980s Batman movie, Bruce Wayne is briefly shown sleeping hanging upside down from his rack. This is never mentioned again.
- In the Daredevil film, the title hero is shown to sleep in a sensory deprivation tank because his Super Senses prevent him getting to sleep.
- Cast Away. Tom Hanks sleeps on the ground, because of course there's no beds on a deserted island.
- Munich. After planting a bomb in a terrorist's bed, one of the protagonists can only sleep in a cupboard.
- In Aliens, during the dropship transit from the Sulaco to LV-426, Cpl. Hicks falls asleep in his restraint harness. Sgt. Apone even says as they're about to start landing, "[...] and someone wake up Hicks!"
- After spending months hiding from the aliens in the colony's ventilation ducts, Newt is only able to sleep by crawling under a bed.
- In the Abbott and Costello film Buck Privates Come Home, Herbie finds it too hot to sleep inside the apartment, he rigs up a makeshift hammock on the clothes line that runs between the buildings.
- Apparently, somebody likes to sleep in an Art Gallery in the film adaptation of Madeline.
- The protagonist of I Am Legend sleeps in a bathtub, perhaps because it's easy to clean (you can't leave out the laundry easily with flesh-eating zombies running around).
- In the Discworld novel Wyrd Sisters, one of the late King of Lancre's servants unexpectedly finds himself the new king. A later novel reveals that he sleeps on the floor just inside the door of his bedchamber instead of in his bed, because he's always slept on the floor, usually the floor just outside his master's door — and now that he's king, the kingdom is his master.
- In one Ghosts of Fear Street book the protagonist is bitten by a vampire and, naturally, gains more vampiric symptoms as time goes on. This includes going to sleep one night and being surprised to wake up hanging upside-down inside his closet.
- In the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue of Big Trouble, it's revealed that Puggy was hired as a handyman for Elliot and Anna, and moved in with Nina. Every so often though, the two would spend the night in the tree house Puggy used to secretly live in. According to the narrator, they did this for old time's sake.
- In Eva Luna, Eva Luna's "grandmother" Elvira purchased a coffin since she was scared of dying and then being tossed into a common hole. She then took to sleeping in the coffin itself, freaking out the maid of the house. This saves her life years later, as the capital gets horribly flooded while she was sleeping and the coffin was so well-built that it didn't let the water get in, saving her from drowning. When they opened it, Elvira was still asleep; this got caught in the news, and the now adult Eva is soon happily reunited with her "grandmother".
- Laharl from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness sleeps in a coffin, despite not being a vampire.
- Gravelord Nito from Dark Souls sleeps his days away in a coffin, overseeing death. Siegmeyer can fall asleep anywhere. This includes volcanic lava filled ruins, and while standing in a deathly poisonous swamp.
- Quite possibly the most disturbing exmple, is Fire Emblem's Jaffar, As Legault says at the end of their first support conversation; "There were countless corpses stacked one on top of the other... And there, atop of the bodies, they found a lone infant sleeping... You. You are death incarnate. You feel nothing, fear nothing, desire nothing... You kill. Nothing more. Angel of Death... The perfect name."
- Skies of Arcadia: The party's first Cool Airship is called the Little Jack and owned by a crusty old sailor named Drachma. While he's nice enough to convert a storeroom into a bedroom for the girls, main character Vyse gets stuck with a hammock slung up in the engine room. Granted, he doesn't seem to mind too much aside from a few complaints about the noise.
- Clorica is the queen of this trope. Sleeping while standing is normal for her, and she sleeps ridiculously often. Heck, her intro scene is of her sleeping while standing next to your bedside, and she's often asleep while she's supposed to serve as your wakeup call.
- Futurama: Bender, and by extension, all robots, prefer to sleep standing up in a room small enough to be a closet.
- Similar to the The Addams Family above, Misery in Ruby Gloom sleeps on a bed of spikes. Anybody else who sits on her bed will usually have a pillow to sit on, too.
- Mike Chilton from Motorcity sleeps on the hood of his car.
- Thomas Edison kept a mattress in the closet in his lab. He was almost totally deaf, so the noise from people working didn't bother him.
- A Chinese ruler slept on a wooden bedframe and kept a piece of bitter gall hanging near it to lick, so as not to forget the hardships he went through as the prisoner of an enemy state.
- There's a man (possibly featured on Ripley's Believe It or Not) who had a medical condition that required him to never lie down. Therefore he made a box he could sleep in while sitting. He did get over the condition, but by that time had found his box so comfortable that he kept using it.
- Actress Sarah Bernhardt often slept in a coffin.
- Toddlers might spontaneously decide to take a nap in odd places, not yet grasping that they're not supposed to.
- Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, slept in a chair; his head was so heavy that if he slept lying down, his throat would close off and he would suffocate. It is believed by many that his death, caused when he did just that, was his committing suicide.
- If you've ever stuffed a hotel room before, there's a chance someone's slept in the closet or even in the bathtub. In the case of the latter, woe befall anyone needing to take a shower or even just conduct their bathroom routine.