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Asleep in Class

The only thing worse than waking up and having to go to school is waking up and being in school.

High school and college students in fiction have pretty challenging lives, which can at times wreak havoc on their sleeping schedule. Whether they were up all night angsting about how to approach their first crush, spending all their free time in grueling training to fight the Big Bad, or simply having one too many panicked cram sessions the night before the exam, these characters will be forced to go to class the next day with little or no sleep. This often leads to them unintentionally catching up on their rest in the middle of class.

This is a common staple of school-related comedies, with the event often leading to the public embarrassment of the character in question. Offending students, if caught, will surely draw the ire of their teacher, which usually leads to the student being awakened by a stern chewing out or by having class supplies thrown at them. Sometimes the sleeper will become a victim of Face Doodling at the hands of their classmates. Alternatively, they may give away the fact that they were asleep with a Waking Non Sequitur.

In more serious stories this might be an indicator that the student is having trouble at home, whether due to abuse, being forced to take a job to help support the family, or some other reason. While it is less likely to be Played for Laughs in these kinds of stories, it can sometimes be used for comic relief.

A common consequence of being a teenage Triple Shifter. Characters who repeatedly fall Asleep In Class (and other places) are Sleepy Heads. Not to be confused with Sleep Learning, which is the practice of trying to absorb knowledge while asleep or hypnotized. Naturally, teenagers can often feel the need for sleep enough to doze off in a class that may seem boring and meaningless, so this trope is Truth in Television.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

     Anime & Manga 
  • Ayanes High Kick: Ayane Mitsui is caught snoring and drooling on her books when her teacher calls on her to answer a question after she exhausted herself in kick-boxing training the night before. The next scene reveals that it earned her the standard anime "Hallway Water Bucket" punishment.
  • In the second novel of Full Metal Panic!, Sousuke falls asleep with his eyes open after having spent the night dealing with a Humongous Mecha rampaging through Tokyo.
  • Happens a lot in Azumanga Daioh. At one point Kagura attempts to wake Kaorin up by poking her with a pencil, only to stab her in the back of the head when she wakes up with a start.
    • Osaka is infamous for this. (One of her Image Songs are about her sleeping in class.) She even falls asleep in the opening! Yukari is not happy about it.
      • Yukari herself is just as guilty of it as Osaka!
  • In Strawberry Marshmallow, Ana falls asleep, and when the teacher goes to wake her, Matsuri protests that they should let her sleep. In another classroom, Jerkass boke Cloudcuckoolander Miu falls asleep, and the teacher asks Chika not to wake her.
  • Bakuman。: Mashiro falls asleep in class after doing several all-nighters in a row to get a story drawn. Notably, he does this deliberately, rather than accidentally nodding off.
    • On one occasion, he does this accidentally during a midterm after spending the night practicing using a pen, resulting in him reacting in shock.
    Mashiro: Sigh... I bet Azuki and the others thought I must have studied real hard for the exam... They're going to think I'm an absolute idiot once they find out I completely failed it.
  • Motoko falls asleep during a test in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time because she had been jumping through time so much her body-clock was messed up.
  • Kekkaishi: Yoshimori has monster-fighting duties every night, so he sleeps in class (and naps on the roof during breaks) practically every day.
  • Ichigo Momomiya of Tokyo Mew Mew constantly falls asleep in class though this is justified considering that it happens after she is injected with cat DNA and starts adopting the typical behavior of her furry, feline friends.
  • Angel Densetsu has a chapter where Kitano comes to school exhausted and sleepy, and his strange efforts to stay awake make him seem scarier to his classmates.
  • Yonekuni in Love Pistols tends to do this most of the year; justified because of his reptile-like body temperature system.
  • Judai (Jaden) of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX tends to sleep through Satou's (Professor Stein's) classes, causing the teacher to resent his influence over the other students. (Though to be fair, Judai sleeps through everyone's classes…Satou was just the only one who got upset about it.)
  • Kiba wakes up from sleeping in class in one flashback in Naruto from hearing the rest of the class laughing at Naruto's failed attempts to transform into the Third Hokage.
    • Shikamaru is notorious for sleeping in class, even to the point of sleeping through his exams. Despite being a genius, his grades suffered because of this.
  • Code Geass: Kallen embarrasses herself by falling asleep and waking up shouting "The Black Knights!" when the teacher calls on her. Afterwards, Rivalz suggests that she take lessons from Lelouch, who he calls a pro at sleeping through class. It's implied that he's been doing this for some time, both due to his late-night chess gambling and because class bores him out of his mind.
  • Ranma ˝: Ranma and Akane have both had their moments of falling asleep during class. Fanon tends to portray Ranma as a big-time user of this trope. Probably because he's smart but Book Dumb.
  • A dramatic example in Shokojo Sera: Sara is exhausted by her hard work and the cold weather and she falls asleep in front of the fire when she's supposed to be cleaning the classroom. She is rudely awakened and berated by Lavinia and her friends, and after a small accident with Caesar the cat, she is sent out in the rain, falls prey to a Wounded Gazelle Gambit, and falls seriously ill.
  • Sakura no Ichiban!: Asami falls asleep during a lesson in chapter five due to engaging in a fight with Jack the Ripper at midnight in the previous chapter.
  • Akko, the main heroine of Little Witch Academia does this early on, prompting the teacher to use a spell to slam her head into a book.
  • Happens to Miaka in Fushigi Yuugi during Cram School, which gets her berated by the teacher. It's because she has been staying up late studying for the entrance exam for the prestigious Jonan High School, to please her Education Mama.
    • In the anime, it happens during normal class. The teacher tries to rudely wake her up and she's so displeased that she ends up hitting him, with gets her thrown out of the classroom in punishment.
  • In Binbogami Ga, Keito takes multiple jobs to support his family after their parents abandoned them. This leaves him exhausted, so he often falls asleep in class.
  • Mako Mankanshoku from Kill la Kill manages to make this into a Running Gag, less than 15 seconds after introducing herself to Ryuko she falls asleep after eating her lunch.
  • In Sakura Trick, this is a chronic problem for Yuu.

     Comic Books 
  • One time (or maybe more) Jughead painted eyeballs on his eyelids so he could sleep in class and look like he wasn't sleeping.
  • A National Lampoon comic strip had a kid asleep in class, dreaming about getting shot down over WWII Germany - as Hitler approaches him with a knife, the teacher angrily calls his name - he wakes up shouting "Please don't cut my dick off, Mister Hitler!"
  • Spider-Man has been known to do this, particularly in the Ultimate universe. However he also approached this form the other side on one occasion when he worked as a science teacher. Fortunately for the student, he was a Reasonable Authority Figure and, rather than chewing her out, took the time to find out if she was having any trouble at home (turns out she was).

    Film 
  • Mentioned in Horse Feathers, when Wagstaff recommends tearing down Huxley College to support its football program:
    Professors (in unison): But, Professor, where will the students sleep?
    Wagstaff: Where they always sleep: in the classrooms!

     Literature 
  • Sharie in Wayside School is always asleep in class. Mrs. Jewls doesn't mind—she believes Sharie learns better that way.
  • The Animorphs have this happen to them on occasion. Marco seems to make a habit of it.
    • Their resident alien Ax also had a habit of it, back in the Andalite version of cadet school. Whenever the plot requires him to not know something specific about the alien Phlebotinum of the day (such as the mechanics of sario rips, or the finer points of ship repair), he was asleep that day, or was daydreaming, or there was a girl, or a sporting event... well, you get the picture.
  • In the Harry Potter series, Professor Binns is known for being so boring that his lectures consistently put the entire class to sleep, apart from Hermione. He doesn't seem to notice, either because he's a ghost or just because he's a Cloudcuckoolander.

     Live-Action TV 
  • In the Canadian kids-mystery-show The Adventures Of Shirley Holmes, Shirley's best friend Bo falls asleep in class because he secretly works to help his indebted parents.
  • In the Law & Order episode, "Indifference," a little girl appears to be sleeping after class is dismissed, but the teacher discovers to her horror that the girl is actually unconscious, and dying from terrible child abuse wounds.
  • Boy Meets World had several humorous situations involving Cory and/or Shawn falling asleep in class. A particularly funny example involved Shawn waking up thinking he's still at home and while half-awake stumbling out of the classroom to "go to school". A few minutes later he walks back in utterly confused, saying "I don't know where I am".
  • Veronica Mars The school councilor talks to her Dad about problems Veronica is having after her best friend is murdered, and her father disgraced. One symptom is sleeping in class. In another episode, she is woken by a teacher, answers the question, stretches, and lays her head back on the desk. Meg and Veronica talk about Hemingway induced narcolepsy, and the monotone of the teacher putting you to sleep.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • Peppermint Patty from Peanuts is always falling asleep in class. Marcie, who sits behind her, will either try to wake her up or play tricks on her while Peppermint Patty is asleep.
    • Marcie herself has fallen asleep in class on a few occasions. In one instance, she had to get up early to be at her school patrol post on time, but fell asleep at her classroom desk.
    • Shultz was once given an award from a catalepsy foundation for raising awareness of the disease.
  • Happens to Paige in FoxTrot, using ping-pong balls cut in half to fake having her eyes open.
  • Big Nate, often.

     Video Games 
  • Lloyd Irving does this in Tales of Symphonia, notable in that he falls asleep, standing up, while also holding a bucket full of water in each hand. He's woken up when Raine (his teacher) throws an eraser into his face.
  • You're given the option to do this in Persona 3. Doing so will improve your mood, thereby letting you fight better in the Dark Hour, but in exchange you miss out on the potential intelligence boost.
  • Escape From St Marys: The game opens with such a scene.
  • In Adventures of Tom Sawyer, you do this in the opening.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Hisao falls asleep in class in one scene in Rin's route, which begins with him being woken up by Mutou.

     Web Comic 

     Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • Terry McGinnis, Bruce Wayne's successor in Batman Beyond, is shown to fall asleep in class due to the pressures of balancing his normal life with the responsibilities of being the Batman.
  • In an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Diamond Tiara brings in her father, Filthy Rich, for her class's weekly Family Appreciation Day, and his boring presentation on how he cornered the sundries market in Ponyville puts nearly all the young ponies to sleep.
  • Gretchen in the Recess episode "This Brain for Hire" after staying up until early in the morning working on everyone's homework.
    • T.J. in "Good 'Ol T.J." when he stays up all night and all morning to revise a project him and Gretchen had to do (and failed due to his laziness) just to give her a better grade.
  • In the Mike, Lu & Og episode "A Learning Experience", Mike gets the other islanders to act as school teachers for her, Lu, Og and the Cuzzlewitz kids. They all fall asleep during Margery's lesson.


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