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Senior Sleep Cycle

A sub-trope of Grandparental Obliviousness. Basically, if you see a senior citizen in a TV show, most likely, he's either already napping or going to be in a few minutes. And, due to Finagle's Law, it will always be right when he's supposed to be keeping an eye, on something, or about to ... tell

...

...

you

...

zzz

...

Huh? Wha? Oh, right. There are some elders who can escape this inconvenience. Evil Old Folks tend to be exempt from this rule, as are women in general. Maybe they just drink a lot of coffee. Needless to say, this is an Elderly Trope. It is also more likely to appear in a comedy.

In real life, several studies have suggested that people actually need less sleep as they grow older; and the protrayal of this trope in media matches the symptoms of narcolepsy, a neurological disorder unrelated to age.

This trope does reflect Truth in Television to some extent, though, as older people often tend to go to sleep earlier than younger adults, and since the elderly are usually retired, they generally have nothing in their schedule to prevent them from napping whenever they feel like it. Furthermore, some sleep disorders that can cause daytime dozing, such as sleep apnea and insomnia, are more likely to gradually develop over the course of a lifetime.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, during a few of the murders, Nanjo's alibi is that he was asleep at the time.
  • In One Piece, Vice-Admiral Garp is about to punch Luffy when both suddenly fell asleep. Though it's less that Garp is old than that he comes from a family of narcoleptics.
  • Carlos of El Dorado V is always asleep when he's on screen, save for two occasions.
  • Crux from Fairy Tail. However he can also use "sleep" to gather up informations about other Celestial Spirits.

    Film 
  • Bernard, one member of the Neighborhood Watch Alliance in Hot Fuzz, spends most of his onscreen time asleep, except for about a minute during the final confrontation.
  • The wise old man in Labyrinth, much to the chagrin of his hat.

    Literature 
  • In Exile's Honor, one of Alberich's undercover identities is an old man who lives this trope. "Falling asleep" after dinner lets Alberich eavesdrop on the upper classes safely.
  • Bilbo Baggins, in Lord of the Rings. Used to show Bilbo's age catching up with him after he gives up the One Ring.

    Live Action TV 
  • "Old Man" of Pawn Stars had been shown to be flat out asleep when he was at work. He is co-owner of the place and so he's allowed to do that. Chumlee has rudely lampshaded this fact on more than one occasion. You gotta admire a man who keeps his resumé up to date.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Deadly Years", Rapid Aging caused Captain Kirk to doze off in the command chair.
  • Father Jack Hackett on Father Ted seemingly spends his entire life sleeping when he isn't drinking or yelling obscenities.

    Video Games 
  • The old man Yanni Yogi in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney kept falling asleep in the middle of conversations, and even the trial, and awakened when his Snot Bubble popped. This was all part of his act, however.
  • Ellen from Harvest Moon 64 has this generally, and it's also notably subverted once, when she dies.
  • The Old Man at the End of Time in Chrono Trigger (aka Gaspar, the Guru of Time), has almost always fallen asleep against a streetlamp when the heroes visit him, and has to be woken up to start a conversation. Then again, being at the End of Time doesn't usually give him very much to do.
  • Cid Highwind of Final Fantasy VII is depicted as having one in the original game, apparently as part of his portrayal as a Grumpy Old Man, despite really not being that old.
  • There are sleeping old men in some of the apartments in the first Max Payne sequel. They're heavy sleepers, as this video demonstrates.
  • Professor Binns from the Harry Potter series is portrayed to have this in the Game Boy color adaptation of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4.
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has Dr Snoozemore, who falls asleep mid conversation at semi random. This makes his speeches take a fair bit longer than they would otherwise.

    Web Original 
  • The Annoying Orange's Grandpa Lemon. He falls asleep in the middle of conversations and even while being chopped in half.

    Western Animation 
  • In Rugrats, whenever Grandpa Lou is put in charge of the babies, he is always asleep within a matter of seconds, a fact that the babies always use to their advantage.
    • When he leaves in "Grandpa Moves Out", the family visits him at the retirement home. Tommy and Angelica are watched over by the surrogate grandmother. She shows pictures of her grandchildren while listing the name of the seven dwarfs. When she can't remember the name of the last one, Angelica suggests "Sleepy"; she says she could use a nap and instantly falls asleep.
  • Abraham J. Simpson is constantly falling asleep, often in the middle of sentences. It's possible he's narcoleptic (especially on the season nine episode "Lisa's Sax" where, after he tried to sing "The Funky Grampa," Grampa ended up falling asleep standing up).
  • On Arthur, Grandma Thora averts this, but Grandpa Dave plays it straight.
  • Happens in SpongeBob SquarePants with Mermaid Man.
  • Professor Farnsworth in Futurama once fell asleep while skiing and woke up at the lodge with a bronze medal around his neck.
    • Less Then Hero had this gem:
    Leela: "Professor, isn't it time for your nap?"
    Farnsworth: "Yes, dammit!" *instantly falls asleep*
  • Suga Mama on The Proud Family always falls asleep while watching wrestling or when she is supposed to be chaperoning Penny or babysitting the twins. Turn it off and she immediately wakes up to tell you to turn it back on, then goes back to sleep once it's back on.
  • Parodied on Phineas and Ferb. Linda's mother appears to be succumbing, but she was playfully teasing Lawrence about his boring thimble story.
  • Cohort of the Ministry of Pain in The Powerpuff Girls in the midst of a bank heist.
  • Granny Smith of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic seems to doze off easily. In "Luna Eclipsed," when she takes some fillies out Trick-or-Treating, she states that she should have been asleep five hours ago.
  • Averted in Hey Arnold!, as both grandparents are quite hyperactive, and awake almost all of the time. Almost inverted with Grandma Gertie, since she seems to even be awake at odd hours in the night.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has Elderly!Numbuh 2 in the final episode, Operation INTERVIEWS. In the Live-Action segments, he's almost always falling asleep, and is shown to have become somewhat senile with age.
  • An episode of American Dad! has Steve age up to an eighty year old due to an experimental CIA serum. Despite this, he still tries - and fails - to go on a date with the Alpha Bitch of the school, who had given his teenage self a chance. At the diner, she leaves him in disgust as said old man, and, in the midst of protesting, he falls asleep mid-sentence. Shortly thereafter, another elder walks by and gleefully declares, "They brought back the old napping booth!" She proceeds to sit down and fall asleep as well.
    • In "Old Stan Of The Mountain" after Stan gets cursed for mocking the elderly causing him to turn into an old man, after misunderstanding a conversation between Steve and Hayley he thinks they want him to die, he then becomes paranoid and repeatedly tries to kill them but keeps falling asleep in the process of doing so.
  • One episode of "King of the Hill" dealt with Hank and the gang befriending the elderly school groundskeeper Smitty, who keeps falling asleep every time he tries to fix up the football field.


...zzz...what the? The Trope's over already?? Aw nuts.
Screw Politeness, I'm A Senior!EldersStern Nun
Scary Black ManAlways MaleSensitive Guy and Manly Man
Rip Van WinkleSleep and Wakefulness TropesSlap Yourself Awake
Senseless PhagiaComedy TropesSequel Snark
Rule-Abiding RebelImageSource/Western AnimationSexiled
Sending Stuff To Save The ShowAdded Alliterative AppealSensei for Scoundrels

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