Follow TV Tropes


An Odd Place to Sleep

Go To
Woodstock's back must be really limber.

Neighbour 1: He used to sleep on my wall.
Neighbour 2: He used to sleep on my dustbin.
Neighbours 3 and 4: He used to sleep on our car.

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. Fell Asleep Standing Up is an odd way characters can fall asleep practically anywhere.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & 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.
  • Bertholdt Hover from Attack on Titan apparently had some unusual sleeping habits. According to Jean he turned sprawling out into an art form, often waking up in weird poses or even falling off his bunk. The rest of the 104th got a real kick out of this, and even made a game of it by trying to predict the weather based on his positions.
  • Bleach:
    • 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.
  • Sōsuke 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. He usually keeps a weapon nearby too, and on some occasions, he sleeps with his eyes open. Creepy
  • Jormungand: Due to his past as a Child Soldier, Jonah from sleeps curled up in a corner with a weapon close at hand.
  • 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.
  • 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 Skip Beat!, the Vie Ghoul bandmember Reino is shown to sleep in a sleeping bag, surrounded by flowers, inside of a coffin.
  • In Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Sakura first met Nozaki when she was late to school and she saw that he had fallen asleep on top of the school gate while climbing it to get into school, as he was also late.
  • Ryuu of Snow White with the Red Hair likes to sleep under his desk and Obi from the same work tends to fall asleep in trees, in the garden, or on his coworkers couches or on the couch in Prince Zen's room adding to his list of catlike behavior due to his nocturnal habits.
  • Tanaka of Tanaka-kun is Always Listless falls asleep pretty much anywhere and everywhere, despite his insistence on what the most comfortable sleeping arrangements are.
  • Miko from Kaguya-sama: Love is War sleeps in the arms of a giant teddy bear while covered in her childhood blanket. The reason for this is twofold: the discomfort means she only gets about 4 hours of sleep a night (and can therefor devote more waking time to studying), and it gives her the feeling of a Bridal Carry.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Snoopy in Peanuts is shown to sleep on the roof of his doghouse. This even gets lampshaded at least once.
  • Garfield: Garfield can sleep anywhere, any time - the back or arm of a chair, the top of the TV set (before it was a flatscreen), and many other places. In the April 26, 1991 strip, he comments that "The world is my bed."
    • One particular strip has him unable to fall asleep because he's uncomfortable, and his solution is to jury-rig a contraption that holds one leg up, his tail up, lets his head roll back, etc. - Jon remarks that he does not want to know when he sees the sleeping Garfield.

    Fan Works 
  • At Chirei: A Funny Background Event shows Kisume sleeping in her bucket.
  • In Intercom, Joy (the emotion mind you) sleeps in a bathtub. With water still in it. And yet she uses a dry pillow as well. It's...more than a little strange, but at least it means she can take a bath every morning before the day starts. This isn't original to the fanfic; that part was based on concept art from the movie.
  • In Your servant, Mistress, Maleficent sleeps in a hammock whenever she feels particularly bad. It Makes Sense In Context.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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 Batman (1989), Bruce Wayne is briefly shown sleeping hanging upside down from his rack. This is never mentioned again.
  • In The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), Edmond Dantes is shown to sleep on the floor instead of in a bed after being imprisoned for so long.
  • 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.
  • In The Grizzlies, Inuit student Kyle sleeps in an abandoned cargo container due to his turbulent home life. The film is set in Kugluktuk, Nunavut, which is on the shore of the Arctic Ocean. His teacher Russ discovers this while practising lacrosse against the container, and later gives him a key, allowing him to sleep in a classroom so he has a safer and warmer place to sleep.
  • 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) and perhaps because it's a room that has no windows (so said flesh-eating zombies won't see him).
  • Apparently, somebody likes to sleep in an Art Gallery in the film adaptation of Madeline.
  • In The Martian, Rich Purnell is introduced sleeping in his office, which indicates at least that he's overworked enough to be too tired to go home. He's rapidly revealed to be a Bunny-Ears Lawyer of the highest order.
  • Munich: After planting a bomb in a terrorist's bed, one of the protagonists can only sleep in a cupboard.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, when Jack slips inside a Christmas Town bedroom to look at the sleeping elf children, the ones to the left of the window appear to be sleeping in dresser drawers rather than beds

  • In Daniel Pinkwater's Borgel, Freddie (who looks like a little old man) prefers to sleep upside down in a tree. This is the first hint that he's not a human but a Grivnizoid.
  • Discworld:
    • In 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 Unseen Academicals, Trev, a Brilliant, but Lazy young man, "could sleep anywhere, and usually did." Places he's slept include at work (the candle vats of Unseen University), on the floor of a friend's house, and in a stable, which is rather amusingly noted to be "a more fragrant option" than the friend's house.
  • In Dragon Bones, on a travel by ship, Ward sleeps in a hammock, because it makes him less seasick than the bed (which he could also sleep in).
  • 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".
  • The Hunger Games: In Mockingjay, Katniss Everdeen will frequently hide away in closets or storage rooms and end up falling asleep.
  • In Side-By-Side Dreamers Hitsuji has a reputation for sleeping in strange places, such as the school roof. It turns out she's choosing to sleep in isolated places because her "Blanket" ability makes anyone else in the vicinity fall asleep when she starts sleeping.

    Live-Action TV 

  • The Addams Family: Fester, Pugsley, Gomez, and Morticia are all seen at some point either sleeping on a bed of nails or having one (in Gomez and Morticia's case, they're twin beds labeled "His" and "Hers").
  • The Minbari in Babylon 5 sleep on lightly padded boards held up at a 45-degree angle. According to Minbari culture, to sleep horizontally was to tempt death. A minor Running Gag resulted from human characters having to figure out how to sleep on the things.
    Sheridan: (on trying to sleep on a Minbari 'bed') "I sleep on this I might be tempting fate."
  • In an episode of Dexter, Dexter breaks into Lumen's hotel room and sees that she has made up a bed in the closet, since a closet was the only place where she felt safe from the men who raped her.
  • In Dollhouse, Victor/Anthony is released from the Dollhouse and spends his first night in a hotel. He winds up sleeping in the bathtub, presumably because it's similar to the Dollhouse's pods. (Note that he shouldn't remember those pods, but this helps to demonstrate that some echoes of the last five years remain with him.)
  • ER: From time to time, doctors will crash out and sleep in vacant exam rooms. A relatively minor example, since the rooms contain beds which are designed to be slept in, just not necessarily intended for the on-duty medical staff. On at least one occasion, an exhausted junior doctor taking advantage of such a vacant room ended up the victim of a prank from a couple of other bored doctors, who were able to put his entire leg in a cast without him waking up, only to send him bolting out of bed and stumbling on the cast by paging him over the intercom.
  • In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Bucky sleeps on the floor of his apartment, as Sam mentioned during Captain America: The Winter Soldier, "like a caveman."
  • In Kyle XY, Kyle prefers sleeping in a bathtub, because it mimics the shape of the pod he was grown in.
  • Million Yen Women: Nanaka got used to sleeping in chairs due to her childhood lifestyle. She has no actual bed in her bedroom in Shin's house, and instead sleeps in one of the many chairs she's keeping in it.
  • Mork & Mindy: Mork sleeps upside down in the closet because he's an alien and that's how they feel comfortable.
  • In A Muppet Family Christmas, space is at a premium with the entire casts of both The Muppet Show and Sesame Street sharing a small farmhouse, so Fozzie's mom rattles off a list of bizarre places the Muppets will be sleeping, including a hammock, the bathtub, and a pair of "bunk beds in the broom closet." After Miss Piggy arrives, Emily tells the gang that two of them will have to sleep suspended from hangers on a hook on the wall. Gonzo and Animal are only too happy to comply.
    Floyd: That's the only way Animal ever sleeps, ma'am.
  • In the early episodes of NCIS, it was mentioned on more than one occasion that Abby Scuitto sleeps in a coffin. At one point, McGee was with her.
    McGee: You told me it was a box sofa bed!
  • Probe's "Computer Logic": The first time Mickey meets Austin, he's waking up from inside a cupboard that he's turned into a sensory deprivation tank. He claims to need it in order to calm his brain enough to fall asleep.
  • Profit: Jim Profit regularly sleeps naked in a cardboard box, just like the one he was raised in by his abusive father.
  • In Episode 178 of Running Man, one challenge was to play Jenga...with giant Styrofoam blocks making a tower 7 meters tall...while someone sits on top of it (Song Ji Hyo). The group manage to pass the initial challenge of removing a number of blocks, then argued with the producers over the reward for an additional challenge, during which time Ji Hyo was caught asleep on top of that tower.
  • In Scrubs, coroner Doug Murphy develops a habit of taking naps inside the drawers at the morgue. The ones normally used for dead bodies.
  • The Seinfeld episode "The Nap" deals with George's fondness for sleeping under his desk at work, a premise inspired by friends of one of the writers doing the same thing in Real Life. It's initially a practical move designed to keep his coworkers from catching him napping in his windowed office, but he likes the arrangement so much that he gets the desk fitted with amenities conductive to sleeping, including a shelf for his alarm clock. By the end of the episode, the desk is destroyed and he's instead found napping in Jerry's kitchen cupboard, to which Jerry doesn't react in the slightest.
  • Ash in Supernatural was introduced sleeping on a pool table.
  • The vampire aliens of Korean sit-com Vampire Idol sleep inside a piano.
  • Early on in The X-Files, Mulder sleeps on his couch (when he does sleep), in large part because he's using the bedroom for storage. This does change in later seasons.

  • Frank Zappa's album Uncle Meat has a song called "Sleeping In A Jar", in which we are informed that mummy and daddy are sleeping in a jar and that the jar "is under the bed."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: In keeping with their vampire theme, the Blood Angels have a habit of periodically resting in the sarcophagus used for their creation. One of the reasons they do this is because it is actually a kind of Auto Doc, extracting their blood, subjecting it to osmosis, and re-integrating it into the body. Through this ritual they purify their blood in the hope of keeping the Flaw at bay. The older a Blood Angel gets, the longer and more frequent such purification sleep tends to be.

    Video Games 
  • At one point in BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, Shrimp can randomly be found napping in a bed at the back on an antique shop.
  • The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark: A character who turns out to be a kind of vampire has no bed in his bedroom, only a rack that he apparently hangs from to sleep upside down.
  • 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.
  • Laharl from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness sleeps in a coffin, despite not being a vampire.
  • 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."
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Link wakes up to find that he's been sleeping underwater in some sort of fancy bathtub
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has a justified example. There are pillow-shaped stone artifacts called Pi'illos that Luigi has to sleep on to open a portal to the dream world so Mario can free the spirit trapped inside. Very few of these pillows are located anywhere near a bed, meaning that Luigi has to sleep on the sandy ground of a desert construction site and a mountain summit in the middle of a blizzard, among other things.
  • 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. He doesn't seem to mind too much aside from a few complaints about the noise.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent:
    • Lalli, as a manifestation of both his Ambiguous Disorder and his mage powers. Give him a normal bed, he'll sleep under it and will sleep on the bed itself only if its design or location causes it to not have an "under" to speak of. Other than this, he can fall asleep leaning against just about anything, including the back of chairs with nobody sitting on them and under tables in a crowded room. This may have to do with the I See Dead People aspect of his powers, as some spirits are quite scary-looking and he frequently chooses places that can feel safe from a certain point of view.
    • Mikkel did this once, standing against a wall in an abandoned city.
  • In Weak Hero, Gerard has been found sleeping in the classroom (and not at his desk, but across a row of them before class starts) and in a bush, which only contributes to the general mystery surrounding him.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: Bender, and by extension, all robots, prefer to sleep standing up in a room small enough to be a closet. To Bender, it's odd that his human roommate Fry prefers to sleep in the spacious, windowed closet that opens off this "apartment."
  • 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.
  • Tom and Jerry: Jerry can occasionally be seen sleeping in a strange location (such as on the hammers of a concert piano). This is usually when the cartoon takes place somewhere other than a house and is used to set up the conflict between him and Tom, as it tends to be inconvenient to one or the other.
  • In The Legend of Korra, Desna and Eska were staying in a Republic City hotel and informed that they booked a room with only one bed. Apparently, Desna prefers to sleep in the bathtub.
  • In one early American Dad! episode, Hayley walks in on Roger, who has apparently hanged himself. She naturally screams, only for him to wake up and explain that he sleeps this way to help his back. Presumably his Bizarre Alien Biology makes him The Man They Couldn't Hang.
  • In Young Justice , Halo floats a few feet above whatever couch or bed she's sleeping on due to her flight powers activated by aura.
  • We Bare Bears: Ice Bear tends to sleep in the refrigerator, probably because he's an arctic mammal and it's the only place in the house cold enough for him.

    Real Life 
  • 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. He did eventually die that way; this may or may not have been 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.
  • Cats. They will sleep ANYWHERE. As anyone who's had to push a moggy off a laptop or fish a cat off the top of a wardrobe or from the inside of a washing machine will tell you.
  • No matter how many hammocks and sleeping pods and other such structures you provide, pet rats will often sleep in the darnedest places instead. Even when they do use the furniture, it's often not in the expected way (such as tearing up a hammock and stuffing it in a corner, then crawling underneath).
  • Military personnel who are deployed forward and under constant threat of attack or harassing fire often sleep wearing all their gear, so they don't have to waste time putting it on if an attack happens. They also prefer sleeping on the ground in the open because a tent offers no protection anyway, and you can look around and see what is going on without having to leave a tent. Stay deployed long enough, or go on multiple deployments, and sleeping on the ground becomes so routine that sleeping on a bed feels strange, and you can't relax because being elevated makes you feel exposed. Sadly, this is just one of the many things that makes it hard for them to readjust to civilian life.
  • Gratings of steam tunnels are popular sleeping spots for the urban homeless in cold weather, as the air they vent is often much warmer than the ambient temperature.
  • College students are known to sleep in peculiar locations all across their campuses, especially during 'finals week' where students are more common to pull all-nighters. When more ideal and practical study locations become more scarce and/or overcrowded, they often have to make do with studying wherever they can, and often in particularly obscure locations where they know they will (usually) not be disturbed and can 'camp' there for as long as their studies require.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: