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.
Particularly dedicated slackers may have glasses (or even full-face masks) drawn to imitate a wide-awake face. How well this works tends to vary.
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.
- 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.
- It's Yurine's main activity in Ano Ko ni Kisu to Shirayuri wo. It doesn't prevent her from having nigh perfect grades, which irritates her "rival" Ayaka to no end.
- In Chapter 39 of Asteroid in Love, Ao recalls that Ayano was often sleepy in class when they were in the same class. Turns out it's because Ayano aspires to be a novelist, so she often writes in the night.
- Ayane's 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- In Binbogami Ga, Keita takes multiple jobs to support his family after their parents abandoned them. This leaves him exhausted, so he often falls asleep in class.
- 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.
- Justified in Comic Girls as the cast, who are also Sequential Artists, often have to pull all-nighters to fulfill their deadlines. Ruki does this in the fourth episode and Tsubasa in the sixth. The latter case is a plot point as a proper introduction to Nijino, who turns out to be a Closet Geek and gets herself outed because...she's a fan of Tsubasa's work.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Winry was shown to have fallen asleep in class.
- 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 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.
- Motoko falls asleep during a test in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time because she has been jumping through time so much her body-clock is messed up.
- In episode 1a of Jewelpet Sunshine, the Jewelpets pretend to be delinquent students. Garnet brings the students' faults to the attention of their dolphin teacher, among them Angela's constant napping in class.
Garnet: Angela here loves taking naps. Her dozing-off rate during afternoon lessons is over 90 percent! The only time she's awake is during the cooking classes!
Angela: [still sleeping, with a Snot Bubble coming from her nose] Paca...
Ruby: Hey, she's sleeping as we speak!
- Kekkaishi: Yoshimori has monster-fighting duties every night, so he sleeps in class (and naps on the roof during breaks) practically every day.
- 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.
- Karen of Kiniro Mosaic became a chronic class sleeper in the second season of anime.
- Akko, the main heroine of Little Witch Academia (2017) does this early on, prompting the teacher to use a spell to slam her head into a book.
- Yonekuni in Love Pistols tends to do this most of the year; justified because of his reptile-like body temperature system.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Evangeline is often asleep during class in the early chapters. Given that she's a vampire who is hundreds of years old and trapped in school via a spell, there's not much she can really learn from the classes anyway.
- Kiba wakes up from sleeping in class in one flashback, 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.
- In Please Tell Me! Galko-chan, we often see Galko like this, although it's a side effect of her being Not a Morning Person.
- A dramatic example in Princess Sarah: Sarah 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.
- Ranma ½: 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. Akane, on the other hand, is acknowledged as a good student by Miss Hinako, so she's quite surprised the one time she finds her asleep.
- Sailor Moon: Usagi regularly naps during her school lectures due to never having a proper amount of sleep beforehand. She often gets reprimanded by Miss Haruna for this, getting sent to the hallway as punishment.
- 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.
- In Sakura Trick, this is a chronic problem for Yuu-chan.
- Kaede Rukawa of Slam Dunk, being the Sleepy Head he is, of course, falls in this every now and then. One particular example stands out: he's sleeping in a classroom and his classmates comment on it, and of course, his teacher gets angry when he wakes up for a bit and then goes back to doze off. Unfortunately, he makes the mistake of hitting Rukawa to wake him up, which to him is a major Berserk Button.
- 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.
- This trope is basically the opening sequence for Ten Yori Mo, Hoshi Yori Mo, with Mio dozing off during school class. She's actually having flashes of her Past-Life Memories, but she doesn't know it yet.
- 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.
- In one episode of Toradora!, Minori does this and draws fake eyes on her eyelids to make it look like she's still awake.
- Vampire Knight has Yuuki and Zero fall asleep in their day classes because they have night patrol for the vampires.
- 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.)
- Season 8 episode 24 of Happy Heroes alludes to this trope. Huo Haha sets up two machines, one for Big M. and one for Little M., to play annoying sounds in an attempt to cure the curse they've been given that makes them unable to be too close together without them being struck by lightning. Little M. gets sleepy as his machine plays the sound of a school bell ringing, commenting that hearing the sound always makes him want to sleep.
- In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Paddi, who is Really Fond of Sleeping, tends to fall asleep while he's in class with the other goats.
- Archie Comics: One time (or maybe more), Jughead painted eyeballs on his eyelids so he could sleep in class and look like he wasn't sleeping.
- Miles Morales didn't get that far, just "yawning in class", but the teacher noticed it anyway.
- 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!"
- Robin Series: Tim Drake has trouble with this, combined with frequent absences as a side effect of his Triple Shifter status as Robin. Eventually, he drops out of high school altogether.
- 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).
- Ultimate Marvel
- Ultimate Origins: Charles Xavier started reading parts of Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus. The students were not exactly thrilled by it.
- The high school students of Ultimate Spider-Man (including Peter himself) fell asleep in class frequently.
- Happens to Paige in FoxTrot, using ping-pong balls cut in half to fake having her eyes open.
- Peppermint Patty 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.
- Used in Returning and many other Harry Potter fanfics with regards to Professor Binns's History of Magic class.
- Bad Teacher has the teacher sleeping in class instead of the students.
- In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, everyone in Ben Stein's economics class is either asleep or close to it.
- Among the few times this trope is Played for Drama in films, we have A Nightmare on Elm Street and its sequels/reboot. Given that falling asleep at any time means falling right in Freddy Krueger's claws ...
- In Graduation, Carl is asleep in biology class when the teacher calls on him.
- Mentioned in Horse Feathers, when Wagstaff recommends tearing down Huxley College (apparently meaning specifically the residence units) to support its football program:
Professors: [in unison] But, Professor, where will the students sleep?
Wagstaff: Where they always sleep: in the classrooms!
- In Summer School, Larry sleeps through every class... at least, until it's discovered that he's been working all night as a male stripper, whereupon he gets fired for being underage and actually starts getting some sleep at home.
- 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.
Ax: (defensive) I didn't fall asleep. I merely let my mind wander, and became very calm and restful and not completely alert.
Marco: Did you snore when you got all calm and restful and not completely alert?
- 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. It's not clear if he was that bad in life or if his droning through it all is a result of literal centuries of teaching the same things over and over; either way, he's fairly oblivious.
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry is bored to sleep by Professor Trelawney's lecture about the effects that Mars is supposedly going to have on them. He has a vision of Voldemort learning Barty Crouch Sr is dead, and plotting the murder of Harry himself. He is woken to find Professor Trelawney convinced that he is having some sort of prophetic vision, blissfully unaware that while she's right that he did have a vision, it has nothing to do with Divination, but rather being connected to Voldemort's soul as a Horcrux.
- Monkey Not Ready for Bedtime, a children's picture book by Marc Brown (known for Arthur) at one point shows Monkey having a nap at his desk at school because he hasn't been getting to bed on time at night, accompanied with the text "It's no fun being tired at school." The accompanying page shows him next to a lion classmate on swings, the classmate looking on in concern because Monkey has fallen asleep on the swing.
- The plot of the first book of The Mysterious Benedict Society revolves around the members of the titular society acting as spies for Mr. Benedict at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened. The pressures of this take their toll until one day Sticky, who has been doing very well otherwise, ends up falling asleep in class. For this, he gets teased by the Messenger student Martina Crowe, causing the entire class to laugh at him. In retaliation, Kate uses her feet to tie Martina's shoelaces to her desk, causing her to fall when she tries to get up. Constance also regularly falls asleep in class, though nobody teases her about it because she's not a good student. Also, though nobody knows it at the time, the only reason she does it is because she's only two years old and therefore of course takes regular naps.
- In Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note, Sunahara when he was first introduced.
- In the picture book, The Teacher from the Black Lagoon, the terrible reptilian teacher in the class of the boy protagonist of the story ends up just being a nightmare he had at the start of class. He wakes up to find that the teacher is actually a pleasant young woman and is so relieved he gives her a hug.
- Sharie in Wayside School is always asleep in class. Mrs. Jewls doesn't mindshe believes Sharie learns better that way.
- 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.
- 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".
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Happens with Buffy naturally, as she has to spend the night patrolling for vampires. In "Hush" she falls asleep during a college lecture and has a prophetic dream about the Monster of the Week. Willow reassures Buffy that she was very discreet about it.
- One episode of Community shows Jeff lying back asleep with Pierce trying to throw paper into his open mouth. Señor Chang finds it funny and encourages Pierce to make the shot. He then wakes Jeff up with:
Señor Chang: Buenos DIAS, Winger!
- On the game show Cram, contestants had 24 hours to cram facts into their heads in the show's version of homeschool from hell. This was what they didn't want to be, but could if they weren't careful. Same with the Miss Pickwick bonus round in which they listened to facts recited in a sleepy voice in a relaxing environment designed to try to lull them into nodding off.
- In the Law & Order episode, "Indifference," a little girl appears to be sleeping while her classmates are getting snacks, but the teacher discovers to her horror that the girl is actually unconscious, bleeding internally from an abuse-related head injury. The injury ends up killing her a few days later.
- The first season of So Awkward had a Cold Open of Lily experiencing something bizarre happening in class. She would scream and then wake up to discover she had been sleeping in class, and had just interjected a screamed comment at a particularly inappropriate point.
- 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.
- One episode of NCIS starts with students falling asleep in class...and so does the teacher, because someone introduced Knockout Gas into the ventilation system. By the time everyone wakes up, one student has been kidnapped.
- Our Miss Brooks:
- In Stretch Is In Love Again, star athlete Stretch Snodgrass' late nights "rumbering" cause him to fall asleep in school. In this case, it's not the dimwitted student's marks that are at stake, but Madison's winning the big football game with Clay City High.
- Another episode has Walter Denton accidentally blurt to Miss Brooks that he sometimes takes "forty winks" in his class, because his teacher would have to be a "cockeyed wonder" to see him napping in his seat behind Stretch. To Walter's horror, he realizes Miss Brooks is the "cockeyed wonder" to whom he was referring.
- In Adventures of Tom Sawyer, you do this in the opening.
- Escape From St. Mary's: The game opens with such a scene.
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - Fie, while a decent student, is nevertheless chastised for falling asleep in a number of places in and around Thors Military Academy, including in class. Crow, resident slacker, is also shown sleeping in class at least once.
- In one of the Moshi Monsters magazines depicts Humphrey Writing Lines that read "I must not fall asleep in class" but then falling asleep anyway.
- 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.
- In Persona 5, you can do this once you've advanced Kawakami's Confidant enough, which grants you points with a certain other Confidant or raises a random social parameter.
- 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.
- Riki, the protagonist of Little Busters!, has narcolepsy, and thus doesn't get into trouble with the teachers. During the part of Saya's route that takes place in the common route, Saya will convince Riki to exploit the teachers' knowledge of his narcolepsy to get away with sleeping in class so he can stay well rested when he traverses the underground dungeon with her at night.
- In Katawa Shoujo, Hisao falls asleep in class in one scene in Rin's route, which begins with him being woken up by Mutou.
- In Kingdumb Hearts Derp Dorp Derpence, Sora gets excited when Master Yen Sid says that he and Riku must go to sleep to complete their task, saying that this is how he completes all his exams. There's then a flashback of him in "Driver's class" where he is sleeping at his desk, then wakes up and says that he dreamt he got a license, so now he can drive, then hops in a car and wrecks it off-screen.
- Furi of My Jungle Book Your Year tends to sleep a lot during class, usually while Demonica is holding a discussion.
- Most likely a habit for Rainbow Dash of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, considering it just takes a demonstration of Twilight's suggestion for a classroom-themed party in the "Shake Your Tail!" short for her to fall asleep.
- Alex from Angel Moxie is tired by her superhero training, so it takes very little nudging for her to fall asleep in class. She gets in trouble later for it, though.
- Alaska-Chan in Destiny Fails Us can be caught constantly sleeping in class.
- Yumi from Falconhyrste is almost always shown sleeping in class.''
- Zoë is wont to snooze through her lessons in Ladies In Waiting.
- Phonsekal Lauroe of Tower of God sleeps in class. And during the rest of the day. And during battle.
- In When Heaven Spits You Out, after Ryan spends the night being beaten and forced to do chores by his abusive father, he is so tired the next day he falls asleep in class.
- 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 one episode of The Buzz on Maggie, the main character is sleeping in history class wearing a mask of her own face to make it look like she's awake. Her teacher sees through her scheme when he hears her snoring.
- Only happens once in Code Lyoko with Odd. Justified because he and Ulrich played Tetrix Annihilator until the wee hours of morning.
- 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.
- In the Mixels episode "Every Knight Has Its Day", Camillot falls asleep during the class film being aired out of boredom, only to be woken up by the students laughing at him.
- 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.
- "Testing Testing 1, 2, 3" has Rainbow Dash fall asleep in class. She does it again in "Top Bolt" with Sky Stinger.
- Taken up a level with "School Daze, Part 1" where the teacher Pinkie Pie, Angel Bunny, and Silverstream falling asleep at different points in the song.
- "A Horse Shoe-In" takes it even further. Trixie's attempt at being a substitute teacher bores everyone, and Gallus in particular falls asleep, giving Trixie an idea. When Starlight comes in to check on her, everyone, including Trixie, is asleep, and it's implied that this ended up being Trixie's intention.
- The same thing happens to The Powerpuff Girls in the episode "Daylight Savings." Their teacher sends them home with a note, and, after a parent-teacher conference, Professor Utonium puts the girls on a 7:30pm curfew.
- Gretchen in the 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.
- The Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "A Quack in the Quarks" begins with most of the students of ACME Looniversity having fallen asleep as a result of listening to Plucky's tall tales of how he spent his weekend. Buster awakens when Plucky finally stops talking.
- Legendary judoka Masahiko Kimura often fell asleep in class, as he loved a bit too much training at night.
- Some schools, especially high schools, roll back the start of the school day in acknowledgement and defiance of this trope. Studies have shown that teenagers actually have different sleep cycles and so high schools in particular that start too early in the day really aren't doing themselves any favors.