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Fell Asleep Standing Up

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The belly might have helped.

"Yes, Spirit Bear, blame your age. Not the fact that you sleep standing up."
Spirit Bear, Bee Swarm Simulator

Most people sleep in beds of some sort. Others don't, but they still sleep lying down. Some people sleep sitting... and then there are those who can, somehow, fall asleep while standing upright. They don't slump over in their sleep. They're still standing even while zonked out.

This usually comes in two types: a character is so much of a Sleepyhead that they can fall asleep even standing, or a character is so exhausted that they fall asleep while standing.

A frequent sign of a Sleepyhead or Heavy Sleeper is their ability to remain asleep even while standing. This character has been known to fall asleep while standing up, usually on multiple occasions. This is usually Played for Laughs. But, a character that is so exhausted they don't have time to lie down is more likely to be Played for Drama (though it's still played for comedy sometimes).

Compare with Sleepwalking and Sleeps with Both Eyes Open. Contrast with Died Standing Up.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Naruto, Rock Lee, after being completely and mercilessly thrashed by Gaara, pushing his body way past its limits, and suffering permanent damage to two limbs and his spine, manages to stand back up despite being unconscious at the time, presumably by sheer willpower.
  • Similarly, Takeshi Sendo in Hajime no Ippo somehow continues to attack after Ippo delivers a powerful punch to his temple, to the point the referee has to step in and take him by force back to his corner. But when the fourth round starts, they check on Sendo and realize that Ippo's punch knocked him unconscious, even though his eyes are still wide open. Sendo's coach theorizes that he somehow continued to fight driven by the screams of his fans rooting for him.
    • On a much more dramatic moment, Tatsuya Kimura goes into this during his fight with Mashiba. Kimura gets knocked out by Mashiba's cross, only losing consciousness the moment he tries to punch, with the referee being forced to put a stop to it.
  • One Piece: Luffy, being a Sleepyhead, can sometimes sleep while standing right up. As shown with his grandpa Garp, this apparently runs in the family.
  • In Pokémon: The Original Series, Psyduck falls asleep both standing up and with its eyes open after listening to the lullaby sung by Jigglypuff.
  • Played for comedy in Tokyo Ghoul:Re, with the rumor that Arima has a habit of taking catnaps in the middle of battle. It's accompanied by a comical image of Arima sleeping standing up, complete with a Snot Bubble and panicked subordinates yelling for him to wake up. Sasaki and Juuzou confirm that this actually happened, because he goes long periods without sleeping while on major assignments.
  • Dragon Ball: Kid Buu falls asleep like this while waiting for Goku to get ready to fight him. In Dragon Ball Super, Monaka has a tendency to pass out from shock both standing up and with his eyes open at the same time.

    Asian Animation 
  • In the Animated Adaptation of Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi, Lan Wangji falls asleep after a cup of wine and later wakes up drunk. After battling a corpse, he returns to his drunken slumber while still standing up and holding his guqin (his musical weapon), much to Wei Wuxian's bewilderment. The latter later puts him back to bed.

    Comic Books 
  • Dan In Space: In the first issue, Dan falls asleep in Zito's Pizza while talking to Mili and Dali. They even comment that he fell asleep while standing up.

    Comic Strips 
  • The titular cat of Garfield has done this multiple times. He's even capable of sleeping while standing on one foot.
  • Heart of the City: Dean does this at the bus stop in this September strip after staying up all night before the first day of school.

    Fan Works 
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Erika is explicitly narcoleptic and is known to pass out even while standing.
  • In Control, Yukari causes a scandal during her first year of high school when she splashes the vice principal with water. What actually occured was she was made to hold water in the hallway, but she fell asleep standing up. The vice principal noticed her and accidentally spooked her awake. Yukari accidentally splashed him with water when she awoke.
  • There are couple of examples in a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic The Power of the Equinox as a Furry Reminder.
    • While dusting a bust in the East Wing hallway, the heavily tired maid Dusty Joy decides to take a nap and falls asleep while standing and holding a feather duster in her mouth. Almost immediately afterwards, Dimmed Star passes through the hallway.
    • When Hasty Vote is having a long speech during Dimmed Star's trial, the latter becomes so bored that she falls asleep, managing to doze soundly even though she's standing heavily covered in chains. While Hasty Vote is undignified, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Princess Celestia find this pretty funny.
  • Deborah does this in a bonus scene from the Junior Officers chapter "The Lost Loon".
  • Monsters In Paradise: While Amber is getting herself psyched for battle, Yukari is standing half-asleep at the other end of the battlefield, dreaming of a visit to Mykonos, Greece.
  • Machoke does this in Pokémpanions: New Year's Eevee, immediately after insisting he's not tired, no less.
  • In Star Of Wonder Star Of Night, Lance falls asleep standing up since he’s drowsier in winter, but Alice wakes him up.

    Films — Animated 
  • Happily N'Ever After: Frieda changes the story of Sleeping Beauty so that when the prince kisses Aurora, instead of Aurora waking up, the prince falls into eternal sleep as well, passing out right on his feet and snoring as his head slumps over. Frieda sadistically comments "Aww, a pajama party!" Later on, we see that both the prince and Aurora are still trapped in eternal sleep, and the prince is still standing up, with Frieda commenting "Nighty night, after night, after night, forever!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Charge at Feather River, Pvt. Cullen falls asleep while riding his horse and keeps riding for some distance before falling off. He is such a Heavy Sleeper that he does not wake up when he hits the ground, which greatly impresses his squad mates. he stirs briefly when they pick him up and put him back in the saddle, then goes back to sleep and keeps riding.
  • Rat Race: Enrico Pollini, played by Rowan Atkinson, is a narcoleptic Italian tourist who can sleep upright, even in the middle of a crowded Las Vegas casino.
  • Rags: During the montage that plays while Charlie is recording "Hands Up", he's shown half-asleep while holding a broom, exhausted from working and recording to the point where he's passing out on his feet even after being given food.

  • In Animorphs the centauroid Andalites sleep standing up, and with one of their secondary eyes open.
  • In the Sword of Truth series, one villain fell asleep standing while a captive of Mord-Sith, who loves using Sleep Deprivation Punishment.
  • In Gorky Park, when conducting an investigation at Moscow's Kazan Station, Arkady Renko encounters this trope when he sees "Soldiers leaned slackly against the wall in a sleep so tangibly deep that the heroic mosaics of the ceiling overhead could have been their communal dream."
  • This is mentioned in Night Watch as a skill Vimes has developed over thirty years of being a watchman, though he notes that it's a fairly poor replacement for an actual proper sleep and you shouldn't try to do it for more than a few nights in a row.
  • March from The Eagle Tree sometimes falls asleep vacuuming because the noise the vacuum cleaner makes sounds like tsetse flies, which makes him think of sleeping sickness.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor claims to sleep this way. In one of the spin-off comics, Clara claims she could only tell he was asleep by the snoring.
  • Yo Gabba Gabba!: Happens with Plex in "Sleep," while the other mascots have their own beds.
  • One episode of Cheers had Woody not only fall asleep while standing up, but while his eyes were still open.
  • The New Avengers has one episode where the heroes witness the British Army's newest anti-terrorist weapon: an air-dropped knock-out gas that causes loss of consciousness, but has no other detrimental effects. Criminals steal a tanker truck of the stuff, and dose a large suburb of London with it, intending to rob the locale blind. The Avengers, being immunized during the test, are unaffected. John Steed notes, however, that one bobby (British uniformed policeman) is dozing upright at his post, and comments, "They really do sleep standing up!"
  • Zigzagged for the Borg (a race of emotionless cyborgs) and a few ex-Borg like Seven of Nine in the Star Trek series. While they do not sleep per se, they "regenerate" standing up in alcoves. Regeneration is similar to sleep (they even dream while regenerating), but it also helps to repair damage to some extent, which is why Seven often regenerates for days at a time after being damaged.
  • One episode of El Chavo del ocho has Chavo doing this because he couldn't sleep last night, he fell asleep while having a conversation with Quico, and later, with Don Ramón.
  • In the Getting Together episode "Memories Are Made of This," Lionel participates in a Sleep Deprivation experiment that requires him to go 48 hours with only 80 minutes of sleep. By the end, he's so exhausted that he falls asleep as soon as he leans against a wall.
  • Kingdom Adventure: Magistrate Pitts has an aptly-named guard: Napps. He regularly falls asleep at his post while standing up; unsurprisingly, the protagonists end up taking advantage of this.

  • Jeff and/or Lachy from The Wiggles are prime examples of this trope.

  • Our Miss Brooks: Stretch Snodgrass in "Stretch Is In Love Again" falls asleep standing in the school hallway. Judy Brille, daughter of rival high school principal Jason Brille, was colluding with her father to keep Stretch out dating her and dancing to the wee hours of the morning. In that way, they hoped to keep him useless in the big game.

    Video Games 
  • Aladdin: Nasira's revenge features the merchants in level 3 who fall asleep on their feet, allowing you a chance to steal their apples before they wake up.
  • Animal Crossing:
    • In the N64 title and its Gamecube ports, villagers can often be found asleep outside their houses late at night or early in the morning. To make it more embarrassing, they fall asleep standing up.
    • In New Leaf, sometimes villagers are sleeping when you enter their house. That's all fine and dandy, except for the fact they fell asleep while standing.
  • Spirit Bear from Bee Swarm Simulator does this all the time. Whenever you try to talk to her while you're doing a quest from her, she's in the middle of a nap and her quest dialog says that she's "standing in her sleep".
  • In Disney Magic Kingdoms, during the Turning Red Event, Mei does this as a result of pushing herself too hard.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • A common gag involving Tristan is that, due to him having his Eyes Always Shut, it's hard to tell whether he's currently awake or sleeping - and he does go sleeping quite a few times, even while standing.
    • Okita Alter has a tendency to doze off during her skill activation animation, only to insist that she wasn't and that she was awake moments later.
  • The King of Fighters: In older games, K' has an Idle Animation where he slowly and surely goes asleep while standing up. He's simply bored with the prospect of fighting in the KOF tournaments.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear: Some guards will doze off for a few moments while standing guard (giving birth to the famous English mistranslation "I FEEL ASLEEP" when they wake up), allowing the player to sneak past them. Given the graphical capacity of games in 1987, this trope is to be expected.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Enemies normally collapse when put to sleep by the M9's tranquilizer darts, but the US marines in the cargo holds of the tanker mission will remain ramrod straight.
  • In Persona 5 Strikers Yusuke falls asleep while leaning against the RV during a group meeting. Futaba and Ryuji immediately comment about the weird talent of their teammate.
  • In Piglet's Big Game, the tuba playing Heffalumps in Eeyore's dream are all shown like this before Piglet drops down in front of them and wakes them up. The other tuba playing Heffalumps in the game are always found lying down while asleep.
  • Pokémon: Ojou Erika is constantly falling asleep for no clear reason. This dates back to Pokémon Red and Blue. where she falls asleep mid-sentence while sitting down. It's most pronounced in the remake Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, where upon challenging Erika she'll doze off mid-sentence, still standing up at that. The most popular fan theories are that either spending a lot of time time around Grass-type Pokémon who know Sleep Powder is to blame or Erika is narcoleptic.
  • Clorica from Rune Factory 4 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.
  • Sims collapse on the spot if their Energy stat gets to zero, resorting to this trope if there happens to be an object behind them preventing them from falling over.
  • Sly Cooper: Various flashlight guards have a tendency to do this throughout the series, giving the player opportunities to sneak by them.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom: The Sleepyhead robots are found like this. You must sneak up on them without waking them unless you have the Bubble Cruiser.
  • Starbound: Tonouac, the caretaker of the Sovereign Temple, will fall asleep standing after giving the PC a very short tour, apparently due to the excitement of finally having a visitor. (The temple is one of the holiest places of the Kluex faith and is extremely restricted. There's not even any other clergy besides him.)
  • Tales of Symphonia starts with this trope as Lloyd did this during class while holding 2 buckets of water. It only took an offscreen Raine Sage throwing an eraser on Lloyd’s head to wake him up.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure, as part of Buster's Idle Animation, if you leave Buster alone long enough, he will fall asleep standing up.
  • Magister from Uncle Albert's Adventures always falls asleep while standing up.

    Visual Novels 
  • Similar to Erika from above, Chiaki Nanami from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has a tendency to randomly fall asleep while standing up, even if she's in the middle of a conversation. One possible reason for this is that since she's an AI, this could be her equivalent of buffering.
  • Cammy Meele from Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth constantly falls asleep, even when people are talking to her, dropping her head and letting her long hair fall in front of her face. When Edgeworth gets really serious about questioning her involvement in the murder he's investigating, she's immediately awake and alert, and tells him that she "wouldn't dream" of falling asleep on him.

    Web Comics 
  • Zera of Castoff, the most sleep-deprived elf there is, manages to fall asleep standing in a line for an appointment. He's woken up by a friendly guard.
  • NEXT!!! Sound of the Future: Shine is so exhausted after having fallen into a ravine that she falls asleep while still in standing position.
  • Hannelore manages this in strip 887 of Questionable Content after pulling an all-night drum-practice session.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: Bender, and by extension, all robots, prefer to sleep standing up in a room small enough to be a closet. Fry moves in with him and has to try doing the same thing in the same tiny, cramped space, until he discovers that the apartment has a "closet" the size of a normal apartment.
  • The third episode of Josie and the Pussycats In Outer Space has the group visit a planet where a city's inhabitants are all asleep, nearly all them standing upright. One is even bent over a water fountain, getting splashed in the face, snoring obliviously. This was the result of "purple dust," a powdered sedative delivered by the villain's allies as part of his Evil Plan.
  • Molly of Denali: In "Turn On the Northern Lights," Tooey falls asleep standing up during basketball practice because he stayed up late the previous night. Maurice's whistle startles him awake.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: This appears as a Furry Reminder when an exhausted Shining Armor falls asleep while standing.
  • Zero in Numberjacks falls asleep a lot because he's essentially a baby. He's nearly always upright before falling asleep, although sometimes he will lie down just before falling asleep.
  • Having spent a week helping Kiki with her recurring nightmare, Steven in the Steven Universe episode "Kiki's Pizza Delivery Service" ends up falling asleep while standing next to Jenny.
  • In the Tom and Jerry episode "Sleepy-Time Tom" (1951), Tom is found by his owner sleeping like this after a long night out with his pals.
  • Total Drama:
    • The end challenge of "The Big Sleep" is to be the last one to stay awake. Justin seems to be doing really well, standing around with his eyes wide open, until it's discovered that he's actually fast asleep. He's able to sleep standing upright and has painted his eyelids to look like he's got his eyes open and his head in the game. He gets complimented but also disqualified upon being found out.
    • Scott returns from exile to Boney Island in "No Egg-spects the Spanish Opposition" and is dead tired. He manages to stay awake for the trip to the Fun Zone, but once there, vicious mutants behind every bush and rock or not, he falls asleep upright not once but twice. The first time, it's during Chris's explanation of the day's challenge, so Chris grabs a microphone and shouts him awake. The second time, he takes a nap against a tree during the challenge. He is woken up by Courtney, with whom he subsequently teams up to steal mutant eggs.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: In "Crab Quakes," Mr. E suffered from Sleep Deprivation, and thus, fell asleep at his counter and his stand.

    Real Life 
  • Many animals, especially prey animals, can do this. It's advantageous to survival to be quick on your feet, even during rest. Horses are the most famous example but, contrary to popular belief, horses only nap standing up; they can't enter REM sleep unless they're laying down.
  • Various military authors, both factual and in embellished fiction, have said that if exhausted enough, it is possible for a soldier to fall asleep while marching. This might be an Urban Legend but these tales have been related at least since the Napoleonic Wars, and WW2-based fiction by people like Sven Hassel, or Embellished Autbiography by Guy Sajer, contend this is true. In one of Hassel's novels, the theory is that it is a sort of enhanced self-hypnosis in action.
  • This trope sometimes led to gruesome accidents in the Industrial Revolution, long before any sort of workplace safety protocols were established. Men and women often worked fourteen- or sixteen-hour shifts standing up manning heavy machinery, and would topple into them as they fell asleep.
  • Very much a true trope in the military, due to sometimes erratic and/or inadequate sleep schedules where someone standing watch can pass out on their feet. It also tends to elicit more empathy in others if noticed, leading to a wake up rather than being written up.
  • An apocryphal story of Alexander the Great tells of Alexander going for a walk in camp one night and finding a soldier asleep while standing watch. Alexander woke the soldier and demanded his name, to which the soldier replied that his name was also Alexander. The Great told the soldier to either change his name or change his conduct.


Video Example(s):


Acute Angled Sleep

Carly awakens to find that Bobby has slept while standing up overnight... leaning at an acute angle.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / FellAsleepStandingUp

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