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Sleep Aesop

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"If you don't get enough sleep, the body wears down and you run the risk of becoming very sick."
George "Papa" White, Hello Kitty, "Sleeping by Ourselves"

Everybody needs to sleep. Well, almost everybody. And many stories have morals— so logically, there are stories with a moral about getting enough sleep.

If the character on the receiving end of this Aesop is lucky, they'll just need to be taught this verbally, often for a plot that revolves around them getting ready for bed or a nap. If they're unlucky, though, they might have to learn this lesson via suffering the effects of Sleep Deprivation.

The character learning the lesson is often a young child, although you'll occasionally get older characters learning lessons like this too. It might also overlap with a lesson about moderation if the character is staying up late doing something they enjoy, which could lead to the trope New Media Are Evil if the thing they're staying up late doing involves modern technology.

Sometimes, the character tries to stay up late doing something for more practical reasons, such as making a schedule or doing something for school or work. In these cases, the lesson is often learned by having the character fail at being productive due to being sleep deprived.

Other times, the character doesn't really have an agenda and just avoids sleeping because they find it boring. In these instances, it's often resolved by another character pointing out the fact that dreams are interesting and that anything can happen in a dream and/or the fact that when you're sleep deprived, it's hard to enjoy anything.

Compare Insomnia Episode for another plot about sleep and compare A Weighty Aesop, Missed Meal Aesop, Disease-Prevention Aesop, and Anti-Alcohol Aesop for other lessons on health.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Hello Kitty: The episode "Sleeping by Ourselves", which is one of the "Growing Up with Hello Kitty" segments, involves the twins deciding to read their own bedtime stories to prevent their parents from missing out on sleep.
  • Pokémon: The Original Series: In the episode "The Song of Jigglypuff", Ash and his friends visit Neon Town, which is a city where no one seems to sleep. Most of the people in this city are grumpy and easily angered due to this lack of sleep. When Jigglypuff sings for the entire city and makes everyone fall asleep, they awake in better moods. This episode gives the lesson that a lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your mood, and that getting a good night's sleep will make you feel better emotionally.

    Fan Works 
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, the whole mess started because Kayaba Akihiko didn't get enough sleep. Kayaba spent three solid weeks without sleep to finish the titular game, and accidentally created a glitch that kills players. In his sleep deprived state, he decides that the best course of action is to pretend that it's his master plan. He realizes how badly he screwed up after he gets some sleep, but he can't go back without being arrested for all the people he got killed.

  • In the Ella Kazoo book "Ella Kazoo Will Not Go to Sleep", Ella would rather play than sleep even though it's bedtime, but when she meets pirates who are also preparing to go to bed, she accepts sleep as universal and goes to sleep herself.
  • Roys Bedoys: In “Don’t Stay Up Late, Roys Bedoys!”, Roys stays up late playing video games and ends up learning the importance of sleep when he becomes unable to study and then doesn’t grow as fast as his friends.
  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is an expert in curing children's bad habits, either with unconventional parenting techniques or with magical cures. The cure for children who don't want to go to bed and want to stay up all night is just to let them. The kids gradually discover that it sucks to be tired all the time during the day. There are two major events that push them to beg their parents to send them to bed early: they embarrass themselves when they fall asleep at a birthday party and they also fall asleep at the cinema, watching a movie they badly wanted to see.
  • Monkey Not Ready for Bedtime by Marc Brown, the creator of Arthur, has Monkey falling asleep at inopportune moments such as being Asleep in Class or on the playground due to not getting enough sleep at night. He finally learns how to calm down and get to sleep at night.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Little Pete and his friends stay awake for days in protest the seemingly-arbitrary imposition of bed times, a situation which soon spins out of control because the adults all treat this little rebellion like a disciplinary issue, which just makes the kids angrier. While the obvious lesson is that you do have to sleep, the secondary lesson is that adults sometimes need to explain why rules exist rather than just expecting their kids to follow them without question.
  • The Barney & Friends song "Everybody Needs a Nap" is about how all little kids and animals need to take naps.
    • Baby Bop tended to exit episodes to take her nap. A season 1 episode focusing on health pointed out to the older kids she already (if unknowingly) knew this lesson.
  • Throughout The Good Night Show, Star begs to stay up all night, but Nina tells him sleep is important.
  • LazyTown: The episode "Sleepless in LazyTown" is about Robbie Rotten finding out that people get stamina from sleep and so creating a "noisy ball" to keep Sportacus awake so that he would be tired and therefore lose a bet and have to leave town. Sportacus finds the ball and gets rid of it, so the plan doesn't work. The whole episode is meant to teach kids to get enough sleep.
  • Played for Drama in the Saved by the Bell: The New Class episode "The Young and the Sleepless", appropriately enough: Eric spends the whole episode trying to do multiple tasks (finishing his History class essay, learning the newest football tactic, selecting songs out of thousands in his own collection to perform for the Homecoming dance, and talking to his girlfriend at the time, whom he'd take to said dance) while getting by with barely enough sleep (if that) for days. In the end, he gets an F from his essay, he fails to stay focused for the game, resulting in the team losing the game, and, worst of all, he Drives Like Crazy when picking up his girlfriend (falling asleep behind the wheel at one point, barely avoiding collision with a vehicle from the opposing direction as a result) and crashes his car to the wall at the school ground when he fails to brake soon enough due to exhaustion, which, combined with the fact that he's already late for the dance to begin with, means that he won't be able to perform at the dance, though no one suffers from serious injuries or worse. Mr. Belding mentions at the end of the episode that thousands of teenagers die per year in car accidents due to sleep deprivation.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Yo Gabba Gabba!: In "Sleep," Plex tells Toodee that her body needs lots of rest so you can run fast when you play.
  • Tweenies: In "Bad Mood," Milo learns not to stay up late, but takes a nap at the end.
  • This was essentially the whole point of certain installments of The Pajanimals, especially the shorts, which included ones such as the "Ode to Sleep," also known as "Sleeping Makes Me Feel Alright."
    Hey, I want my body strong / I love to sleep all night / Sleeping makes me feel alright.
  • Sesame Street:
    • One episode reveals that even though the Bear family don't hibernate, they still need the extra sleep, so they take all-day naps for a few days each month. Baby Bear doesn't want to take his all-day nap and must accept that he needs to.
    • In one "Teeny Little Super Guy" skit, his friend Eugene doesn't want to sleep, so Teeny Little Super Guy tells Eugene that sleep is important and that dreams are entertaining.
    • In Ernie and Bert's sleep song, one lyric is "Sleep: it's what everyone in the world must do. Sleep, every boy and girl, every pigeon, too."
    • The song "Take a Rest" is about the importance of nap times, but it's rather unusual because it's sung by Bert, Grover, and Cookie Monster, who are supposed to be adults and (with the exception of possibly Grover) have never gotten tired from activity before.
  • The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: In "The Cat in the Hat Takes a Nap", Terrence McBird is feeling cranky, so the Cat in the Hat suggests that he take a cat nap. At first, Terrence refuses, because he is a bird, but with help from The Cat in the Hat and the Little Cats, he learns the importance of taking a nap. In the Wubbulous World, we see what the citizens of Seussville dream about, and Sarah Hall-Small meets the Yapper-nap, a creature who frightens everyone in Seussville with his scary appearance, but it turns out he is just tired, and Sarah sings him a lullaby to help him fall asleep.

    Web Videos 
  • Everyman HYBRID: An (implied) in-universe example, where the boys decided to do sleep experiments for their exercise and health show. Vinny and Jeff, specifically, were planning to miss several nights of sleep to see how they were affected, likely to teach their audience about the importance of getting good sleep. However, this was right around the time when events in their out-of-character reality became much more serious, and their attempts to make a health series petered out in favor of vlogs about their Slenderman experiences.

  • Aurora (2019): Kendal collapses and it's revealed that not only was he not sleeping, being the former vessel of a god and only having existed for a sef at this point he didn't realize he NEEDED to and Erin has to teach him how.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: The "Sonic Says" segment at the end of the episode, "Boogey Mania" has Tails tell Sonic that he wants to stay up past his bedtime to watch a late-night television show. Sonic allows Tails to do so, but warns him that he may be too tired to go hiking the next morning if he does. Sure enough, the next morning, Sonic is well-rested, but Tails is too tired to go hiking, so Sonic lets him rest, then tells the viewers that not getting enough sleep can leave them too tired to do the things they want to do.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The episode "Nightmares and Daydreams" sees Aang plagued by nightmares of his impending confrontation with the Firelord, prompting him to not only cut back sleep but also to keep on training and pushing himself in preparation for the battle. After a stint of embarrassing daydreams and Hallucinations, he finally learns his lesson and gets one last good night's rest before the Day of Black Sun.
  • Bugs Bunny Builders: In "Cheddar Days", Sylvester is tired and cranky when he is asked by the Looney Builders to paint a mural for a cheese-themed cafe for Ruthie and Gerdie. As a result, he finds it hard to concentrate on his mural, he accidentally paints Lola and Tweety when he tries to paint the tables, and he berates Bugs and Daffy for making too much noise when they test the cheese foam dispenser. When the Looney Builders ask him what's wrong, he tells them that he didn't get much sleep the night before. It is then revealed that Sylvester spent all of the night before working on a puzzle, and finished in the morning, barely getting any sleep before the Looney Builders asked for his assistance. Upon finding out about this, the Looney Builders decide to let Sylvester take a cat nap in his lift so that he will feel refreshed and can concentrate on his mural when he wakes up.
  • One episode of C-Bear and Jamal sees Jamal taking advantage of his dad being away on a trip to stay up late, wreaking havoc on his schoolwork. C-Bear finally uses his powers to show Jamal what will happen if he continues to stay up late every night.
  • In the Chuggington episode "Wake Up, Wilson", Wilson plays with Koko at night, leading to him not getting enough sleep and therefore bungling his job due to falling asleep on the job. It concludes with him learning the importance of sleep.
  • In the Clone High episode "Sleep of Faith: La Rue D'Awakening", Abe becomes sleep-deprived after Cleo makes him into her new errand boy, causing him to make increasingly poor decisions, until he accepts JFK's challenge to a drag race.
  • In the Doc McStuffins episode "Tea Party Tantrum", Doc and her friend Emmie stay up late and wake up spacey from sleep deprivation. Later, they catch up on sleep, but Susie Sunshine is sleep deprived from having her eyes glued open and this makes her uncharacteristically grumpy. The episode as a whole talks about the importance of getting enough sleep.
  • In The Fairly OddParents! episode "Beddy Bye", after Timmy gets tired of missing out on things happening after bedtime, he wishes that there'd be no sleep, and witnesses the city's late night activities. A few weeks pass, and Timmy notices that everyone was getting tired, cranky, and ugly, even his fairy godparents, and the Mattress King, who is really The Sandman is losing his business and is shrinking. So Timmy goes to him to unwish the wish, and does so, but not before the Mattress King teaches Timmy a lesson by making him lose sleep for a week, rendering him butt ugly.
  • Muppet Babies (2018): In "Summer's Big Kerfloofle", Summer Penguin doesn't want to take a nap like the rest of the babies during nap time. Miss Nanny tells her that she needs to take her nap, or else she won't have the energy she needs to play. When Bunsen and Beaker bring a crate of green tomatoes from the planet Floofadelphia, an alien creature called a Floofle stows away in their crate. Summer befriends the Floofle, and chooses to play with it instead of taking her nap, but Bunsen warns her to stop playing with the Floofle if it turns red. When Summer continues to play with the Floofle after it turns red, the Floofle multiplies, waking the other babies from their nap. Summer finds out from Bunsen that the only way to get the Floofle back to being just one green one is to get it to calm down and take a nap. By the time she does so, nap time is over and she's too tired to play.
  • In the My Friends Tigger & Pooh episode "Tigger's Bedtime for Bouncer", Tigger doesn't see the point of sleeping and stays up all night bouncing, which makes him all sleepy when trying to be a detective, so Darby and Pooh try to get him to take a nap.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "A Health of Information", Zecora catches a disease called swamp fever. Fluttershy tries to look for the cure but her attempts to find it include missing out on sleep. Twilight tries to convince her to get some sleep but Fluttershy doesn't listen and ends up getting swamp fever herself.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Fear of a Krabby Patty", Mr. Krabs has Spongebob work 24-hours a day without break, Spongebob becomes extremely sleep deprived and ends up with a phobia of Krabby Patties. He gets better after he manages to fall asleep. This is implied to be an Aesop because Spongebob mentions that all he needed was sleep and Mr. Krabs allows him to sleep (albeit for only an hour).


Video Example(s):


Big Bird's Health Tip

Big Bird gets pep and energy from sleeping in his nest; if you follow his foolproof bedtime routine, you'll get lots of pep and energy, too!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SleepAesop

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