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The only thing worse than waking up and having to go to school is waking up and being in school.

High school 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.

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.

Examples of Asleep in Class include:


Anime & Manga

  • Ayanes 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.
  • 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 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. She even falls asleep in the opening! Yukari is not happy about it.
      • Yukari herself is just as guilty of it as Osaka!
  • In Ichigo Mashimaro, 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.
  • 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.

  • Motoko falls asleep during a test in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time because she had been jumping through time so much her body-clock was messed up.
  • Kekkaishi: Yoshimori has monster-fighting duties every night, so he sleeps in class (and naps on the roof during breaks) practically every day.
  • 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.
  • Yonekuni in Love Pistols tends to do this most of the year; justified because of his reptile-like body temperature system.
  • 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.)
  • Kiba wakes up from sleeping in class in one flashback in Naruto 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Web Comic


Comic Books

  • One time (or maybe more) Jughead painted eyeballs on his eyelids so he could sleep in class and look like he wasn't sleeping.
  • 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!" Popular Problems by Ron Hauge in the July 1984 issue, thanks to the Internet Archive.


Literature

  • Sharie in Wayside School is always asleep in class. Mrs. Jewls doesn't mind—she believes Sharie learns better that way.
  • The Animorphs have this happen to them on occasion. Marco seems to make a habit of it.
  • In the 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.


Live-Action TV

  • 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.
  • In the Law and Order episode, "Indifference," a little girl appears to be sleeping after class is dismissed, but the teacher discovers to her horror that the girl is actually unconscious, and dying from terrible child abuse wounds.
  • 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".
  • The ending of one Monk episode has Randy Disher, after resuming duty as a cop after solving his uncle's murder, deciding to sleep after receiving an assignment in order to "find out how it was done", referring to how he solved his uncle's murder (in reality, Monk fed him the answer while the latter was asleep in order to boost his confidence due to Disher being in a slump over possible incompetence over his cop duties in the beginning of the episode, hence why he resigned earlier).

Newspaper Comics

  • Peppermint Patty from Peanuts 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.
  • Happens to Paige in FoxTrot, using ping-pong balls cut in half to fake having her eyes open.
  • Big Nate, often.


Video Games

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Escape From St Marys: The game opens with such a scene.
  • In Adventures of Tom Sawyer, you do this in the opening.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Hisao falls asleep in class in one scene in Rin's route, which begins with him being woken up by Mutou.


Western Animation

  • 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 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.
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