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File:Sleepwatching.jpg
"I like you watching me sleep. I miss it."
Raven doing a very bad job at letting Beast Boy know that she's not interested, Teen Titans

This is a romantic trope where one half of the couple or potential couple falls asleep and the other one winds up watching them. Sometimes they initially consider waking the sleeping person up, but decide against it upon seeing just how cute and peaceful they look. Very often a soft, tender smile passes over the watcher's face, giving the viewer a hint of their affection towards the slumberer. Hair and/or skin-stroking may also ensue, as well as a Comforting Comforter.

Not to be confused with the type of behavior stalkers frequently partake in. If it's played for a creepy, disturbing effect rather than a sweet and romantic one, it does not belong here. (Although with some works it can be hard to tell.)

May lead to a Dude, She's Like, in a Coma moment. Compare Sleep Cute. See also Longing Look.

Examples of Beautiful Dreamer include:


Anime and Manga

  • Full Metal Panic: Happens how many times to Sousuke? First, apparently Tessa got into a habit of creeping out of her bed and watching him happily while he sleeps. And then, Kaname gets her turn when she's giving him a haircut, and he falls asleep. Instead of waking him immediately, she stares longingly at him (er, his lips, that is). And then it's implied that a whole group of guerillas that used to be his comrades did this to him while he was sleeping - he was so pretty, apparently all of them were watching him and getting close to jumping him. This includes Zaeid, who is shown in a flashback to have been lovingly watching Sousuke as he sleeps.
  • Howl of Howls Moving Castle watches Sophie sleep after a hard day's work cleaning. Of course, he's also motivated by the fact that it's the only time the aging spell cast on her by the Witch of the Waste wears off, revealing her true age.
  • In Fruits Basket, Shigure watches Akito sleep in a slightly creepy way.
    • In a more platonic sense, Tohru watches Kisa, Hiro, and Momiji all sleeping together on the floor.
  • Invoked in Darker Than Black when Amber deemed the scene of Hei watching his sleeping sister romantic-looking. Then again, for Amber he looks as romantic as possible in any situation.
  • Subverted in Bleach, in which Yoruichi lays her head on Soi Fon's lap. With red petals. During the full moon. Yeah. They're both girls.
    • In the UNMASKED comic, Orihime says she watched Ulquiorra nap. Possibly enforced, or subverted, by the fact that she watched him sleep because she didn't know he could.
  • In Battle Royale, Shuya is shown to watch Noriko while she sleeps here. Of course, she likes him more than he does towards her at this point... but nonetheless, he still has a crush on her.
  • In Sakura Gari, Masataka ends up falling asleep on Souma's shoulder during their carriage ride back to Souma's residence. Due to Masataka being a Beautiful Dreamer, Souma instructs the coachman to take the long way, since he suddenly doesn't feel like going back.
  • In Berserk, Jill (the village girl from the Fairy Arc) does this to Guts when she finds him sleeping in a wrecked, abandoned house. She ends up sitting next to him, watching him sleep until she falls asleep on his lap. Of course, she does have a huge crush on him.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club Haruhi finds Tamaki asleep in the music room, exhausted by his new after-school activity of learning about the Suoh family business. She watches him sleep, pushes his hair out of his face, and thinks his sleep talk is cute.
  • In Wild Ones, Sachie sees Rakuto sleeping a couple of times and comes closer to realizing her genuine affection for him.
  • Ciel Phantomhive from Black Butler. Subverted in that everyone seems to like watching him sleep, so it can be taken in a non-romantic way as well.
  • In episode 15 of Tenshi ni Narumon, Raphael explains to Mikael that the reason he didn't wake him up was because he got lost in admiration of his cute sleeping face.
  • At the end of Wild Rose Mikhail falls asleep on Kiri's shoulder which shows he's changing from his old, distant self.
  • This occurs frequently with Kaoru in Virgin Love and its sequels because he can only sleep well when Daigo's around, leaving Daigo to just watch him.
  • In an extra chapter of Natsume Yuujinchou, a girl from Natsume's middle school comes across him inexplicably sleeping on the steps of a shrine. She gets close enough to notice that the (supposedly) disturbed boy from her class is quite pretty. And then he wakes up and freaks the hell out.
  • Inuyasha and Kagome both see each other sleeping at one time or another. Well, okay, a couple of times.
    • Each one remains surprised at how peaceful/beautiful/defenseless/whatever the other looks no matter how many times they see each other asleep.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Bulma watched a sleeping Vegeta suffer through nightmares with concern as she nursed him back to health. It is implied that this (and seeing through his Jerkass Facade) eventually led to their Relationship Upgrade during the Time Skip.
  • The final opening of Fullmetal Alchemist:Brotherhood has Winry watching Ed sleep, bathed in sunlight. Compared to his near constant anger in his waking state, he's smiling as he dreams.
  • Rosario to Vampire: Kurumu certainly thinks Tsukune's one.
  • In chapter 13 of Pandora Hearts Gilbert watches Oz sleep.
  • Rolo of Code Geass once watched over Lelouch while he slept.
  • Happens twice in Boys Love Genre FAKE. First when Ryo falls ill and Dee watches him sleep leading to a Dude He's Like in A Coma moment. The second time is when Dee is ill, falls asleep and Ryo watches over him. Ryo says to himself that he thinks Dee is "pretty hot too".

Comic Books

  • An Empowered comic has Thugboy describing the way he comforts Elissa when she's having a nightmare as he does it.
  • Played with in the Catwoman miniseries When In Rome (the conclusion to The Long Halloween). Selina is rendered briefly comatose after being frozen by an ice gun stolen from Mr. Freeze. The Riddler (whom she brought along to help piece together the mystery of her parentage) watched her the whole 3 days she was unconscious, which Selina initially thought was very kind of him, until he adds, "Of course, getting you out of the outfit was hardly unpleasant."
  • There is one point in the current run of Teen Titans when Beast Boy resists the urge to wake Raven because of this. She admits that she liked it, but she's still not interested. Yeah, sure.
  • Spoofed, naturally, in an early issue of Deadpool. Deadpool watches his X-men girlfriend Syren sleep through her bedroom window. He thinks how what he's doing used to be considered romantic, but nowdays is considered "stalking" and generally frowned upon.

Fan Fiction

  • This gets used a lot in fanfiction, romantic and pornographic.

Film

  • Happens in Disney's Enchanted, when Robert is about to throw Giselle out of his apartment, but changes his mind when he sees her sleeping serenely on his couch.
  • In the movie The Painted Veil, Kitty stumbles upon Walter who has fallen asleep at his desk. This marks the point in the movie where she does start to feel affection towards him. The scene isn't in the original novel, however, and there's generally less of an indication that she has any feelings for him in the novel.
  • Pictured above: In the first Terminator film, Kyle Reese gently strokes Sarah Connor's hair and watches her while she's sleeping in his arms.
  • Slightly averted in Blade Runner, when Deckard, fearing Rachael was killed by Gaff in her sleep, cries and kisses her when he hears her breathing.
  • What a Girl Wants has a (hopefully non-sexual) scene in which Colin Firth sees Amanda Bynes sleeping.
  • Sunshine has a scene in which Capa wakes from a nightmare to find Cassie in his room, presumably having been watching him sleep.
    • Deleted scenes stated that Capa and Cassie were in fact sleeping together, which would give a better reasoning for her being in his room watching him.
  • Wimbledon has Kirsten Dunst watching Paul Bettany sleep.
  • The Break-Up has Gary find his now ex-girlfriend Brooke asleep in their condo's living room. He watches her for a moment, smiles, and then makes his exit instead of waking her up.
  • In The Ice Pirates when Jason first sees Princess Karina she is sleeping. He leaves her asleep after being rudely interrupted just as he was about to grope her breasts, then comes back for her before the pirates leave her ship.
  • In Don Juan Demarco there's a sweet little bit where Dr. Mickler keeps watch over the peacefully slumbering 'Don Juan'.
  • In the second Hellboy movie Hellboy and Abe are looking at a sleeping Liz after they've had a beer or three.

 Hellboy: Look at her. She's it, Abe. She's it. She's my whole wide... You know?

Abe Sapien: Yeah. Yeah.

Hellboy: I would give my life for her. But she also wants me to do the dishes.

Abe Sapien: I would die and do the dishes.

  • Played for creepiness in Animal Kingdom. Pope carries the teenage girlfriend of his brother to bed, then lingers and stares at her as she sleeps. The brother catches him looking at her, prompting Pope to hastily leave.

Literature

  • Twilight tries to invoke this trope with Edward sneaking into Bella's house at night to watch her sleep, but since he's actually sneaking into her house at night to watch her sleep, the effect sort of backfires.
    • It fits better with this after Bella and Edward are actually in a relationship, and she allows him to snuggle with her every night and watch her sleep.
    • It should also be noted that Edward is fascinated by humans sleeping, since it's been nearly a century since he last slept.
      • And Bella, once she becomes a vampire, understands how beautiful sleepers are when looking at their daughter
  • The protagonist of Beggars in Spain who doesn't sleep ends up doing this multiple times. Her boyfriend jokingly accuses her of having a fetish for it.
  • Katsa admires Po this way at least once in Graceling. Of course, after making sure he's really asleep.
    • This being because while he's awake he can hear her thoughts.
  • Bones from the Night Huntress books thinks that Cat is cute when she's sprawled on the bed snoring with her mouth open and hogging all the covers.
  • Luke Skywalker, in Vision of the Future, watched Mara Jade sleep while trying to convince himself that he couldn't love her. Three guesses how that turned out!
    • In an earlier book, Splinter of the Minds Eye, he woke up while camping with Leia and looked at her while asleep, tempted to kiss her. Fortunately this ended differently, and he vowed instead to protect her from everything.
  • Happens in The Trumpet of the Swan. The main (swan) character watches his main (swan) love interest sleep, and contemplates what song to play to wake her up. He picks Beautiful Dreamer, the trope namer.
  • There's a charming scene in Gaudy Night in which Harriet Vane watches over Lord Peter Wimsey after he falls asleep in their punt. In the narration, author Dorothy L. Sayers even points out that one must love someone for the sight of them sleeping to inspire tenderness rather than mockery.

Live Action TV

  • An important part of Minbari courtship in Babylon 5, and something of a final test: The female watches her prospective husband while he sleeps, to see what he is like when at his most peaceful and vulnerable. If she doesn't like what she sees, she can end the relationship right there.
    • Naturally, the way we learned about this was when Delenn explained it to Sheridan. She liked what she saw.
  • Pushing Daisies has an instance where they're already a couple - Ned watches Chuck sleep in the bed next to his, and when she wakes up she asks if he was watching her sleep, and he says watching her sleep and wake up is like seeing her come back to life again. However, it turns out that this is a Dream Sequence, and when Ned actually wakes up and sees Chuck wake up, she asks him if he was watching her sleep. He dodges the question because he doesn't want to repeat dialogue from the dream.
  • In the Scrubs episode, "My Nightingale" Dr. Cox realizes he likes his ex-wife again when he catches himself watching her sleep.

 Dr. Cox: I like you...again. There, you win. You can ahead and do your victory dance or slaughter a goat or whatever it is you do when you're happy.

Jordan: You don't like me.

Dr. Cox: I watch you when you sleep.

Jordan: Well that just gives me the heebie-jeebies.

  • Angel manages to watch Buffy sleep both in the cute way and in the stalkery way, albeit on different sides of a Face Heel Turn.
    • Spike watches Buffy when she is asleep in his arms in the episode "Touched".
      • This one needs a bit more explanation to be appreciated as the Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and character development that it is. When this happens, Buffy has been chased out of her house by her friends and her own sister. To comfort herself, she let herself sleep in the arms of the guy with which she had a self-destructive purely sexual relationship not more than a year prior that ended up in her being almost raped by him. To make it even more poignant, during this time, Willow was having sex with Kennedy, Xander was having sex with Anya and Faith was having sex with Robin Wood.
        • Worth noting that Spike was soulless when he tried to rape her but had had his soul restored by this point, making the moment much sweeter and much less disturbing.
  • At the end of the X-Files episode "all things", Scully falls asleep on Mulder's couch while they talk; he looks lovingly at her for a moment before tucking a lock of hair behind her ear and covering her with the blanket on the back of his couch. Adorable.
  • In the Alias episode "Salvation," Sydney wakes to Vaughn watching her sleeping while they are both being held under quarantine.
  • In The Vampire Diaries Elena does this to Stefan (the vampire). He calls it creepy, while she defends it as being romantic. Almost certainly a Take That to Twilight.
    • Damon has watched Elena sleep, he even reached a hand out to tenderly strope her face.
  • Merlin. Despite the rampant amount of Ho Yay in the show, it is actually the Platonic Life Partners Merlin and Guinevere who end up doing this to each other. In an early episode Gwen nurses Merlin while he's in a fever, and Merlin later repays the favor by lending her his bed after her father is killed and stays all day with her, just watching and waiting as she sleeps off her exhaustion.
    • Toward the end of series four Guinevere is injured in the forest; once again Merlin stays by her side all night, watching her sleep.
    • In a late season two episode the entire kingdom is put under a sleeping spell. Arthur finds Guinevere on the floor, moves her to a bed and watches her for a few moments. Extra points for brushing a curl off her face.
    • Tristan watches Isolde sleep after she's been injured in a sword-fight.
  • In Being Human, Nina wakes up in one episode to find George watching her. He confesses that he loves watching her sleep. Nina replies that that was sweet, though creepy.

Music

  • "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (also known as "The Armageddon Theme Song") by Aerosmith is about this.
  • The Trope Namer, "Beautiful Dreamer", written by Stephen Foster.
  • Also Queensryche's "Silent Lucidity".
  • REM's "You Are the Everything".
  • Emerson Lake and Palmer's acoustic ballad "Watching Over You". It's a pretty generic take on the subject (what else would one expect from Greg Lake?), so it can easily apply to either guy-love interest or parent-offspring. The second interpretation seems slightly less prone to causing Fridge Squick.
  • The song "En Sólo Un Segundo" by Amaral.
  • "Song for a Sleeping Girl" by Devics.

Mythology

Radio

  • In the Torchwood radio drama "The Dead Line", Ianto watches over Jack while the latter is in a coma and reminisces about how he likes to watch Jack smiling in his sleep in his Tearjerker monologue.

Video Games

  • In Persona 3, Aigis (Robot Girl) watches the (male) main character sleep at more than one point.
    • She doesn't just watch him sleep, she picks the lock of his room (and has gotten good enough to time her improvement) and watches him all night; making sure his pillow is fluffed, etc. It would be creepy if she weren't utterly and completely innocent.
    • At the very end of the game, it looks like the story is going to invoke the trope absolutely straight... but the sleep he's falling into is final.
      • Note that all of the above is also applicable to the female protagonist in Portable. Les Yay ahoy. A New Game+ will let you choose who gets to be with you at the end, for both genders.
  • If Leliana is successfully romanced in Dragon Age, the scene after she and the PC consummate their relationship will have her doing this.
    • Also happens in a romance with Alistair. After he and the PC spend their first night together, there is a brief shot of the PC sleeping and Alistair watching her with a look of tender affection.
  • In Xenogears, Elly tells Fei that she watched him sleep through the whole night after their love scene.
  • Breath of Fire IV features this briefly at the beginning of Act 3, where a very exhausted Ryu sleeps with his head on Nina's lap. Made jarring, however, when you learn why Ryu was like that in the first place...
  • If you romance Aerie in the second Baldur's Gate game (and provided you don't screw it up), there'll come a point where she'll admit to having watched you sleep the night before and how it made her feel safe doing so.

Web Comics

Western Animation

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