Literary Sleep Characters

10 sleepy literary characters you can’t help but love

In a world that celebrates early-risers, it takes guts to be the one who loves to hit the snooze button. Whether they’re dreamy, sleep-deprived or just plain lazy, these 10 literary sleep characters are heroes in the shut-eye cause, and we love them for it.

Sleepy the Dwarf

Named and personified by Walt Disney in the 1937 feature film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Sleepy and his six best buds take in Snow White and do their darnedest to protect her from the wicked queen.

Why We Love This Literary Sleep Character: Undeniable cuteness—his long white beard doubles as his blankie.

The Dormouse

Drowsy as he is at the Mad Tea Party in Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Dormouse nonetheless spins a charming if unfinished tale about two sisters who live at the bottom of a well.

Why We Love This Literary Sleep Character: He’s the only nice guy at the table, tolerating repeated pinches from the March Hare and Mad Hatter, as well as repeated interruptions from Alice.

10 Literary Sleep Characters - Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

As depicted in the timeless tale by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault, Sleeping Beauty is beautiful, a princess and cursed to sleep for 100 years.

Why We Love This Literary Sleep Character: She gets a bad rap for being the ultimate passive heroine. But who doesn’t love a happy ending?

Rip Van Winkle

In the classic short story by Washington Irving, the lazy but popular man-about-village goes AWOL instead of doing his chores, drinks with some guys in the woods and presto-change-o, it is 20 years later.

Why We Love This Literary Sleep Character: Most effective procrastination tactic ever!

Sleepy Jean

We’ve been singing the Monkees’ Daydream Believer since we were kids, but who has ever really considered Sleepy Jean till now?

Why We Love This Literary Sleep Character: Not only is Jean the homecoming queen, she gets to sleep in while her white knight gets up, shaves and goes to work. Do we love her? Or are we just envious?

Care Bear Bedtime Bear

One of the original Care Bears, baby-blue Bedtime never stops yawning, but never sleeps on the job either.

Why We Love This Literary Sleep Character: He’s a superhero, watching over the sleeping denizens of Care-a-Lot, and stomping out nightmares as he goes.

The Sandman

Not to be confused with the comic book series, the original Sandman is the folkloric character responsible for pleasant dreams and a good night’s sleep. He’s a close relative of the Scottish Wee Willie Winkie and of Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams.

Why We Love This Literary Sleep Character: For keeping us both entertained and rested all night long.

Garfield the Cat

Hero of the most popular syndicated comic strip in the world, Jim Davis’s lazy and sarcastic orange feline loves naps, lasagna and his teddy bear…but not much else.

Why We Love This Literary Sleep Character: That air of superiority makes him a diva in disguise. And who can resist a diva?

Literary Sleep Character - Books

Mickey from In the Night Kitchen

In the book by Maurice Sendak, Mickey is roused from sleep by a racket and falls “through the dark and out of his clothes and past the moon and his mama and papa sleeping tight” until he arrives in the night kitchen. There he finds bakers who look an awful lot like Oliver Hardy — every one of them hard at work on the morning cake.

Why We Love This Literary Sleep Character: He’s adorable. Plus we want to have his dreams.

Peter Fox

Sleep is second only to pizza in the pantheon of 16-year-old Peter in the comic strip Foxtrot by Bill Amend. Told by his mom in late summer that he ought to start adjusting his sleeping habits for school, he tells her he has a plan. He’s going to get up 2 hours later every day until at last he’s arising at 6:30 a.m.

Why We Love This Literary Sleep Character: Because he is brilliant.

Written by Martha Freeman

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