The Worst Sleep Scenes From Movies That Can Be Devastating in Real Life!

Estimated read time 6 min read


Sleep scenes in movies are the worst. Either they conjure up feelings of sleep inadequacy (because the “I woke up like this” look is so not realistic, right?), or they leave us feeling full of dread because we’ve committed a sleep crime like that too. The fact is, movies aren’t real life (in some ways, thank goodness!). But if we switch the screens and pretend for a moment that they were, what effect would these scenes have on our sleep? Let’s find out. 

Rolling cameras, and…bad sleep action! 

The Proposal

Scene: Where Andrew sleeps on the floor at his parents’ house in Alaska

If you haven’t found the time to see the 2009 film The Proposal yet, spoiler alert! In the movie, Canadian, Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock), executive editor-in-chief of a publishing company in New York, convinces her assistant (and future love-of-her-life) Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her, so she can stay in the U.S. after violating the terms of her work VISA. To make their relationship seem real, they go to Sitka, Alaska, to visit his family for the weekend.

To avoid any awkward intimacy at bedtime, Andrew opts to sleep on the floor. (And damn, does he make it look comfortable!).

What would it mean in real life?

We’ve all been there, throwing back to varsity days or being a new parent so full of sleep deprivation that the floor seems like the most comfortable surface in that moment of z’s. But did you know that the floor isn’t as bad as it seems? (Sort of.) There are some benefits to sleeping on the floor. It could be good for correcting your posture, but if you are not used to it, like Andrew, chances are you won’t get the best sleep. If you get any sleep at all.

Dumb and Dumber

Scene: The scene where Lloyd dreams about Mary (while driving).

There has to be a prize for the best dream scene in a movie, and we bet this scene would clean up! While driving, Lloyd (Jim Carrey) slips into a dream about his love interest, and goodness is it detailed! Vivid dreams tend to be intense, and they can feel really realistic because they occur in the REM cycle of sleep. These often last around 20 to 25 minutes and can feel like a long-drawn-out movie. But, there’s just one thing we can’t get over: the man is driving!

What would it mean in real life?

We’ll let you mull this one over… sleeping while operating any type of machinery is a recipe for disaster. If you’re feeling sleepy while driving you should pull over and find a safe place to nap before continuing on your journey. Not wait for (like this scene) a pair of oncoming car lights to wake you up. 

The Holiday

Scene: Where Amanda is eating (and drinking) in Iris’ bed on her first night of the house-swap. (Instead of sleeping off the jetlag).

We don’t know about you, but after flying 11 hours (business class aside), we’re definitely feeling the effects of jetlag. And after a full bottle of wine (cue supermarket scene), we’re well on our way to sleepville. But not Amanda (Cameron Diaz), who merrily uses her bed as a restaurant and instead of syncing into her new timezone, fights through the effects with more alcohol…

What would it mean in real life?

Fending off the effects of jetlag takes time, but trying to sync into your new timezone is the most important first step – without the assistance of alcohol and junk food to induce a sleep coma. Liquids, such as water, and foods full of vitamins can help keep your immune system rebooted and help rejuvenate your body. So if you want to settle into your new holiday or work zone quickly, don’t be like Amanda. 

Home Alone

Scene: the scene where the McCallister family all sleep through their alarms.

On the eve of a family trip to Paris, Kevin McCallister (Macauley Culkin) fights with his brother at dinner and is exiled to the attic. That night, heavy winds play havoc with the power lines, and the McCallister family oversleeps. Cue the morning scene where they scramble to get out the door and make their flight, they forget about Kevin in the attic and leave him behind. Luckily, Kevin saves the day.

What would it mean in real life?

If you’ve slept through an alarm then you know the panic that quickly sets in (and yes, it does sometimes look like this scene). But what exactly causes you to sleep through your alarm? First up, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. You need between 7-9 hours of shut-eye each night. Other reasons why you’re hitting the snooze button could be a disrupted sleep pattern or a sleep disorder. But, even though sleeping through your alarm is alarming, as a parent, we doubt you’ll ever leave a child behind. Yes, we’re looking at you, McCallisters.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Scene: when Holly Golightly is awakened by a phone call after a late night on the town.

She’s spent the night partying and is woken up with a phone call, her cat on her back, and her sleep eye masks on. But one thing we can’t miss is the perfect face of makeup underneath. Firstly, how? And secondly, we fail to believe someone as glamorous as herself wouldn’t take off her makeup before bed. 

What would it mean in real life?

We get it, sometimes after a late night, the will to take off one’s “face” is far gone. But then our chances of waking up looking like we’ve stepped off a runway are also extremely slim. (Especially after a few the night before).

Not only is sleeping with makeup bad for your skin, but it also promotes aging. The term ‘beauty sleep” can definitely be associated with the 1950s – 60s screen queens (because “they woke up like this”) but beauty sleep is in fact the time where your skin (during sleep) rejuvenates, promotes collagen, and restores cells. Wearing makeup blocks this process, drying out your skin. And adding alcohol consumption from the night before? Well, that’s just a dehydrated skin disaster. 

So, although these scenes aren’t real life, they do make us realize the importance of good sleep, and how important our sleep habits are.

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