Not Quite the Sleeping Beauty: Sleep Disorders Found in Disney Films

June 17, 2015

Snow White

We all know that sleeping disorders such as insomnia is prevalent in films. Trevor Reznik of “The Machinist” suffered severe weight loss because of his lack of sleep. No amount of foam in the world could cure The Narrator’s insomnia in “Fight Club”. And pretty much everyone in the “Nightmare in Elm Street” series bought insomnia upon their poor little selves.

So there are lot of sleep-deprived characters in standard Hollywood pictures, but did you know that even our favorite Disney icons are not safe from some pretty nasty sleeping disorders? From cute canines to delightful dwarfs, below are Disney characters that have troubles with the sweetness of slumber.

REM SLEEP BEHAVIOR DISORDER

Sleeping Cat

Also called dream-enacting behavior, this particular sleeping disorder physically acts out vivid and often unpleasant dreams via sounds coupled with sudden and often violent arm and leg movements.

REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is when we are at our deepest slumber, so we don’t move during this stage of sleep. What makes this such a bizarre disorder is how your body can physically react to it. Often associated with neurological conditions like Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple system atrophy, REM Sleep Behavior Disorder is usually treated with Clonazepam.

Here are known Disney characters with REM Sleep Behavior Disorder:

Bruno (Cinderella)

  • Bruno (Cinderella, 1950)

Bruno is Cinderella’s trusted dog and his diagnosis of RBD was observed by Spanish neurologist, Alex Iranzo. In one scene, Bruno can be seen barking and jerking his body while fast asleep. If you’ve seen “Cinderella”, it’s clear that Bruno dreaming of chasing Lucifer, the household cat and his sworn enemy.

Trusty (Lady and the Tramp)

  • Trusty (Lady and the Tramp, 1955)

Somewhere along the classic film, we see Trusty dreaming of chasing a criminal through the swamps. Trusty’s eyes were closed and his body asleep but he was growling, sniffing around, and moving his paws as he drags himself across the floor.

Chief (The Fox and the Hound)

  • Chief (The Fox and the Hound, 1981)

While asleep in a barrel, Chief talks, howls, moans, moves his paws and head, kicks, and even laughs! Copper and Tod had seen Chief do this before; the former believed that he was waking up while the latter corrected Copper by observing that Chief is acting out his dream of hunting a fox and a big old badger.

CHRONIC HYPERSOMNIA

Sleepy (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)

Hypersomnia, also referred to as excessive sleepiness, is a sleep disorder where a person has trouble staying awake during the day. People with hypersomnia can fall asleep at any given time – examples include during work hours or while on the steering wheel.

The most famous Disney character with chronic hypersomnia is the adorable Sleepy from Disney’s 1937 animated feature film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering his name! If you’ve seen this timeless classic, you’ll notice that his eyelids are always drooping, his mouth often yawning, and then eventually falling asleep involuntarily.

SNORING

Snoring

Sleeping with a snorer can bring many frustrating nights, but take pity because the snoring may be a symptom of something worse. Snoring is a common condition that can affect anyone, although men and overweight people are more prone to it.

Snoring in itself is not a serious matter, especially if you only do it occasionally. It’s a different matter though if you are a habitual snorer because not only do you disrupt the sleep patterns of others, but you also disrupt the quality of your own sleep. Snoring can also be a sign of sleep apnea, which increases the risks for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Here a few Disney characters who tends to snore come sleepy time:

Pinocchio

  • Geppetto and Cleo (Pinocchio, 1940)

Remember how Jiminy Cricket had a hard time catching those precious Zzz’s from the snores of Gepetto and Cleo? I’m sure we’ve all related to that scenario a few times in our lives.

Seven Dwarfs

  • 5 of the Seven Dwarfs (Snow White, 1937)

Majority of the seven dwarfs snore loudly, which probably explains why Grumpy is always so, well, grumpy! The poor guy is probably always sleep-deprived!

While all the fictional characters we listed ended up doing fine, sleeping disorders are no joke in reality. So, if you are experiences any of these disorders, be sure to have yourself checked. You’d be doing more for yourself than just guaranteeing a good night’s sleep.