Sleeping During a Movie = Sleep Deprived

My fiance cannot watch a movie without falling asleep within the first 15 minutes. I’m starting to wondering if she has a rare movie-related sleep disorder.
I’ll get everything set up just right. Her favorite blanket is sprawled out on the couch right in her favorite spot, which also happens to be my favorite spot. We fill the room up with pillows and the coffee table is stocked full of snacks. I have prepared the ultimate movie experience. We’ve spent close to an hour picking the perfect movie and it is cued up on the screen waiting to launch. I coyly ask her if she needs a cup of coffee and she brushes it off promising that she won’t fall asleep.

Fat chance.

It doesn’t take long before I look over and see her eyes are shut, mouth is open, and she’s snoring ever-so softly. I give her a nudge and tell her to wake up to which she volleys back with her usual claims that she wasn’t sleeping. Refusing to acknowledge what we both know to be one of her worst habits. Everyone knows that person. The “I was just resting my eyes” person. They are borderline narcoleptics and consistently in denial.

This is a cinephile’s worst nightmare!

Curiously enough, it always seems that this person hasn’t seen a lot of really great movies. This friend constantly complains that they You recommend your friend a great movie, sit down with them to watch it, and soon thereafter you find yourself watching it alone as your companion snoozes away. You are left sitting there wondering why you bothered and if you should just turn it off or wake them up. They would want you to wake them right? I will usually wake the person once. A quick shake or nudge. If that doesn’t do it, then I let them snore while I enjoy the film all alone.
Part of me completely understands. I know that people are tired from their long, busy days. Then you come home and put on your comfiest clothes. The lights are turned down really low. The room is dark and cozy. To prepare for an hour or two of movie watching, you relax deep into a big, soft couch. Maybe with blankets or pillows. How could you not doze off?
Studies say that this phenomenon could be due to posture. When the movie snoozer relaxes into position, the head and neck muscles loosen up and triggers a signal to the brain. The brain then activates whats called the secondary wake drive, telling the body it’s time to sleep.
Basically, your body has been conditioned to feel sleepier when your body is in a relaxing positio>n. Your brain recognizes that your muscles are relaxing and that your body is ready to be rejuvenated. Your body is very similar to large computer system. When you are idle and relaxed for too long, it decides to tell the rest of the body that it needs to go into sleep mode.
It is also possible that your friend or significant other is experiencing a Pavlov’s dog type scenario. If they watch TV in bed right before they go to sleep, this could be a good reason for why movies ignite their sleepy spark. They are associating the movies or TV with falling asleep. Now when they relax into a couch to watch a movie, their body thinks it’s time to go to sleep.

If you are a fellow movie fanatic that is having trouble getting their significant other to stay awake for a movie, I have put together some tips for you to attempt at home.

  1. Start the movie as early as possible. Six or seven o’clock, just after dinner is the sweet spot to get the most out of an avid movie sleeper. The earlier you start that movie the better. If you need to, start watching while you are eating dinner. Waiting until midnight is sure to leave you disappointed.
  2. Make a pot of coffee. Have it readily available on the table with a nice mug and some of your friend or partners favorite treats. If you’re lucky, they’ll take the hint and guzzle it down!
  3. Keep the lights on. It’s not the ideal movie experience, but this is a special case. Keeping the lights bright will be very helpful in keeping your movie partner’s eyes open.
  4. Plan ahead! When there is a movie you’re really looking forward to watching, have a talk with your buddy and convince them to take a nap in preparation.
  5. Make them sit in a straight back chair with no cushions or pillows. If they can’t couch responsibly, then they can’t couch at all.

Falling asleep at the movie theatre is the ultimate crime. Movies are not cheap these days! I do see it becoming easier nowadays with the fancy, recliner chair theatres popping up all over. I have to hold true to this one. If your movie sleeper is also falling asleep at the theatre, then this is a severe case and you may want to consider that there is another underlying problem.

If this is a problem that consistently happens with a loved one, you should consider speaking with a sleep specialist or doctor. It is possible that they have a sleep disorder that has been going unnoticed. Certain sleep disorders can bring along some serious health issues, so it is best to get ahead of the problem when you see anything that may be a solid symptom.