The Curious Case of Sleeping in Cheese Shops: Legal or Not in the US?

In the patchwork of unusual laws that exist across the United States, some truly stand out for their peculiarity. Among these is the notion that in certain states, it’s illegal to fall asleep in a cheese shop. This article delves into this unusual law, exploring its existence and relevance in today’s legal landscape.

The Law in South Dakota

The most prominent mention of this peculiar regulation is found in South Dakota. According to multiple sources, in South Dakota, it is specifically prohibited to lie down and fall asleep in a cheese factory​​​​​​​​​​. The rationale behind this law remains a subject of speculation. While some might view it as an archaic remnant of bygone days, others see it as a reflection of the state’s commitment to hygiene and food safety standards in food production facilities.

Illinois: A Similar Case?

Illinois also finds itself in the conversation, with claims suggesting that it’s illegal to fall asleep in a cheese shop in this state​​​​. Like South Dakota, the specificity of this law raises questions about its origin and the circumstances under which it was enacted. The law seems to stem from a broader concern about maintaining hygiene and safety standards in places where food is prepared and sold.

Understanding the Context

These laws, often considered bizarre or outdated, might have originated from practical considerations. In the case of cheese shops or factories, where food is handled and prepared, maintaining cleanliness and preventing contamination would be paramount. Falling asleep in such environments could potentially compromise these standards.

Modern Relevance and Enforcement

Despite their existence, the enforcement of such laws in the current context is questionable. They are likely to fall into the category of ‘weird laws’ that exist on paper but are rarely, if ever, enforced in modern times. Such laws often remain in state statutes not because they are deemed necessary or relevant, but simply due to the lack of legislative momentum to repeal them.

Legal Oddities Across the US

The notion of prohibited napping in cheese shops is just one example of the many unusual laws that can be found across various states. These laws often reflect the unique historical, cultural, and social contexts of the times in which they were enacted. While they may provide amusement and bewilderment today, they also offer a glimpse into the legislative past of different regions.


In conclusion, while it’s reported to be illegal to fall asleep in cheese shops or factories in states like South Dakota and Illinois, these laws are more curiosities than active legal concerns. They serve as reminders of the diverse and sometimes eccentric nature of state legislations. For the most part, these laws remain in the annals of legal history, offering more amusement than actual legal restriction in contemporary society.

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