The Sleep Crisis

Since July 2020, I’ve been working on “Writing the Sleep Crisis”, a research project funded by the Wellcome Trust (Research Fellowship in Humanities and Social Science, 2020-21) and the European Commission (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship 2021-22). The project explores how sleep, and lack thereof, is represented in contemporary writings across fiction, non-fiction, and digital culture.

Sleep experts are divided on whether our society is actually suffering from the crisis of poor sleep my project’s title refers to. Yet the discourse of contemporary society as profoundly sleep-deprived dominates cultural production. My project is the first to analyse cultural engagements with this discourse and what they tell us about our conceptions of sleep, health – especially mental health – the temporal rhythms of day-to-day life in the twenty-first century, and the pressures these rhythms exercise on us.

You can find my writings on the sleep crisis here:

  • Writing the Sleep Crisis“, The Polyphony, December 2020. This short piece also looks back on Forty Winks Café, the project’s inaugural event at Being Human Festival 2020, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities.
  • [Forthcoming] “Sleep Mode: Phones, Achievement-Subjects, and the Sleep Crisis in Contemporary Literature”. Telepoetics. Ed. Sarah Jackson, Annabel Williams, and Phil Leonard.

You can find some of the talks I’ve given on the sleep crisis in the talks section of this website.

My research on the topic was featured in “Sleep Tight“, an article by Kelly Rose Bradford in Costco Connection magazine.

Keep up to date with this project’s news: