Writing the

Sleep Crisis

Exploring representations of
sleep in contemporary culture.

Picture credit: Insomnia. Stephen Magrath. CC0 1.0 Universal


This research project explores how sleep, and lack thereof, is represented in contemporary writings across fiction, non-fiction, and digital culture. It’s the first study to analyse cultural engagements with the sleep crisis, namely, the sense that contemporary society is profoundly sleep-deprived.

“Writing the Sleep Crisis” is led by Dr Diletta De Cristofaro. It is currently funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement 892459, and based at Politecnico di Milano, Italy. The project also involves collaborations with Northumbria University, UK, where it was based between July 2020 and August 2021 funded by the Wellcome Trust’s Research Fellowship in Humanities and Social Science.

Sleep Stories

An Exclusive Commission

Durham Book Festival 2021

27-28 June 2022 Conference

Sleep and Digital Health

This online conference will explore the nexus of sleep and digital health from a range of disciplinary perspectives. The programme is now available – take a look here!

Featured Past Event

“Are We in a Sleep Crisis? Perspectives from Contemporary Culture” – A talk at The Lit&Phil by Dr Diletta De Cristofaro, June 2021

Picture credit: Insomnia. Stephen Magrath. CC0 1.0 Universal


Dr Diletta De Cristofaro

Principal Investigator on “Writing the Sleep Crisis”

Prof Simona Chiodo

Full Professor of Philosophy at Politecnico di Milano

Prof Katy Shaw

Professor of Contemporary Writings at Northumbria University

Prof Jason Ellis

Professor in Psychology at Northumbria University

Featured Publication

The counterproductive promise of a “sleep goal”

The Week, March 2022

In this opinion piece, Diletta De Cristofaro explores how the fixation of sleep-tracking devices and relaxation apps on sleep goals ironically ends up devaluing sleep.


Writing Sleep Salon – video now available

As part of the Sleep Salons series hosted by the Sociability of Sleep (Université de Montréal & …

META Lecture

On 27th April, 1pm CEST, Dr Diletta De Cristofaro will be delivering a META lecture at Politecnico d…

Sleep and Digital Health conference – programme now available

The programme for “Sleep and Digital Health: Multidisciplinary Perspectives” is now avai…

Follow the Project

Get in Touch

Email Dr Diletta De Cristofaro:


Great first session of the #Sleep and #DigitalHealth conference - exploration of wearables, technology, the quantified self, and what to do with all that data. But also the guilt & shame surrounding fears of personal (non)productivity.
@writing_sleep @itdfproject @LBObjects

Two great sleep events today -- First up, day 1 of the Sleep and Digital Health conference. For those interested in sleep, but also quantification and wearables more generally. @tedilta @writing_sleep https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sleep-and-digital-health-multidisciplinary-perspectives-tickets-254534147487

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