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 is also affiliated with Northumbria University, UK, where it was funded by the Wellcome Trust’s Research Fellowship in Humanities and Social Science between July 2020 and August 2021.

Sleep Stories

An Exclusive Commission

Durham Book Festival 2021

Featured 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

“Writing the Sleep Crisis”, The Polyphony: Conversations Across the Medical Humanities, December 2020

In this post in The Polyphony, Diletta De Cristofaro introduces the project and discusses sleep deprivation and speculative fiction that imagines the future end of sleep.


Sleep Stories and the Science of Sleep

Roundtable event at Durham Book Festival 2021 Saturday 9 October, 8-9pm BST With Durham Book Festival, we have commissioned leading British writers Salena Godden, Jenn Ashworth and Andrew McMillan to …

Talk at MEETmeTONIGHT 2021

An online public talk for the Italian edition of the European Researchers’ Night The talk will be in Italian and will take place on 24th September, 15:40-16pm CEST. Nel talk “Il sonno è in crisi…

Sleep Stories at Durham Book Festival 2021

An exclusive commission inspired by the project We are delighted to be working with three leading British writers on this series of podcasts inspired by the theme of sleep. Durham Book Festi…

Follow the Project

Get in Touch

Email Dr Diletta De Cristofaro:


This looks like a very cool event in the areas of #healthhumanities and #medicalhumanities: Conversations about Arts, Humanities and Health with Paul Crawford https://bit.ly/3llDBNq

Ever been mystified by a character in your dreams? If so, you'll probably enjoy this piece in Aeon touching on a great and often underappreciated mystery of dreams...
#sleep #dreams #Lucid #brain #consciousness #imagination

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