Writing the

Sleep Crisis

Exploring representations of
sleep in contemporary culture.

Picture credit: Insomnia. Stephen Magrath. CC0 1.0 Universal


Writing the Sleep Crisis is a research project funded by the Wellcome Trust and based at Northumbria University’s Humanities Department.

“Writing the Sleep Crisis” is led by Dr Diletta De Cristofaro and funded by Wellcome’s Research Fellowship in Humanities and Social Science. The 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.

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

Research Fellow in the Humanities at Northumbria University

Prof Katy Shaw

Professor of Contemporary Writings at Northumbria University

Prof Jason Ellis

Professor in Psychology at Northumbria University

Prof Simona Chiodo

Full Professor of Philosophy at Politecnico di Milano

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.


Making Sleep: New Insights for a New Public Health?

On 7-8 July 2021, Prof Jason Ellis and Dr Diletta De Cristofaro will be speaking at “Making Sleep: New Insights for a New Public Health?“, an online workshop at IAS, University of Surrey. …

Public Lecture at The Lit&Phil

On 10th June 2021, Dr Diletta De Cristofaro will deliver an online public lecture at The Lit&Phil The lecture, “Are We in a Sleep Crisis? Perspectives from Contemporary Culture”, explo…

“Sleep Tight”, article in Costco Connection Magazine

The project was featured in “Sleep Tight”, an article by Kelly Rose Bradford in Costco Connection magazine, in the January/February 2021 issue. Read it here.

Follow the Project

Get in Touch

Email Dr Diletta De Cristofaro:


Members of our team were delighted to participate in some of these discussions on improving life in the North East. We’ll be maintaining our commitment to this work and utilising our research for positive further impacts wherever we can! https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/newcastle-northumbria-universities-link-up-21141571

Loved Emma Glass' portrayal of sleep deprivation and burnout in the nursing profession. Do check out Rest and Be Thankful 📚


From the latest issue of Catalyst (Vol 7, No 1):

Luna Dolezal (@lunadolezal) and Venla Oikkonen (@venla_oikkonen), “Introduction: Self-Tracking, Embodied Differences, and Intersectionality”

#feministSTS #selftracking #intersectionality #colonialism

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