Social media and sleep: ethical agendas in the digital age


  • Dr Robert Meadows

    University of Surrey

Project summary

Sleep is a moral matter, from longstanding proverbs of the ‘early to bed, early to rise …’ kind to contemporary ideas of ‘sleep enhancement’. Developments in digital and social media, which range from the use of #sleepjunkies and wearable sleep monitoring and sharing technologies - add further important dimensions to our relationship with sleep. 

These developments have the potential to transform how we ‘know’ good and bad sleep, and may come to be embedded within new standards on how to become a better, more successful or more productive sleeper. 

This project examines the multitude of ethical challenges raised by the digital culture that has developed around sleep. It probes how these challenges are embodied, embedded and enacted (or not) within the everyday worlds of owners, designers, clinicians, experts and users, sharers, non-users and prospective users – all of whom may ‘value’ sleep differently.