Grants awarded

Writing the sleep crisis: 24/7 capitalism and neoliberal subjectivity


Dr Diletta De Cristofaro

Northumbria University

United Kingdom

In the 21st century Global North, sleep has become a public health issue. We sleep one to two hours less than our ancestors did, with serious health consequences. This is the first study to consider how Anglophone fiction, non-fiction, such as memoirs and self-help manuals, and digital culture, such as blogs and mobile apps, engage with the sleep crisis. This focus on culture serves to explore the lived experience of sleep deprivation. 

I will analyse these texts to consider the concerns about contemporary life highlighted by the notion of a sleep crisis and what these concerns reveal about the relationship between individual health – especially mental health – and neoliberal ideologies. These texts, I argue, identify how the sleep crisis is produced by the ways in which neoliberalism organises our experience of time, from 24/7 capitalism to the gig economy’s precarious futures and our sense of self. 

My findings will have significant implications for mental health practice and activism.