Format: Paperback
Book type: Anthology
ISBN-13: 9781905583690
Published: 10 Dec 2015

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The relationship between sleep and storytelling is an ancient one. For centuries, sleep has provided writers with a magical ingredient – a passage of time during which great changes miraculously occur, an Orpheus-like voyage through the subconscious daubed with the fantastic. But over the last ten years, our scientific understanding of sleep has been revolutionised. No longer is sleep viewed as a time of simple rest and recuperation. Instead, it is proving to be an intensely dynamic period of brain activity: a vital stage in the re-wiring of memories, the learning of new skills, and the processing of problems and emotions. How will storytelling respond to this new and emerging science of sleep?

Here, 14 authors have been invited to work with key scientists to explore various aspects of sleep research: from the possibilities of ‘sleep engineering’ and ‘overnight therapies’, to future-tech ways of harnessing sleep’s problem-solving powers, to the challenges posed by our increasingly 24-hour lifestyles. Just as new hypotheses are being put forward, old hunches are also being confirmed (there’s now a scientific basis for the time-worn advice ‘to sleep on a problem’). As these responses show, sleep and the spinning of stories are still very much entwined.

Featuring scientific contributions from: Prof Russell G. Foster, Isabel Hutchison, Dr. Simon Kyle, Dr. Paul Reading, Stephanie Romiszewski, Prof Robert Stickgold, Prof Manuel Schabus, Prof Ed Watkins, Prof. Adam Zeman, Dr. Thomas Wehr. This project was supported by the Wellcome Trust.

Listen to the audiobook on Audible.

Head over to MacGuffin to listen to and read some of the stories and afterwords from the anthology.

Andy Hedgecock - Counting Sheep
Claire Dean - Voice Marks
Zoe Gilbert - Thunder Cracks
Stephanie Romiszewski - Paradoxical Insomnia
Isabel Hutchison - Bad Dreams

Sleep researcher and contributor to the book, Isabel Hutchison of The University of Manchester, answers some vital questions about sleep for us


'These stories offer intelligent and nuanced explorations of some of the ethical and cultural implications of an area of science that has the potential to affect every one of us.' - New Welsh Review

'an entertaining and touching collection of stories by talented and imaginative writers. It will likely change the way you look at, and the importance of, sleep.' - The Short Story 

BBC Focus #Brainfood BOOK OF THE WEEK 

'(Spindles)  allows the reader to ‘experience’ the effects and to envision possibilities that might otherwise be a dry listing of symptoms.' Science Book a Day Review

Featured on George Aranda's Science Book a Day Blog