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Sleep is the new sex

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  • SSHRC IG awarded 2017: This project aims to change the way we think about sleep as well as the way we practice it. It communicates to diverse audiences that sleep is not a mysterious non-experience (essential but a wasteful interruption of life) but rather a central part of existence that tells us a lot about how we imagine time, bodies and human action, especially in the contexts of gender and sexuality. Sleep is the new sex. By this I mean two things: first, recent research suggests that more people (especially more women) crave sleep than sex, and sleep has taken over from sex in the popular imagination as a topic for cultural anxiety and thwarted need. In an era of sexual saturation but widespread exhaustion, sleep is a prime target of desire. My interdisciplinary research aims to theorize sleep in contexts where the lived experience of sleeping and waking comes together with the historical and social constitution of sleep; that is, it conjoins phenomenological and genealogical analysis. My primary expected outcome is to produce a series of academic essays on sleep. These essays will be organized around the phenomenological motifs of time, embodiment, and activity. They will address contemporary representations of women and men sleeping; sleep disordered patients and sleep medicine; and advice to parents on children's sleep. My work will also include one primary research component to fill a gap in existing empirical literature: drawing on my experience working with interviews as co-investigator on a CIHR grant on queer women's encounters with primary health care providers, I will interview children's sleep coaches in western Canada and their clients.

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    Research Material
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    © Heyes, Cressida. All rights reserved other than by permission. This document embargoed to those without UAlberta CCID until 2025.