Disordered Sleep, Past and Present

walter cranes toybook sleeping beauty routledge


Disordered Sleep, Past and Present

Part of the Sleep and the Rhythms of Life Network events

Wednesday 22 November 2023, 5pm

Online and In-person event, Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities

No booking required for in-person attendance


Watch here:





Martin Willis (Cardiff University): Sleeping Beauties: Victorian Representations of Disordered Sleeping

What impact did the fairy tale of sleeping beauty have on the emerging science of sleep in the Victorian period? In this talk I will investigate the entanglement of the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty with sleep medicine as well as popular media representations of unusual sleeping. As I will show, sleep disorders illuminate a series of representations of sleep that bring the physiology of the human body into intimate correlation with socio-economic power.


Melanie Fleming (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford): Sleep and recovery after brain injury

How can we harness the sleeping brain for learning? In this talk I will talk about the importance of sleep for learning and memory. I will discuss the impact of brain injury, such as stroke, on sleep and ways to improve sleep processes.



martin willis

Martin Willis is Professor of English and Head of the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University. He has written extensively on the relations between literature, science and medicine in works such as Vision, Science and Literature, 1870-1920 (2011), Literature and Science (2015), and Staging Science (2017). His work on sleep, conducted over the last five years, has appeared in Osiris and is due to appear in two new large collections in 2024.




melanie fleming

Melanie Fleming is a research fellow in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford. Her work aims to investigate brain plasticity to better understand, and find ways to improve, recovery after brain injury (particularly stroke). She is particularly focused on understanding how sleep changes after brain injury, how this might affect recovery, and finding ways to improve sleep in stroke survivors.





If you are interested in the Network, please contact Professor Sally Shuttleworth (sally.shuttleworth@st-annes.ox.ac.uk)

Find out more about the Sleep and the Rhythms of Life Network here.