UCL Grand Challenges


Researching the Intersection

Researching the Intersection between the Neurobiology and Sociology of Sleep and Sleeplessness in Adolescents

1 October 2017


Grant: Grand Challenges Small Grants
Part of Adolescent Lives 
Year awarded: 2017-18
Amount awarded: £3,862


  • Kimberley Whitehead, Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, Life Sciences
  • Matthew Beaumont, Department of English Language and Literature, Arts & Humanities 

Kim Whitehead, early career researcher in neurobiology and Professor Matthew Beaumont, Professor of English Literature and Co-Director of UCL's Urban Lab, joined together to explore the little-understood world of sleep and sleep disorders through the disparate disciplines of neurology, literature, and art.

Their project asked: is the concept of sleeplessness learned in adolescence and, if so, does this explain why insomnia is rare before adulthood? In a recent issue of The Lancet, they also argued for the need for an inter-disciplinary approach to sleep research.