Alex Casey introduces Sleep Week (August 16-22), a week-long series full of content you can only dream of – literally.
Last month I went to check out a secondhand mattress that we were looking to buy on Trade Me. An Ecosa, less than a year old, owned by a young lad who was about to move to America to do his Masters. After my partner and I crammed ourselves into the small room in his flat, there was a surreal moment as we all stood solemnly around his mattress like we were identifying a body in a morgue. “I don’t know what those are” the young lad said gingerly, gesturing to a cluster of small stains. We stayed silent. Those stains could only be one of about four possible things, and none of them were good.
From that harrowing experience I was reminded that perhaps the only thing more intimate than sharing a bed with someone is buying someone else’s bed (we did buy it, and I only think about the stains about twice a day now). Sleep is very private and personal and funny and frustrating and sometimes even scary, but we all gotta do it at the end of the day. Which is why The Spinoff is going to be diving under the covers, tossing and turning and lucid dreaming for all of Sleep Week (August 16-22), a week-long content series dedicated entirely to the wonderful world of snoozing.
I have already learned over the course of planning this week that almost everyone has an interesting sleep story. The Spinoff team is full of corkers. Duncan Greive can fall asleep anywhere, including leaning against a speaker at a gig by noise band The Dead C. Josie Adams suffers from sleep paralysis and has regular visits from what really, truly, sounds like The Babadook. Madeleine Chapman can’t wake up. Emily Writes can’t sleep. Jihee Junn won’t sleep. They are all going to be writing about it for you.
Aside from our writers pouring out their deepest, darkest sleep secrets, we are going to have a couple of proper experts, too. People like Rosie Gibson, senior lecturer at Massey University, who will reveal the true toll that lockdown had on our Zzzz’s. We’ll have further insights from Massey’s Sleep/Wake centre, hopefully including a definitive ruling on the importance of top sheets once and for all. Finally, real-life doctor Emma Espiner will tell all about the realities of working the night shift at a hospital.
Sleep also seeps into our culture, from evocative Billie Eilish album titles (When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?) to evocative Wiggles album titles (Wake Up Jeff!). I promise that our cultural coverage of sleep will be much more comprehensive than that really bad sentence, including New Zealand’s challenging waterbed trend, the essential experience of sleeping in the wharenui, and the shambolic Telethons of the 80s, 90s, and today. Plus pet dreams, Kindles, chronotypes and so much more.
Sounds like a lot, eh? Honestly, I’m tired already. Have a restful weekend and see you bright and early Monday.