The Dream of Sleep

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Sleep is under pressure: in view of the increasing flexibility of working hours and softening boundaries between day and night, the omnipresence of sleepless machines and the development of synthetic sleeping pills, sleep has long since lost its innocence. Instead of being allowed to simply doze off when tiredness sets in, being able to sleep now requires everyday organisation, we have to literally take it. As a phase of rest, unproductivity, inactivity and the unconscious, sleep appears to be a recalcitrant phenomenon in a society trimmed to efficiency, rationality and scientific understanding.

In her research, the historian Hannah Ahlheim deals with the history of sleep and "sleep knowledge" since the late 19th century, especially in Germany and the USA, and shows that with the development of industrialised society, sleep had to be newly fitted into the rhythm of life. In doing so, she connects the history of a science with the history of modern society.

In her lecture, Hannah Ahlheim provides insights into the history of sleep, drawing connections to the role and places of sleep in the Ruhr region as a former mining area.


Ringlokschuppen Ruhr
Am Schloß Broich 38
45479 Mülheim an der Ruhr


The Ringlokschuppen can be reached by tram and bus (Schloss Broich stop) and in about 20 minutes on foot from Mülheim central station.


  • Thursday
    19 h
    Mülheim an der Ruhr

    Der Traum vom Schlaf

  • Hannah porträt Artist ©

    Hannah Ahlheim

    Hannah Ahlheim studied history and theatre studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin and received her doctorate in Bochum in 2008 with a study on anti-Semitic boycotts in the 1920s and 1930s.