Sleep Tight is a book that reflects on the phenomenon of sleep paralysis from a scientific, cultural, religious, personal, historic and spiritual perspective. It serves as a guide to demystify the phenomenon and provides useful tips on how to act during an episode, to overcome your fear and potentially turn this usually frightening experience into something positive. Through various printing techniques, folding techniques, typographic & editorial elements the book is also an object of interest in itself and represents characteristics of sleep paralysis in an artistic approach, begging for the viewer’s interaction.
While most articles and existing books about the topic are focused on presenting the experience as frightening and depict it as a nightmare, I really wanted to focus on the mysterious and unknown aspects instead and show how it can also be embraced and seen as a positive experience. I did not want to simply reflect on this with my written content but really emphasize that with my design choices as well.
The materials and printing techniques I used reflect on the characteristics of sleep paralysis and also represent the different layers and perspectives surrounding the topic.
The felt presence is a key characteristic and many feel as if someone or something is in the room with them during their episodes. Some only feel it, but others also see shadow-like figures that can shift their appearance. This presence can appear out of nowhere and it disappears eventually into thin air.
As this is one of the most frightening aspects of a typical episode I wanted to recreate the appearing and vanishing of the presence. To do so I illustrated different shadow-like entities and screen printed them with thermal pigments that I mixed with silk screen base. This mixed thermal ink reacts to heat, so the image shifts from black to colorless when you touch it and therefore creates the disappearing and reappearing form of the presence.
Working on this book was an intense but rewarding process. I sent out a survey and conducted follow-up interviews with people that experience sleep paralysis to get firsthand impressions and diverse insights. I have documented my own experiences over the span of a year and read through countless research papers to deepen my knowledge and improve my understanding of it.