World Premiere: The Quest for Sleep, a Film Narrated by Octavia Spencer, Explores People's Struggles with Insomnia and the Fascinating Science Behind How and Why We Sleep

RADNOR, Pa., March 16, 2022 — (PRNewswire) — The Quest for Sleep, a feature-length documentary about the human toll of insomnia and science of sleep, is released today on Facebook as a world premiere streaming event at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT, followed by select theatrical screenings in New York City and Los Angeles. Supported by Idorsia Pharmaceuticals U.S., the film follows the lives of real people who struggle with insomnia on their journey to find hope through scientific insights that illuminate the relationship between sleep, insomnia and the brain and body. The character of "Sleep" is narrated by award-winning actor, Octavia Spencer, who acts as an empathetic and discerning foil to the cast and connects the audience to sleep and neuroscience experts. Also featured in the film are professional basketball player, Andre Iguodala, Olympic runner, Emma Coburn and US Army Retired Lieutenant General, Rick Lynch.

Tying together the film's compelling stories and the science of sleep, Octavia Spencer's narration offers a poetic, witty and understanding voice to the struggles and hopes of the people featured in the film. "Sleep" leads the audience through powerful 3D animation that takes viewers inside the brains of the characters as the stories of their lives are playing out.

"As someone who has experienced the impact of trouble sleeping, I immediately felt a connection to the people in the film and their struggles with insomnia," says Octavia Spencer. "Being involved in this documentary has granted me the opportunity to shine a light on a topic that many people often don't feel comfortable discussing with others, and I want them to know they aren't alone. This film brings insomnia to the forefront, and I hope it prompts a robust dialogue about this condition that impacts so many people."

The Quest for Sleep's goal is to encourage people to start talking about and prioritizing their sleep health, while also educating audiences about insomnia's impact on both nights and days. In the United States, insomnia is the most prevalent sleep/wake disorder, affecting approximately 25 million adults nationwide.1,2,3 Poor quality or insufficient sleep can affect many aspects of the daily lives of people with trouble sleeping including the ability to concentrate, mood and energy levels.3 In the long-term, insomnia is associated with numerous serious health conditions, such as psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, substance abuse and dementia.4,5,6

Throughout the film, viewers will see the real stories of people whose different perspectives reveal the many facets of the sleep disorder across diverse backgrounds, lifestyles and personalities.

  • Andre, Professional Basketball Player: A busy professional athlete, entrepreneur, husband and father who improves his sleep habits with the help of a sleep therapist.
  • Emma, Professional Runner & Steeple Chase World Champion: A professional athlete, philanthropist and wife who prioritizes healthy sleep to perform.
  • Kelly, The Nurse: A nurse, hesitant to discuss her insomnia, struggles to give herself as much care as she gives her community.
  • Lois, The Magazine Editor: A magazine editor, who is ready to reclaim her health, discovers the roots of her anxiety around sleep.
  • KK, The Salon Owner: A salon owner tries to leave her maddening insomnia at the shop door, morning after morning.
  • Margaret, The Psychotherapist: A psychotherapist wanders her home night after night and finally tries to make sleep her friend.
  • Rick, US Army Retired Lieutenant General: A retired U.S. military commander who wants both soldiers and citizens to know it's okay to ask for help.
  • Yurica, The Energy Consultant: An energy consultant in Costa Rica tries to get to bed earlier so he can work on his relationship with his wife.
  • Steve, The Performer: A singer's sleep deprivation keeps his nightly routine unpredictable.

In addition to the everyday voices, experts in the sleep space, including Dayna Johnson, PhD, MPH, MSW, MS; Sleep Epidemiologist, Michael Grandner, PhD, MTR, Behavioral Sleep Medicine Specialist, and Meeta Singh, MD, Psychiatrist and Sleep Medicine Specialist, share information on the science behind sleep and provide insights into what happens inside the body and brain when there is a lack of sleep.

"Despite the prevalence of insomnia, many people who live with this debilitating condition feel isolated on their journey to find quality sleep and often don't feel comfortable speaking openly about their struggles," says Patricia Torr, President and General Manager of Idorsia U.S., the company which sponsored the film. "Through the compelling stories of those featured in the film, audiences get an inside peek of what it's like to live with insomnia, while also learning about the science of insomnia from experts. It's our hope that that this film will become a powerful, unique resource for both patients and healthcare professionals alike, and inspire people to share their stories and prompt more open conversations."

In addition to the Facebook Live streaming premiere, The Quest for Sleep will make its theatrical debut in select locations in New York and Los Angeles from March 18-20. To learn more about where to watch, please visit and follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Notes to the editor

About The Quest for Sleep

The Quest for Sleep is a feature-length documentary that follows real individuals, whose struggles with sleep threaten to unravel their waking lives. The voice of Sleep itself — narrated by award-winning actor Octavia Spencer — acts as an enigmatic and insightful complement to the cast. She helps lead the audience to experts who illuminate the science behind how we sleep, and what can keep us awake. Through stunning 2D & 3D animation, the documentary delves into the themes of regular wake-sleep patterns, the causes and risks of insomnia and the effects of insomnia on the brain and body. The documentary, in association with Idorsia U.S., was produced by Osmosis Films and is being released by Abramorama.

About Insomnia

Insomnia is defined as a combination of difficulty obtaining sufficient sleep and dissatisfaction with sleep combined with a significant negative impact on daytime functioning. Chronic insomnia is defined as difficulty initiating and/or maintaining sleep on at least three nights per week for at least three months, despite adequate opportunity to sleep.

Insomnia is a condition of overactive brain activity during sleep, and studies have shown that areas of the brain associated with wakefulness remain more active during sleep in patients with insomnia.

Significant insomnia is a common problem with a prevalence of approximately 10%. On this basis, and assuming a U.S. adult population of around 250 million, there are approximately 25 million adults in the U.S. who suffer from insomnia.

Insomnia as a chronic disorder is different from a brief period of poor sleep, and it can take its toll on both physical and mental health. It can be a persistent condition with a negative impact on daytime functioning. Idorsia's research has shown that poor-quality sleep can affect many aspects of daily life, including the ability to concentrate, mood, and energy levels.

The goals of managing insomnia are to improve sleep quality and quantity, as well as daytime functioning. Current recommended treatment of insomnia includes sleep hygiene recommendations, cognitive behavioral therapy, and pharmacotherapy.

About Osmosis Films

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