Against Time

Nelleke Koop / Documentary / 2023 / 54'

One in five Dutch people aged 12 and over struggle with sleep problems. In addition, over 42% of Dutch young people (12-24 years old) sleep too little, a trend that Dutch hospitals are seeing as more and more young people seek help for sleep problems. Does the cause lie in an exhausting 24/7 rat race, the smartphone, or something else? In the 2Doc: Against Time, director Nelleke Koop follows the treatment of Muied, Nienke, Leon and Maurice, and their search for their own rhythms.

Muied, a 17-year-old student has already switched schools four times and dropped a level because of his sleep problems. Nienke (22), an ambitious student at dance school has fallen into burnout after years of mere hours of sleep a night. Maurice (51) and Leon (24) have also lost their day and night rhythms, slowly losing touch with the world around them. At the sleep centre, they’re finally heard. The treatment is a reset of the body to get back in sync with the desired rhythm of school, education or work. Muied, Nienke, Leon and Maurice bravely endure the treatment in the hope of resuming their daily lives.

Against Time gives a well-nigh physical experience of what Muied, Nienke, Leon and Maurice go through. The loneliness because no one takes you seriously and the feeling of permanent jet lag. ‘A good rhythm is what it’s all about,’ says the sleep centre practitioner. Because of the temptations and demands we have to and often want to meet, there is almost no room for a rhythm of our own and many people always have to be ‘on’. 2Doc: Against Time shows how essential it is to be off sometimes too.


Development financed by
NPO Fund
Financed by
NPO Fund, CoBO


Nelleke Koop
Roel van 't Hoff
Sound design
Tom Jansen