Sleep science: Broken dreams
Millions of people in the United States struggle to achieve that great American dream, a 'good night's sleep'. So says Matthew Wolf-Meyer in his ambitious The Slumbering Masses. He contends that capitalist necessity defines sleep in the country today, shoehorning sleepers into a societally convenient but physiologically arbitrary eight-hour night.
Those who can't manage the prescribed amount of slumber at the prescribed time are often labelled disordered sleepers. Wolf-Meyer's message is that society should bend to accommodate, even celebrate, diversity in sleeping behaviour, rather than branding nonconformism pathological.