Sleep science: Broken dreams

By Meredith Wadman

Wolf-Meyer_slumbering coverMillions 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.

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