More on Sleep

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This essay considers areas in which the study of sleep and sleep disorders might profit from the perspective of disability studies, as practiced in the humanities and social sciences. This interdisciplinary perspective considers the social and cultural dimensions of bodily and mental states and conditions that a particular society deems “abnormal” or impaired, as well as the lived consequences of those determinations. Some sleep disorders are considered disabilities, but almost all disabilities entail some disruption from “normal” sleeping patterns—whether because of physical pain, exhaustion, and emotional stress of facing obstacles in work and other areas of waking life, or challenging sleeping environments in which many disabled people live. Despite these disruptions, finding adequate nighttime care is often difficult for people with disabilities, and consequently, night is often when social isolation and vulnerability are most profound. In addition, caretakers themselves often find their own sleep profoundly disrupted, whether this occurs in a family setting or an institutional space. Finally, the essay suggests that a disability studies perspective can help us to see that disordered sleep—whether primary or secondary to a disabling condition—can both impact and be shaped by social relationships.

Here’s a bedding guide-