Media constructions of sleep and sleep disorders: A study of UK national newspapers

Pam K. Lowe, Clive Seale*, Sharon Boden, Deborah L. Steinberg, Simon J. Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Medicalisation, healthicisation and 'personal' strategies have been identified as the main factors contributing to the socially mediated experience of sleep and sleep disorders in modern societies. Medicalisation and healthicisation are publicly available discourses. But the degree to which apparently 'personal' strategies for managing sleep are presented in popular media has been underestimated. This study of the coverage of 5 UK newspapers shows that both medicalised and healthicised discourses are concentrated in the 'serious' press. The tabloid press is more likely to constitute sleep as a private realm and tabloid readers are therefore relatively less exposed to officially sanctioned forms of knowledge about sleep. Analysis of Daily Mail coverage shows, though, that women's 'personal' strategies for managing sleep are far from being private solutions. The Mail presents this topic as a component of its social construction of a 'Middle England' lifestyle, giving these apparently 'personal' solutions a political resonance. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-430
Number of pages13
JournalSocial science and medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • healthicisation
  • mass media
  • medicalisation
  • newspaper coverage
  • sleep
  • sleep disorder
  • UK


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