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Title: The social context of women's sleep : perceptions and experiences of women aged 40 and over
Author: Hislop, Jenny
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis, the first empirical study of the sociology of sleep conducted in the UK, takes a new approach to sleep research by examining the interrelationship between social context and the structuring of women's sleep. The thesis contends that women's sleep is influenced across the life course by the interaction of social roles and relationships and by life events and transitions. In conjunction with physiological factors, these dynamics define the nature of women's sleep, create the potential for disruption, and influence women's response to it. Using a multi-method approach, including focus groups, qualitative interviews, sleep-life grids, audio sleep diaries and a national sleep survey to record and interpret women's perceptions and experiences of sleep in everyday life, the thesis shows that for most women aged 40 and over, sleep disruption is a fact of life. It impacts on the quality of their lives and compromises their ability to function effectively. Sociotemporal factors associated with the institutionalised structures of paid work and retirement, women's relational responsibilities in the home, and life events such as divorce, the menopause and widowhood, often impede access to a good night's sleep. Women are proactive in responding to disruptions by adopting a range of sleep management strategies, but the constraints of their everyday lives may limit the degree of control they can exercise over strategy choice. The thesis concludes that not only is women's sleep structured by the socio-temporal realities of everyday life, but that it may also reaffirm and perpetuate the gendered roles and relationships which underpin, structure and constrain women's lives. Sleep thus becomes a lens through which to gain insights into the patterning of society with its gendered inequalities, as well as a fascinating topic in its own right.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available