The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, Medicine, and Modern American Life

The Slumbering Masses Sleep Medicine and Modern American Life Americans spend billions of dollars every year on drugs therapy and other remedies trying to get a good night s sleep Anxieties about not getting enough sleep and the impact of sleeplessness on prod

  • Title: The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, Medicine, and Modern American Life
  • Author: Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer
  • ISBN: 9780816674749
  • Page: 367
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Americans spend billions of dollars every year on drugs, therapy, and other remedies trying to get a good night s sleep Anxieties about not getting enough sleep and the impact of sleeplessness on productivity, health, and happiness pervade medical opinion, the workplace, and popular culture In The Slumbering Masses, Matthew J Wolf Meyer addresses the phenomenon of sleepAmericans spend billions of dollars every year on drugs, therapy, and other remedies trying to get a good night s sleep Anxieties about not getting enough sleep and the impact of sleeplessness on productivity, health, and happiness pervade medical opinion, the workplace, and popular culture In The Slumbering Masses, Matthew J Wolf Meyer addresses the phenomenon of sleep and sleeplessness in the United States, tracing the influence of medicine and industrial capitalism on the sleeping habits of Americans from the nineteenth century to the present.Before the introduction of factory shift work, Americans enjoyed a range of sleeping practices, most commonly two nightly periods of rest supplemented by daytime naps The new sleeping regimen eight uninterrupted hours of sleep at night led to the pathologization of other ways of sleeping Arguing that the current model of sleep is rooted not in biology but in industrial capitalism s relentless need for productivity, The Slumbering Masses examines so called Z drugs that promote sleep, the use of both legal and illicit stimulants to combat sleepiness, and the contemporary politics of time Wolf Meyer concludes by exploring the extremes of sleep, from cases of perpetual sleeplessness and the use of the sleepwalking defense in criminal courts to military experiments with ultra short periods of sleep.Drawing on untapped archival sources and long term ethnographic research with people who both experience and treat sleep abnormalities, Wolf Meyer analyzes and sharply critiques how sleep and its supposed disorders are understood and treated By recognizing the variety and limits of sleep, he contends, we can establish flexible expectations about sleep and, ultimately, subvert the damage of sleep pathology and industrial control on our lives.

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    One thought on “The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, Medicine, and Modern American Life”

    1. A Must Read: For Medical Anthropologist and Anyone that SleepsEverybody knows at least one person that claims to have—or they themselves experience—a sleep problem. Our everyday lives are inundated with commercials for sleep medicine, advertisements for the perfect bed, and constant marketing for energy drinks that will keep you going when you don’t have time to rest.Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer’s book "The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, Medicine, and Modern American Life" addresses almost every asp [...]

    2. Fascinating arguments. Let down by dry academic tone. Wolf-Meyer's book is a sweeping, wide-ranging essay on the state of sleep in modern day America, and how capitalism has tried to shoehorn everybody into a one-size fits all model of sleep behaviour.The author argues in favour of 'multibiologism' -a term he has coined to describe how we all naturally exhibit variance in our biological sleep needs and habits - and how modern society has shunned this fact in favour of medicalisation and pharmaco [...]

    3. I received this book from my book store owner as an advanced read for my review. This review, while for The Booktrader of Hamilton, is my personal opinion and does not in any way reflect the thoughts and views of the store owner or any other employees. Ok, I tried, I really tried. But the author used the words "spatiotemporal" and different versions of "hegemony", sometimes even in the same sentence, and I just couldn't take it. I like to think I'm not a complete moron, but when I read a book, I [...]

    4. Oh to sleep! Oh to nap! Oh to be restless and unable to fall asleep! In his book The Slumbering Masses Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer, anthropologist of medicine and science, explores sleep in all its facets - from sleep medicine to the rise of solitary sleepers, from workplace naps to sleepwalking murders.How could I, a big fan of taking an afternoon nap, resist such a promising read? Sleep doesn't come easy and I was amazed at the diversity and complexity of sleep disorders, as well as intrigued by the [...]

    5. Gave up on this one half way through. The introductory chapters promise an investigation of how the construction of sleep in the U.S. has shifted over the years, but the author veers into a grand study of how the many recent sleep pathologies are themselves the result of the rising power of big pharma and the ironclad regularity of production in late capitalism. Which is great, and probably true, but probably doesn't require a whole book to illustrate. I was hoping for more of a historical/ medi [...]

    6. If you dislike this book then its probably because it is not your cup of tea. As an Anthropology student I found this book to be a great book that really opened my eyes. It really looks into not just the cultural aspects of sleep but also political aspect of it. There are many technical terms but most of them were terms that I had already used multiple times in my Anthropology courses. Sleeping is something that everyone does but we never really look into it as much. I loved his discussion of th [...]

    7. This is a fairly comprehensive book on sleep, sleep disorders, sleep history, and sleep in the modern world. It is a great book and really puts a good perspective on the reality of how we spend 1/3 of our lives. It is very detailed and yet practical for the average reader. It does have a few too many details in some cases, but they all serve to point to the importance of sleep in our daily lives. It is a must read for any one who has had any sleep issues they are facing.

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