Medicalization and beyond: the social construction of insomnia and snoring in the news

Health (London). 2008 Apr;12(2):251-68. doi: 10.1177/1363459307086846.


What role do the media play in the medicalization of sleep problems? This article, based on a British Academy funded project, uses qualitative textual analysis to examine representations of insomnia and snoring in a large representative sample of newspaper articles taken from the UK national press from the mid-1980s to the present day. Constructed as 'common problems' in the population at large, insomnia and snoring we show are differentially located in terms of medicalizing-healthicizing discourses and debates. Our findings also suggest important differences in the gendered construction of these problems and in terms of tabloid and 'broadsheet' newspaper coverage of these issues. Newspaper constructions of sleep, it is concluded, are complex, depending on both the 'problem' and the paper in question.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Humans
  • Newspapers as Topic*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders*
  • Snoring*
  • United Kingdom