University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

Understanding older peoples' decisions about the use of sleeping medication: Issues of control and autonomy

Venn, S and Arber, S (2012) Understanding older peoples' decisions about the use of sleeping medication: Issues of control and autonomy Sociology of Health and Illness, 34 (8). pp. 1215-1229.

SHI-Venn-ageing and sleepmeds-011211.pdf
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

Download (139kB)
Text (licence)

Download (33kB)


Poor sleep is known to impact on health and wellbeing in later life and has implications for the ability of older people to remain active during the day. Medical treatments for chronic poor sleep have primarily included the regular, long-term prescribing of hypnotics, which are known to impact on older people's health, cognitive function and quality of life. Therefore, recent policy and practice has focused on reducing such prescribing, on encouraging older people to stop taking long-term hypnotics and on finding alternative, non-pharmacological ways to manage poor sleep. However, little research has been undertaken to understand the perspectives of older people who choose not to seek professional help for their poor sleep, despite the potential impact of poor sleep on their health and ability to remain active. Through in-depth interviews with 62 older men and women living in their own homes in England, this article explores the factors that deter older people from seeking professional help for their poor sleep. We argue that these are located in their perceptions of the normativity of poor sleep in later life, their beliefs about prescription sleeping medications and their desire to maintain control and autonomy over their everyday and night lives. © 2012 The Authors. Sociology of Health & Illness © 2012 Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness/Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Date : November 2012
Identification Number : 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2012.01468.x
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 11 Jul 2013 10:50
Last Modified : 01 Jun 2015 13:33

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800