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Sleep waves and recovery from drug and alcohol dependence: towards a rhythmanalysis of sleep in residential treatment.

Meadows, Robert, Nettleton, Sarah and Neale, Joanne (2017) Sleep waves and recovery from drug and alcohol dependence: towards a rhythmanalysis of sleep in residential treatment. Social Science and Medicine, 184. pp. 124-133.

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This paper reports on a study of sleep amongst men and women who are living in residential rehabilitation centres in the UK and who are receiving support for their recovery from addiction to alcohol and other forms of substance use. Conceptually and methodologically, the paper draws on the work of the French sociologist Lefebvre and, in particular, his rhythmanalysis. We argue that this approach offers a useful way of exploring sleep in terms of biological, experiential, temporal, spatial and social rhythms. It also has the potential to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue. Empirical data comprising qualitative interviews with 28 individuals, sleep diaries, and actigraphy reports (which measure movement as a proxy for sleep) are examined in combination to generate insights into the challenges associated with sleep in recovery from substance misuse. We examine how sleep in recovery involves an alignment of the spatiotemporal rhythms of rehabilitation and the multiple embodied rhythms of individuals. Institutionalised routines reproduce and impose ideas of day/night sleep cycles which are presumed to accord with ‘natural’ circadian rhythms. Although study participants very much want to achieve these ‘natural hegemonies’ of sleep, alignment of individual and institutional rhythms is difficult to achieve. We develop the notion of ‘sleep waves’ as an analytic to capture the multifaceted elements of sleep and to argue that sleep waves recur but are also shaped by complex networks of rhythms, rituals and routines. Sleep waves can become relatively stabilised in rehabilitation settings, but the anticipation of moving on disturbs rhythms and generates anxieties which can affect recovery.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Nettleton, Sarah
Neale, Joanne
Date : 6 May 2017
DOI : 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.05.016
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Uncontrolled Keywords : United Kingdom, sleep, drug and alcohol dependence, rhythmanalysis
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 23 May 2017 14:12
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 18:52

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