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Conference Papers Year : 2016

The medical definition of injured sleep : an historical approach

Sophie Panziera


The aim of this presentation is to analyze sleep pathologies in a historical perspective and to study the emergence and evolution of clinical discourses about injured sleeps in connection with the social context and the process of sleeptime normalization. This evolution will be studied through medical sources (published works, thesis and dissertations about sleep pathologies – especially narcolepsy and insomnia – but also general sleep physiologies). During the late 18th century, doctor's purpose was to define sleep's causes and functions as well as its specific features in relation to the wakefulness state. Injured sleep was considered as symptoms of other diseases. During the 1850s and 60s, medical debates about the various sleep's pathologies specialized and provoked many discussions. Were injured sleeps only symptoms of other diseases, or did they constitute a peculiar and « essential » pathology? This new medical approach of sleep was linked with a concern about sleeplessness in a society in which industrialization and urbanization modified life and work context. Physicians, especially physiologists, lengthened the norms of rest time for the human body at eight hours of sleep for men, and more for kids and women. During the second half of the 19th century, debates about the eight-hour day showed the growing interest of politicians, physicians and workers in sleep time. The pathologization of injured sleep answer then to this new social interest for sleep, and the need for its protection.


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hal-02546267 , version 1 (17-04-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02546267 , version 1


Sophie Panziera. The medical definition of injured sleep : an historical approach. Injured sleep: a one day interdisciplinary colloquium, Aston University, Jun 2016, Birmingham, Aston University, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-02546267⟩
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