Sleep, body work and bodily capital: Sleep discourse in the magazines Men's Health and Women's Health

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The subject of sleep has been receiving increasing attention in multiple arenas over the past decades, including in the social sciences and the media. However, only a few empirical studies have investigated how sleep is constructed within and by media discourses, and also whether and how these discourses are gendered. The present article explores how two popular lifestyle magazines, Men's Health and Women's Health, construct sleep. The analysis of online articles reveals that both magazines constitute sleep as a form of body work that enhances bodily capital, but they do so in gendered ways that reinforce patriarchal norms and expectations. This study shows that the magazines' discourse supports the neoliberal project, while also highlighting the malleability and adaptability of neoliberal discourses. The conclusion is that the ways in which the magazines' discourse constructs sleep might deepen both gender and class inequalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1851-1866
Number of pages16
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness


  • bodily capital
  • body work
  • discourse
  • gender
  • magazines
  • qualitative research methods
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy


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