Quilting Resistance to the Sleep Industrial Complex

A Narrative Account of Sleeplessness


  • Kristie Serota University of Toronto




sleep disorders, sociology of sleep, arts-based research, narrative methods, quilting


In this narrative account of sleeplessness, I draw on Ball’s (2002, 2012) poststructural conceptualization of quilts as social texts to explore the practice of quilting as a method of arts-based storytelling. Through the process of quilting, I story my experience of resisting the Sleep Industrial Complex. I explore the biocultural arena of sleep and critique the biomedical construction of sleeplessness as insomnia. I argue that the medicalization of sleeplessness works to support multi-billion-dollar industries that purport to cure insomnia through consumerism (Barbee et al., 2018; Williams, 2008). I describe how radically accepting sleeplessness as a facet of my existence, and not a medicalized disorder, is an expression of self-acceptance and an act of self-care. In this arts-based narrative account of sleeplessness, I mark the transition from viewing sleeplessness as a medical disorder to radically accepting sleeplessness as a natural facet of our complex being-in-the-world.

Author Biography

Kristie Serota, University of Toronto

Kristie Serota is a PhD candidate in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Canada. Her research interests include critical qualitative methods, creative analytic practices, and feminist bioethics.




How to Cite

Serota, K. (2021). Quilting Resistance to the Sleep Industrial Complex: A Narrative Account of Sleeplessness. Art/Research/International:/A/Transdisciplinary/Journal, 6(2), 468–477. https://doi.org/10.18432/ari29602