What Is A Sleep Medicine Doctor Called?

What is a sleep medicine doctor called? Do you find yourself constantly tossing and turning at night, unable to catch a good night’s sleep? Or perhaps you’re experiencing sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, or restless leg syndrome? If so, you’re not alone. Sleep-related issues are quite common, affecting millions of people worldwide. 

Fortunately, some doctors specialize in treating sleep disorders, and they are known as sleep medicine doctors. But what is a sleep medicine doctor called exactly? You may have heard a few different terms thrown around, such as sleep specialist, sleep physician, or somnologist, but are they all the same thing?

Lack of sleep can negatively impact your physical and mental health and overall quality of life. It can lead to daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and even increase your risk for developing chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. That’s why addressing any sleep-related issues you may be experiencing is important.

A sleep medicine doctor is a medical specialist who has completed additional training and certification in the field of sleep medicine. These doctors are experts in diagnosing and treating various sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome. They have a deep understanding of the different stages of sleep and how they relate to our overall health and well-being. You might wonder, is sleep medicine part of neurology?

Sleep medicine doctors often work in sleep clinics or hospitals, conducting sleep studies and monitoring patients’ sleep patterns. They use a variety of tools and techniques, such as polysomnography, to monitor brain activity, heart rate, breathing patterns, and other physical functions while a patient sleeps. This allows them to accurately diagnose sleep disorders and create personalized treatment plans for each patient.


Now, let’s return to the original question, what is a sleep medicine doctor called? 

While “sleep medicine doctor” is commonly used, other names and titles refer to these specialists. Some call them sleep specialists or sleep physicians, while others may use the term somnologist, derived from the Greek word “Somnus,” meaning sleep. Regardless of what you call them, these doctors are crucial in helping people improve their sleep quality and overall health.

If you’re struggling with sleep-related issues, scheduling an appointment with a sleep medicine doctor is important. They can help you identify the root cause of your sleep problems and provide you with personalized treatment options to help you get the restful sleep you need.

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of sleep medicine and explore the different names and titles used for sleep doctors. So, if you’re curious about finding the right sleep specialist, read ‘What Is A Sleep Medicine Doctor Called?’ to learn more.

What Is a Sleep Medicine Doctor Called?

What is a sleep doctor specialist called? 

A Sleep Medicine Doctor, also known as a sleep specialist, is a medical professional specializing in diagnosing, treating, and managing sleep disorders. Sleep medicine is a relatively new field that has emerged in response to the growing awareness of the importance of sleep to our health and well-being.

Sleep medicine doctors undergo extensive training in sleep medicine, which includes specialized education in sleep physiology, sleep disorders, and sleep technology. They are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of sleep-related disorders, including sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy. They are also trained to manage various medical conditions impacting sleep, such as anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. You can learn more about these conditions from trusted sources like the National Sleep Foundation.

To become a sleep medicine doctor, a medical professional must complete a residency in internal medicine, neurology, pediatrics, psychiatry, or family medicine. After that, they must complete a fellowship in sleep medicine, which typically lasts one year. During this fellowship, they receive specialized training in sleep disorders, sleep technology, and sleep research. Here’s a detailed description of the process from the American Board of Sleep Medicine.

Sleep medicine doctors work in a variety of settings, including sleep clinics, hospitals, and academic research centers. They typically work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as pulmonologists, neurologists, psychologists, and primary care physicians, to provide comprehensive care for patients with sleep disorders.

Several terms are commonly used interchangeably in terms of what a sleep medicine doctor is called. In addition to sleep medicine doctor, other common terms include sleep specialist, sleep physician, and somnologist. While the terminology may vary, the role of the sleep medicine doctor remains the same – to help patients achieve restful, restorative sleep and improve their overall health and well-being.

If you are struggling with sleep-related issues, it’s important to seek the help of a sleep medicine doctor. They can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan tailored to your specific needs, helping you to get the restful, restorative sleep you need to feel your best. 

What Is the Most Common Name for Sleep Medicine Doctors in the US?

To answer ‘What is a sleep medicine doctor called?’, here is it for the US. The most common name for Sleep Medicine Doctors in the US is “Sleep Medicine Physician,” according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the leading professional organization for sleep medicine doctors in the US.

The term “Sleep Medicine Physician” is widely used in medical settings, including hospitals, clinics, and academic institutions. It accurately describes the role and expertise of sleep medicine doctors, licensed medical professionals with specialized training in diagnosing, treating, and managing sleep disorders.

While other terms, such as sleep specialist, sleep physician, and somnologist, are also commonly used to describe sleep medicine doctors, the term “Sleep Medicine Physician” is the most widely recognized and used term in the medical community.

In addition to the AASM, other reputable sources use the term “Sleep Medicine Physician” to describe sleep medicine doctors. For example, the National Sleep Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety through sleep education and advocacy, uses the term “Sleep Medicine Doctor” and “Sleep Medicine Physician” interchangeably on their website.

Furthermore, the Sleep Medicine Certification program offered by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) also uses the term “Sleep Medicine Physician” to describe medical professionals who have completed specialized training in sleep medicine and have earned certification in the field.

In conclusion, while several terms may refer to sleep medicine doctors, the most commonly used and recognized name for these medical professionals in the US is “Sleep Medicine Physician.” This term accurately describes the specialized training and expertise of these doctors, who play a critical role in helping patients improve their sleep and overall health.


How Do You Become a Sleep Medicine Physician?

To become a sleep medicine physician, you typically need to complete several years of education and training in medicine and sleep medicine. Here are the steps you would generally follow according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: The first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as biology, chemistry, or a related field.
  2. Attend Medical School: After completing a bachelor’s degree, you must attend medical school and earn a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.
  3. Complete a Residency in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, or Psychiatry: After completing medical school, you’ll need to complete a residency in internal medicine, pediatrics, or psychiatry. This typically takes 3-4 years.
  4. Complete a Fellowship in Sleep Medicine: After completing a residency, you’ll need to complete a fellowship in sleep medicine. This typically takes 1-2 years and involves specialized training in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders.
  5. Obtain Board Certification: Once you’ve completed your fellowship in sleep medicine, you’ll need to obtain board certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Osteopathic Association. This involves passing a rigorous exam that tests your knowledge and expertise in sleep medicine.
  6. Maintain Continuing Education: To maintain board certification and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in sleep medicine, you’ll need to participate in continuing education programs and complete regular re-certification exams.

How Much Is a Sleep Medicine Physician’s Salary?

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for physicians and surgeons, including sleep medicine physicians, was $208,000 as of May 2020. However, salaries can vary widely depending on factors such as geographic location, experience, and type of employer.

A sleep medicine physician’s salary may also vary depending on the type of sleep medicine practice they work in. For example, those who work in private practice may have higher wages than those who work in academic or research settings.

It’s important to note that becoming a sleep medicine physician requires a significant investment of time and money in education and training, so while the salary can be substantial, it should be weighed against the costs of education and training. Additionally, the rewards of the job can be significant, as sleep medicine physicians play an important role in helping patients improve their quality of life by addressing sleep disorders.

Are Neurologists Also Sleep Specialists?

Yes, neurologists can also be sleep specialists. In fact, neurologists are among the medical specialists who commonly diagnose and treat sleep disorders, as many sleep disorders are related to neurological issues.

Neurologists specializing in sleep medicine typically receive additional training and education beyond their neurology residency to become experts in sleep disorders. This specialized training can include a sleep medicine fellowship, ranging from one to two years of additional training.

Sleep disorders that may be diagnosed and treated by neurologists who specialize in sleep medicine include sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and parasomnias, among others.

Not all neurologists have specialized training in sleep medicine, so if you’re seeking treatment for a sleep disorder, it’s important to find a neurologist with expertise in this area. You may want to consider searching for a neurologist who is also board-certified in sleep medicine.

It can help ensure they have the necessary knowledge and experience to effectively diagnose and treat sleep disorders.

Reasons to See a Sleep Specialist

There are several reasons to see a Sleep Medicine Physician if you are experiencing sleep-related issues or disorders.

Here are some common reasons to seek the help of a sleep specialist:

  1. Chronic snoring: If you or your partner snore loudly and frequently, it could be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder that can lead to health complications if left untreated. A sleep specialist can evaluate your symptoms and provide a diagnosis and treatment plan.
  2. Insomnia: If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, you may have insomnia. A sleep specialist can help identify the underlying cause of your insomnia and develop a personalized treatment plan to help you sleep better.
  3. Narcolepsy: Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden bouts of sleep. A sleep specialist can provide a diagnosis and help manage the symptoms of narcolepsy.
  4. Restless leg syndrome (RLS): RLS is a neurological disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move the legs, particularly at night. A sleep specialist can evaluate your symptoms and develop a treatment plan to help manage RLS.
  5. Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that repeatedly causes breathing to stop and start during sleep. Sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and other health complications if left untreated. A sleep specialist can evaluate your symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and develop a treatment plan to help manage sleep apnea.
  6. Shift work sleep disorder: If you work irregular hours, you may experience shift work sleep disorder, which can cause insomnia, excessive sleepiness, and other sleep-related issues. A sleep specialist can evaluate your symptoms and develop a treatment plan to help manage shift work sleep disorder.

In addition to these common reasons, there are many other sleep-related issues that a sleep specialist can help diagnose and treat. If you are experiencing sleep-related problems, it’s important to seek the help of a sleep specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

What Are the Types of Sleep and How Does It Affect You?

Regardless of ‘What is a sleep medicine doctor called?’, sleep is a critical part of our daily lives, and there are several different types of sleep that we experience throughout the night.

Here are the five main types of sleep and how they affect us:

  1. Stage 1 sleep: This is the lightest stage of sleep and occurs when you first drift off to sleep. Your brainwaves slow down, and you may experience sudden muscle contractions, which can cause you to feel like you’re falling. This stage typically lasts for a few minutes.
  2. Stage 2 sleep: This is a deeper stage of sleep that occurs after stage 1. During stage 2 sleep, your brainwaves continue to slow down, and your body temperature and heart rate decrease. You may also experience brief bursts of brain activity, known as sleep spindles, which are thought to help consolidate memories. This stage typically lasts for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Stage 3 sleep: This is the deepest stage of sleep, also known as slow-wave sleep (SWS). During this stage, your brainwaves slow down even further, making it difficult to wake you up. Your body repairs and regenerates tissues during this stage, and it’s important for physical restoration. This stage typically lasts for 20-40 minutes.
  4. REM sleep: Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is where most of our dreaming occurs. During this stage, your eyes move rapidly, and your brain activity increases, like when you’re awake. Your body is essentially paralyzed during REM sleep, which prevents you from acting out your dreams. REM sleep is important for cognitive restoration, and it’s thought to be essential for memory consolidation. The first cycle of REM typically occurs after 90 minutes of sleep and lasts 10 minutes, with each subsequent cycle getting longer.
  5. Non-REM sleep: The first three stages of sleep are considered non-REM sleep, while REM sleep is a separate category. Non-REM sleep is essential for physical restoration, while REM sleep is essential for cognitive restoration. Both types of sleep are necessary for overall health and well-being.

The amount and quality of each sleep type can affect your physical and mental health. For example, if you don’t get enough deep sleep (stage 3 sleep), you may feel tired and groggy during the day. If you don’t get enough REM sleep, you may have trouble concentrating or feel irritable. Chronic sleep deprivation has also been linked to an increased risk of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and depression.

In conclusion, each type of sleep serves a different purpose and is essential for overall health and well-being. Getting enough high-quality sleep is important for physical and mental health, and if you are experiencing sleep-related issues, it’s important to seek the help of a sleep specialist.


What Are the Different Procedures and Tests Sleep Medicine Physicians Give for Sleep Problems?

Here are some of the most common ones:

  1. Polysomnography (PSG): A PSG is an overnight sleep study that measures brain waves, eye movements, heart rate, and other physiological factors during sleep. It’s typically used to diagnose sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and other sleep disorders.
  2. Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT): An MSLT is a daytime nap study that measures how quickly a person falls asleep and enters REM sleep. It’s used to diagnose narcolepsy and other sleep disorders.
  3. Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT): A MWT is a daytime test that measures a person’s ability to stay awake and alert during the day. It’s used to evaluate a person’s ability to perform tasks that require sustained attention, such as driving.
  4. Actigraphy is a non-invasive method of measuring a person’s sleep and wake cycles over several days or weeks. It involves wearing a small device that measures movement and light exposure.
  5. Home Sleep Apnea Testing (HSAT): HSAT is a portable sleep study that can be done in the comfort of a person’s own home. It typically involves wearing a small device that measures breathing patterns, oxygen levels, and other physiological factors during sleep.
  6. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Titration: CPAP is a common treatment for sleep apnea that involves wearing a mask that delivers a continuous stream of air to keep the airway open during sleep. A CPAP titration study is used to determine the optimal pressure settings for the mask.
  7. Oral Appliance Therapy: Oral appliances are devices worn in the mouth to help keep the airway open during sleep. A sleep medicine physician may recommend oral appliance therapy as a treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea.
  8. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I): CBT-I helps people with insomnia develop healthy sleep habits and address the underlying causes of their sleep problems.

Is there a Center for Sleep Medicine?

Yes, there are many Centers for Sleep Medicine in the United States. Regardless of ‘What is a sleep medicine doctor called?’, these centers specialize in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy. They may be affiliated with hospitals, universities, or independent clinics, and they typically employ sleep medicine physicians, sleep technologists, and other specialists who are trained in the field of sleep medicine.

Some of the US’s top Centers for Sleep Medicine include the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine, the NYU Langone Comprehensive Center for Sleep Medicine, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep.

Suppose you are experiencing sleep-related issues and are seeking medical advice or treatment. In that case, finding a reputable sleep center that can provide you with the proper diagnosis and care is important. You can search for a sleep center in your area through the American Academy of Sleep Medicine or by asking your primary care physician for a referral.

How to Find the Best Sleep Specialist Near Me?

What is a sleep medicine doctor called? Will this affect your mission to find the best specialist near you? If you’re experiencing sleep-related issues and need to see a specialist, it’s important to find a board-certified sleep specialist.

Board certification indicates that the physician has completed specialized training and passed a rigorous exam in sleep medicine, and it’s a good indicator of their expertise in the field.

Here are some steps you can take to find a board-certified sleep specialist near you:

  1. Check with your insurance provider: Many insurance providers, including sleep specialists, have online directories of healthcare providers covered under your plan. You can also call your insurance provider’s customer service line to ask for a list of providers in your area.
  2. Search online directories: Many online directories can help you find board-certified sleep specialists near you. Some examples include the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Healthgrades, and Zocdoc.
  3. Ask your primary care physician: Your primary care physician may be able to recommend a sleep specialist in your area based on your specific needs and medical history.

When looking for the best sleep specialist near you, it’s important to consider factors such as the physician’s experience, reputation, and patient reviews. You can look up the physician’s credentials and experience on their website or online directories, and you can also check patient reviews on sites like Yelp or Healthgrades.


It’s also a good idea to schedule a consultation with the sleep specialist to discuss your symptoms and treatment options and to get a sense of their bedside manner and communication style. By doing your research and finding a qualified and compassionate sleep specialist, you can take the first step toward better sleep and overall health.

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