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Sleep Disorders and Sleep-Wake Research

The Section of Sleep Disorders and Sleep-Wake has been a leader in basic research as well as patient-oriented research for more than 30 years. Key projects have included the following:

  • Discovering that obstructive sleep apnea may become more severe in supine (back) sleep versus other body positions
  • Developing some of the first oral appliance treatments for obstructive sleep apnea
  • Conducting research supporting a major revision in how insomnia disorders are diagnosed
  • Developing novel treatments for insomnia


Our mission is to collaborate with other research groups at Rush, as well as across the United States and beyond, to better understand the importance of sleep, how to design better treatments for sleep disorders and how to detect and manage the impact of sleep disorders on other medical disorders.


We use technology to objectively assess sleep and circadian rhythms, including laboratory and home-based sleep recordings, wrist activity monitoring and assessment of the circadian phase from salivary melatonin. Collaborations with other Rush labs and external labs provide access to a full range of biomedical technology, as applicable to answer key research questions.


Current and recent funding sources include the National Institutes of Health, American Sleep Medicine Foundation, pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical device manufacturers and philanthropic giving.

Our team

Faculty and staff

James J. Herdegen, MD
Medical Director and Sleep Medicine Fellowship Director

Chanthaphon Ouankeo Ratsamy
Operations Manager /  Sleep Program Fellowship Coordinator

James K. Wyatt, PhD
Section Director, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Elizabeth Culnan, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow