About Dr. Dement

About Sleep Scientist William C. Dement

Video: Testimonial Dr. Dement


Dr. William Dement is a professor at Stanford University's medical school and was instrumental in opening the first sleep laboratory in the world at Stanford. He is the Chief Scientific Advisor for SleepQuest, and is considered the father of modern sleep medicine. SleepQuest and Dr. Dement have been leading the evolution of sleep medicine, including advocating at-home studies, to make diagnosis and treatment patient-friendly.

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The Father of Modern Sleep Science

William C. Dement, MD, PhD is the world's leading authority on sleep, sleep deprivation, and the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. Dr. Dement is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and the Division Chief of the Stanford University Division of Sleep. Dr. Dement is a premier sleep scientist who works as advisor to our San Francisco Bay Area-based SleepQuest office.


Dr. William C. Dement, the world's foremost authority on sleep disorders.

In 1953, the study of sleep became a true scientific field when Dement was able to make all-night, continuous recordings of brain and eye activity during sleep. Studying sleeping subjects with the electroencephalogram (EEG), he was the first to document sleep patterns in humans by making all-night, continuous recordings of brain and eye activity during sleep. This led to his discovery of the five stages of sleep, REM activity, and the relationship between REM and dreaming.

In 1963, Dement joined the Psychiatry Department at Stanford University, where for the past thirty-five years he has continued his studies on the neurochemistry of sleep and the functional significance of the different sleep states.

In 1970, Dr. Dement founded the world's first Sleep Laboratory at Stanford University which introduced all-night polysomnographic (PSG) examination of patients. Dr. Dement and his colleagues were the first to understand the prevalence and clinical implications of several sleep disorders, including Sleep Apnea syndromes, Narcolepsy Periodic Leg Movement, Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, Psychophysiological Insomnia, Drug Dependency Insomnia, and a host of other disorders. The researchers also confirmed that nocturnal hypertension was present in patients who snored.

Dement has helped develop a thorough understanding of the determinants of daytime sleepiness including the demonstration that partial sleep loss is cumulative, that the circadian curve of sleepiness is biphasic, and that sleep needs must be defined in terms of daytime alertness.

Since 1971, Dr. Dement continues to teach the most popular class in Stanford history (Sleep and Dreams) and focuses on public education of the dangers of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and driving when drowsy.

In 1975, Dr. Dement helped to invent the Multiple Sleep Latency Test, used to measure sleepiness. Later, Dement proposed the measure that is still used for the clinical definition of sleep apnea and the rating of its severity, the Apnea/Hyponea Index (AHI).

Dr. Dement co-founded the Sleep Research Society in 1961 and was founding President of the American Sleep Disorders Association in 1975, a position he held for 12 years. Now known as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the organization has established the "William C. Dement Academic Achievement Award" to recognize members of the sleep field who have displayed exceptional initiative and progress in the areas of sleep education and academic research.

Dr. Dement is the founder of the American Board of Sleep Medicine which examines and certifies physicians who wish to specialize in sleep medicine. Dement was chairman of the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, whose recommendations led directly to the creation of a new agency within the National Institutes of Health, the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research.

Dement is the author or co-author of approximately 500 scientific publications, including "The Promise of Sleep", "Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine," (the definitive textbook in the field), founding co-editor of the premier scientific journal, "Sleep", author of "Some Must Watch While Some Must Sleep" and "A Primary Care Physician's Guide to Healthy Sleep" (published by SleepQuest).

In addition, to his many scientific and academic achievements, for over a decade Dr. Dement has served as Chief Scientific Advisor to SleepQuest in pursuit of his lifetime goal to lower healthcare utilization and costs through a comprehensive program employing at-home diagnosis and therapy for Sleep Apnea.

For over a decade, Dr. Dement has worked through SleepQuest to establish the highest standards available in home sleep testing and therapy. He believes the SleepQuest model provides greater access to care at a lower cost, while providing the best possible pathway for patients with sleep disordered breathing.

Dr. Dement's Top Initiatives:

  • Create measurable progress toward public awareness concerning sleep. Create age appropriate curriculum and ensure mandatory inclusion in grade school, high school and college curriculums
  • Require mandatory, in-depth training for the most common sleep disorders and their relationship to other co-morbidities and symptoms. Create measurable progress concerning how primary care physicians conduct medical appointments for their knowledge as well as behavior toward sleep disorders; to cause higher identification of afflicted patients.
  • Identify all very severe obstructive sleep apnea patients and assure that they are treated successfully.
  • Improve timely access for the diagnosis of sleep disorders by allowing the 80% of people who do not live near a sleep specialist, to be able to choose ambulatory sleep testing as a viable diagnostic tool.
  • Make the public aware that "drowsiness is red alert!" — so that each person becomes knowledgeable of their own fatigue limits.

About SleepQuest

"From my very first visit at SleepQuest, they offered friendly, prompt and professional service."Julie P.
"I traveled from Gilroy to Redwood City because of your knowledgeable staff."Geoff D.
"Before, I met with a Sleep Care Specialist, I had felt so awful for so long. Now, I feel like a new person with renewed energy and hope. I can’t thank SleepQuest enough for all their help."Christie V.
"I choose SleepQuest because their Sleep Care Specialists are always friendly, patience, and helpful."Jin T.

Expert Guide to Sleep Apnea 

This guide to understanding Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) was written by SleepQuest’s Chief Scientific Officer; William C. Dement, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Dement presents a standing-room only seminar at Google headquarters

Tribute to Dr. Dement from colleagues and students at Stanford University


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