William Dement

The mission of Dr. William Dement

We work every day to ensure that access to sleep care is available to the millions of Americans who suffer from sleep conditions. We work to execute the mission of Dr. William Dement – the father of sleep medicine – who believed there is a moral imperative to treat the millions suffering in silence. We campaigned for a smarter system – then created one ourselves. Most importantly, we provide affordable and effective diagnosis, treatment and guidance to those suffering from sleep apnea, allowing them to regain their health and happiness.

In Memory of Dr William C. Dement

July 29, 1928 – June 17, 2020

SleepQuest regrets to hear of the passing of our Chief Scientific Advisor, Dr. William C. Dement, on June 17, 2020. He was a clinician, researcher, educator, mentor, and friend to the entire sleep community across the United States. Dr. Dement pioneered his vision of sleep medicine into an uncharted field throughout the U.S. and the world and for that he was acclaimed as “The Father of Sleep Medicine”. Dr. Dement’s unrivaled passion, dedication, and enthusiasm help build the history of sleep medicine.

As part of the mission of Dr. Dement, we have worked every day for the last 25 years to ensure that access to sleep care is available to the millions of Americans who suffer from sleep conditions. We’ve worked to execute the mission of Dr. William Dement who believes there is a moral imperative to treat the millions suffering in silence from sleep apnea. Without collaboration with Dr. Dement, SleepQuest wouldn’t have pioneered a new clinical pathway that has become well accepted by the medical community.

Dr. Dement, M.D., Ph.D., was the director and founder of the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Center, the world’s first sleep disorders center. Dr. Dement received his medical degree and Ph.D. degree in neurophysiology from the University of Chicago. During that time, he helped discover and describe REM sleep and its relationship with dreaming. Dr. Dement started the world’s first sleep disorders clinic in 1970 and ,with his colleagues, introduced all-night polysomnographic examination of patients with sleep-related problems and the Multiple Sleep Latency Test. He recruited Dr. Christian Guilleminault from France who helped to define sleep apnea as a disease and carried out the first treatments in the United States. He together with his colleagues, initiated many research studies on sleep apnea, sleep deprivation, insomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep hygiene.

Dr. Dement was cofounder of the Sleep Research Society and founder of the Association of Sleep Disorders Centers, now known as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and president for the first twelve years. He has strongly advocated public policy in applying sleep knowledge for families, workplaces, and safer transportation throughout America. He was also Chairman of the National Commission on Sleep Disorders, which was created by the U.S. Congress.

Throughout his career, Dr. Dement has provided courses and lectures for undergraduates, medical students, primary care physicians, and the general public.  The legacy of William Dement, the “Father of Sleep Medicine,” is the sleep medicine subspecialty. His dream was for sleep to become as widespread a specialty as cardiology and diabetes, since it contributes so strongly to a person’s daily functioning.  He believed that only by creating a new standard of care for primary care physicians based on education during medical school, could we identify the millions of patients who are suffering from sleep disorders.

More concretely, his dream during his lifetime was to provide care for the 80% of those undiagnosed and untreated with sleep apnea.  He believed that with a properly conducted home sleep study, interpreted by a board certified sleep physician, one could diagnose and treat the masses expeditiously at tremendous savings to society.

He and our founding CEO, Robert Koenigsberg, agreed on these points which was a basis for their professional relationship and friendship during the past twenty plus years.  He’ll be remembered by all his students of his popular undergraduate course “Sleep and Dreams”, by recognizing and loudly professing that “Drowsiness is Red Alert”.  Dr. Rafael Pelayo will continue to teach this course at Stanford as he has done with him over the past several years.

All of us here at SleepQuest will miss his visionary guidance, but will always vow to continue on the path he started us on. We extend our deepest sympathy to all of his family and friends.


Robert Koenigsberg