About Dr. Kennedy

After years of being the unofficial sleep consultant to friends, colleagues and family with a variety of child and adult sleep issues, I decided to make the leap and create NYC Sleep Doctor in 2008. I strongly believe that correcting sleep problems—for children and for adults—is critical to the physical and psychological health of the whole family.

I was born and raised in the Midwest and moved to New York City to attend college. After graduating from New York University with honors in Psychology, I received the prestigious Henry Mitchell MacCracken fellowship for graduate study at NYU. I conducted research in conflict resolution among couples and received intensive clinical training in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Family Systems Therapy. While at NYU, I trained at Kings County Medical Center, Bellevue Hospital, New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Eating Disorders Resource Center. I completed my internship training at the Manhattan Veterans Administration Medical Center in 2001-2002. I graduated from NYU in 2002 with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and my dissertation research was published that year in the Journal of Personality.

After my internship at the Manhattan VA, I was hired there as a Health Psychologist working in the Primary Care Medical Clinic. There was great concern at the time about the overuse of hypnotic sleep medications such as Ambien in the veteran population. I found a suitable treatment protocol in the literature and adapted it, creating the Sleep Disorders Treatment Program at the Manhattan and Brooklyn VA Hospitals. In 2006, I was named Assistant Director of Outpatient Mental Health and placed in charge of developing new treatment programs in the outpatient clinic. That year, I was also appointed Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU Medical School, Department of Psychiatry.

While developing the sleep program, I also started a family and read all the sleep manuals I could find. I was struck by how confusing these books could be and found myself interpreting them for my friends and fellow moms.

I soon noticed a division of labor in couples—there always seemed to be a “reader” who had to convince the other parent to follow techniques, ones that could be counterintuitive and challenging. Yet getting a child to sleep well requires a team effort. I devised step-by-step plans to address the problems and found that this approach was very effective. I discovered maxims, and with them as a foundation, I devised tailored sleep plans for each family.

In the early years of NYC Sleep Doctor, I was able to balance my private practice with my work at the VA. But as my practice grew, I made the tough choice to devote myself to NYC Sleep Doctor full time. I now have offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn where I treat adults and I continue to do home-visit consultations for babies and toddlers. My first book, The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for your Baby (and You), was published by Henry Holt in January 2015. The Good Sleeper is available online, at your local bookstore, and here.

I created NYC Sleep Doctor to help people substantially improve their daily lives and long-term functioning through better sleep. Using everything I know as a scientist and as a practicing psychologist, along with my hands-on experience as a working mother of two, I find solutions that work for each individual family.