I first launched NYC Sleep Doctor in 2008 after years of being the unofficial sleep consultant to friends, colleagues and family. I strongly believe that correcting sleep problems—for children and for adults—is critical to physical and psychological health.
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, focusing on Health Psychology, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy. 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 for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) 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.
The Evolution of a Sleep Doctor:
I didn’t set out to become a sleep doctor, but my work at the VA truly inspired me. Helping people to reset their sleep, learning to sleep naturally and trust their bodies—even during rough patches—was incredibly rewarding. Yet it could be hard to find CBT-i providers in the private sector.
Also during that time at the VA, I started a family and, for initially selfish reasons, learned everything I could about infant sleep. I then started helping my friends and fellow moms with their kids’ sleep issues and a business idea was born. The timing wasn’t great with a preschooler and a baby at home—not to mention the financial crisis of 2008—but I took the leap anyway, cut back my schedule at the VA and started NYC Sleep Doctor, doing home visits for babies and toddlers while seeing adults in my therapy office.
As my practice grew, I had to make the tough choice to leave the VA and devote myself to NYC Sleep Doctor full time. 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.
NYC Sleep Doctor today:
I created NYC Sleep Doctor to help people substantially improve their daily lives and long-term functioning through better sleep. New opportunities have arisen in recent years, including brand partnerships and ambassadorships, speaking engagements, podcasts and other media appearances. It has been amazing to grow and develop my work over the past decade (plus). I so look forward to what’s to come!