Paths to Sleep Medicine

The path to sleep medicine

Discover the Roles in the Sleep Team 

The field of sleep medicine involves people in several professional roles. Look below at the roles in sleep medicine.  

Sleep Physicians/Scientists: After the successful completion of an accredited medical school curriculum, those interested in sleep medicine may enter a specialty residency program. Then, after completion of a specialty (e.g., internal medicine, neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, anesthesiology, or otolaryngology), a physician may enter a sleep medicine fellowship, a 1-year subspecialty experience. Sleep scientists hold a PhD and perform research in a variety of settings; they are scientific investigators who educate and perform research on sleep and circadian science. 

Sleep Physician Training
Sleep Research Opportunities

Sleep Technologists: Sleep technologists perform and monitor various sleep tests and application of therapeutic modalities including in-lab sleep studies and other sleep diagnostics. Sleep technologists work closely with patients and provide important patient care and education. 

Sleep Technologist Training
Sleep Technologist Resources

Nurses, Respiratory Therapists, and Allied Health Professionals: Allied health professionals and providers such as respiratory therapists, nurses, and physician assistants play an important role in triaging, clinical case coordination and diagnostics, and device troubleshooting, and aid in their management. 

Dentists: Some dentists may include the treatment of sleep disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea, with oral appliances in their dental practice. Dentists may also manage patient use of oral appliances over time depending on the specialization of the dental practice.  

Quick Resources 

From medical students to program faculty, see how you can start getting involved in sleep medicine education by selecting your appropriate status below.

  • View SAFER to learn important information and strategies related to sleep, alertness and fatigue in medical school
  • Visit the NRMP website for information on the Sleep Medicine Match
  • Learn about specific sleep medicine fellowship programs – Select Sleep Medicine (under Internal Medicine) and click Search!
  • Join the AASM to learn more about sleep medicine and utilize member-only resources such as the AASM Mentor Program
  • Pursue an elective rotation in sleep
  • Engage with a local sleep medicine specialist to learn more about fellowship training and/or pursuing a sleep-related research project (psst…AASM Members get access to the Online Membership Directory!)
  • Take the SMITE exam (Fellows should only take this exam between March 1 and March 31, 2019)
  • Sleep Medicine Match – Sleep medicine fellows and fellowships are strongly encouraged to participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Details about the sleep medicine match can be found here.
  • Join the AASM to learn more about sleep medicine and utilize member-only resources such as the AASM Mentor Program
  • Choose Sleep Interest Groups – From a faculty standpoint, Choose Sleep Interest Groups provide you opportunities to convey the positive and exciting aspects of a sleep medicine career to students looking to gain exposure to sleep medicine earlier in their medical school careers. A Choose Sleep Interest Group may ultimately result in increased recruitment of students into sleep medicine fellowships.
  • Connect with the Sleep Medicine Fellowship Directors Council – The AASM supports sleep medicine fellowship program directors through the Sleep Medicine Fellowship Directors Council. This council provides a network of support for program directors, including a location to exchange materials, a forum at the SLEEP meeting, and email updates with pertinent information. Additionally, the Sleep Medicine Fellowship Directors Council organizes a webinar series presented by experts focusing on sleep-related content that may be difficult for you to provide within your institution. For more information, contact Sally Podolski at

Additional Educational Opportunities

Free Student/Resident Membership

Learn from mentors, make connections, and sharpen skills.

SLEEP Annual Meeting

The premier world forum to present and discuss the latest developments in clinical sleep medicine and sleep and circadian science.

On-Demand Learning Modules

Available anytime, anywhere, these modules provide the opportunity to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Shop the Online Store

Your one-stop-shop for textbooks, e-books, fact sheets, continuing sleep medicine education, practice exams, webinars, and more.

Sleep Medicine Trends Course

A concentrated, 2 and 1/2 day course, that occurs in February, that explores the latest strategies and tools in sleep medicine.

Sleep Medicine Essentials

A hybrid course, that occurs in September, with a balance of board review preparation and general sleep knowledge review to drive home the knowledge needed to provide the best sleep care.