Treatment for Sleep Disorders FAQ

What is a behavioral sleep medicine specialist?

A behavioral sleep medicine specialist is a practitioner who is certified to treat sleep disorders using behavioral methods rather than medication.

What conditions can be treated using behavioral methods?

Insomnia, circadian rhythm sleep disorders (sleep schedule that is shifted abnormally early or late), shift work disorder, jet lag, sleepwalking, and behavioral insomnias of childhood (bedtime resistance and requiring parental presence in the middle of the night) have been shown to respond well to behavioral treatment.  I also treat depression and anxiety secondary to sleep difficulties. 

Does it work?

Yes!  Research has demonstrated that, unlike sleep hygiene education, behavioral treatment for insomnia is as effective as medication in the short-term and more effective than medication long-term (see Choosing Wisely: AASM Guidelines for more information about treatment for insomnia).  There is also strong research support for the use of behavioral treatments for other common sleep disorders (see above).

What would treatment with you look like?

Sessions are tailored to individuals' unique sleep needs.  Unless patients prefer otherwise, Dr. Vaughan maintains close communication with patients' primary care physicians or sleep medicine specialists.  Treatment often involves systematically altering structured sleep schedules, timed melatonin administration, bright light exposure, and other evidence-based therapies to restructure biological sleep patterns.

Will my insurance pay for it?

Dr. Vaughan is currently considered an out-of-network specialist; however, patients are provided with a "super bill" at the end of each visit which they may submit to their insurance company for reimbursement.  Depending on the plan deductible and mental health coverage, plans may reimburse patients 40-80% of the cost of each visit.  Insomnia treatment may be covered under your "medical" or "behavioral health" benefits, depending on your insurance carrier. Dr. Vaughan advises that patients contact their plan administrator prior to their initial visit to determine what will be covered by their plan.  See "fees" page for more information.



In 2014, the AASM published a list of evidence-based treatment recommendations for the five most commonly "mis-treated" disorders in sleep medicine. The purpose of this list was to promote patient advocacy and encourage communication between patients and physicians about the current, most up-to-date treatment recommendations.  You can learn more about the AASM's treatment recommendations for insomnia by clicking here.