Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program

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Faculty and Staff

Michael Perlis, PhDMichael Perlis
, PhD (Click to request CV)
Director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Associate Professor, School of Nursing

Dr. Perlis is an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and the Director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program.

In general, Dr. Perlis’s research pertains to insomnia and Behavioral Sleep Medicine. His specific research interests include: Behavior, cognitive, and physiologic factors in Acute and Chronic insomnia, Cortical arousal and conditioned CNS activation as a primary perpetuator of insomnia;  Sensory and information processing and long term memory formation as key features of Insomnia Disorder as a hybrid state between wake and sleep;  Sleep homeostasis effects on the frequency and severity of insomnia (and the patterning of insomnia over time); Insomnia as morbid risk factor for new onset and recurrent depression; The anti-depressant effects of CBT-I; The potential of conditioning and partial reinforcement with placebos (Behavioral; Pharmacotherapeutics) as a means to change how medical maintenance therapy is conducted; The relative efficacy of behavioral and pharmacologic treatments of insomnia.

Dr. Perlis’s work has been, and continues to be (Gods willing), funded by the National Institutes of Health. His grant portfolio (past and present) as a Principal investigator is comprised of 4 R01s, 3 R21s, and 1 R03. In addition he has held 3 Pharma PI initiated grants, several foundation awards, and participated as a site investigator on 5 industry initiated pharma studies.   

Dr. Perlis is internationally known for his work in the area of Behavioral Sleep Medicine (BSM). He is a coauthor of the first text book in this field and he is the senior author of a published CBT-I treatment manual and a larger text summarizing all BSM treatments. In addition, he conducts two annual CBT-I training workshops per year (the basic workshop has been ongoing for the last 10 years and the advanced workshop was first offered in 2014), has available a video mock case vignette DVD, and offers mini-fellowship BSM practica and supervision through his group at Penn. Note: The Basic CBT-I workshop has also been provided, on request, in England, Sweden, South Africa, Israel, Korea, and Japan and the CBT-I manual has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Korean, and Chinese. In addition to the above mentioned activities, Dr. Perlis has served as mentor to a number of students from many backgrounds, including 29 undergraduates, 6 medical students, 4 residents/psychology interns, 4 graduate students, 9 postdoctoral fellows, and ~15 junior faculty. Most notable among his prior mentees (i.e., those who have gone on to research careers) are Sean Drummond PhD, Kenneth Wright PhD, Michael Smith PhD, Carla Jungquist PhD, Wilfred Pigeon PhD, Philip Gehrman PhD, Subhajit Chakravorty MD, and Michael Grander, PhD.

Dr. Perlis serves on the editorial boards of Sleep, the Journal of Sleep Research, the journal of Sleep Medicine Research, and the journal of Behavioral Sleep Medicine. Dr. Perlis has also served as a member, or chair, of several committees and task forces of the Sleep Research Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and he was the assistant chair for the training program of the SRS for five years. Finally, Dr. Perlis was one of the five organizing and founding members of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine (SBSM).  He also served as the SBSM’s first president (2010-2011).

Dr. Perlis has published, as an author or co-author, more than 100 articles and chapters on sleep research related topics.

His five most influential papers are as follows.

Perlis ML, Buysse, D, Giles, DE, Tu X., Kupfer DJ Sleep disturbance may be a prodromal symptom of depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 42(2): 209-212, 1997.

Perlis ML, Giles DE, Mendelson WB, Bootzin RR, Wyatt, JK   Subjective - objective discrepancies in psychophysiologic insomnia: A neurocognitive perspective. Journal of Sleep Research, 6:179-188, 1997.

Perlis ML, Smith MT, Orff H, Andrews P, Giles, DE  Beta/Gamma EEG Activity in Patients with Primary and Secondary Insomnia and Good Sleeper Controls. Sleep, 24,(1), 110-117, 2001.

Smith MT, Perlis, ML, Park A, Giles DE, Pennington JA, Buysse, D. Behavioral treatment vs. pharmacotherapy for Insomnia - A comparative meta-analyses. American Journal of Psychiatry, 159: 5-11, 2002.

Perlis M, McCall V, Jungquist J, Pigeon W, Matteson S Placebo effects in insomnia. Invited to Sleep Medicine Reviews. 9(5):381-9, 2005.

His most important papers in the last 5 years

Perlis ML and Smith MT How can we make CBT-I and other BSM services widely available?  Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 2008 4(1) 11-13.

Perlis M, Gehrman P and Ellis J. The Natural History of Insomnia: What We Know, Don't Know, and Need to Know. Sleep Medicine Research.2012. 2(3): 79-88. 

Ellis JG, Perlis ML, Neale LF, Espie CA, Bastien CH. The natural history of insomnia: Focus on prevalence and incidence of acute insomnia. J Psychiatr Res. 2012 Jul 14. PMID: 22800714.

Sleep, sleep disturbance, and fertility in women. Kloss JD, Perlis ML, Zamzow JA, Culnan EJ, Gracia CR. Sleep Med Rev. 2014 Oct 18. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PMID: 25458772

The incidence and temporal patterning of insomnia: a second study. Perlis ML, Zee J, Swinkels C, Kloss J, Morgan K, David B, Morales K. J Sleep Res. 2014 Oct;23(5):499-507.PMID: 24730977

Dr. Perlis also has two papers pending: one on the increased risk for completed suicide at night and one pertaining to conditioning and partial reinforcement with placebos and zolpidem to maintain treatment response over time.


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