Behavioral Sleep Medicine Scope of Practice

1. Definition of Behavioral Sleep Medicine

The Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine (SBSM) has adopted the following definition of behavioral sleep medicine, which guides the scope of practice for the field:

Behavioral Sleep Medicine is the field of clinical practice and scientific inquiry that encompasses: the study of behavioral, psychological, and physiological factors underlying normal and disordered sleep across the life span; and, the development and application of evidence-based behavioral and psychological approaches to the prevention and treatment of sleep disorders and co-existing conditions.

2. Definition of a Behavioral Sleep Medicine Specialist

A Behavioral Sleep Medicine Specialist is one with specialized training and expertise in sleep medicine, behavioral health and methods of behavior change. As such, the BSM specialist has expertise in differential diagnosis of sleep and health (psychological and physiological) conditions. The BSM specialist utilizes this expertise along with expertise in behavior change to develop evidence-based treatment plans for those with sleep disorders and co-existing health conditions.

3. Purpose of Scope of Practice

The purpose of this document is to comprehensively define the range of clinical procedures and professional activities that encompass the interdisciplinary practice of behavioral sleep medicine. Regardless of discipline, BSM practitioners will have comprehensive training and education in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of sleep, mental and relevant medical disorders.

4. Scope of BSM Practice

BSM professionals evaluate, diagnose, and treat the behavioral, psychological and physiological factors that may cause or be the consequence of the full spectrum of sleep disorders. This is detailed below.

4.A. Assessment, Diagnosis, and Consultation:

• Order, administer, and interpret psychological, behavioral, physiological, and cognitive tests and monitoring procedures to aid in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of sleep disorders.

• Determine when appropriate behavioral, psychological, and physiological interventions are necessary to treat the comprehensive range of sleep disorders and related health conditions.

• Determine when it is necessary to refer patients for additional assessments, tests, or procedures to establish the diagnosis of sleep disorders, including but not limited to polysomnography.

• Provide consultation to health care professionals and other sleep specialists on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of sleep and related health conditions.

4.B. Treatment Planning and Intervention:

• Utilize the results of polysomonographic studies and other sleep-related medical tests to develop an appropriate behavioral sleep medicine treatment plan for the full range of sleep disorders.

• Independently deliver appropriate behavioral, psychological, and physiological interventions and treatments for sleep disorders and mental disorders.

• Supervise practitioners and trainees in behavioral, psychological, and physiological interventions and treatments for sleep and mental disorders.

5. Limitations On BSM Practice

Individual BSM practitioners only perform procedures, assessments, and interventions as justified by their education, training, licensure, and as regulated by their primary field’s scope of practice.

6. Concept Map


Over the past several months, the SBSM Board of Directors and Committees have been working to develop a concept map that addresses the question, “What is Behavioral Sleep Medicine?” The purpose of the BSM Concept Map Project is to provide a “30,000 foot view” of the current activities, services, and products which define our field. The goal is to provide a tool for the society to guide strategic planning and to provide a tool to help SBSM members in communicating BSM activities to others (e.g., types of clinical services, identifying research gaps, teaching students).

The Board developed the concept map to present an accurate representation of BSM.