A Pioneer in Child Sleep Research and Treatment

Dr. Avi Sadeh

Posted Sep 28, 2016

This post is to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Avi Sadeh, a pioneer in the field of pediatric sleep, who died September 19, 2016 in Tel Aviv, Israel.  Dr. Sadeh earned his B.A. and M.A. in psychology at Haifa University, and his D.Sc. from the School of Medicine, The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University and joined the faculty at Tel Aviv University in 1992.

Dr. Sadeh was a licensed clinical psychologist with more than 25 years of experience in treating infants, children, and families. He authored Sleeping Like a Baby, published by Yale University Press, and published over 130 scientific papers on sleep assessment methods, sleep disorders in infants and children, and on the links between sleep and child development. He was among the first researchers to demonstrate actigraphy as a valid way to estimate sleep-wake patterns. Dr. Sadeh also served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Sleep Research, and was on the editorial board for Sleep Medicine Reviews and Sleep, as well as founder and moderator for the Pediatric Sleep Listserv for nearly 20 years.

I had the good fortune of knowing Dr. Sadeh, and he collaborated with me and my colleague Mona E-Sheikh, on numerous research projects. In 2012, Dr. El-Sheikh and I convened the Forum on Child Sleep and Development at Auburn University and Dr. Sadeh was a major contributor. In 2015, Drs. El-Sheikh and Sadeh edited a Monograph of the Society for Research in Child Development that was based on the work done at the Forum. One of his most recent publications was a major review of sleep problems in children with psychiatric disorders (Gregory & Sadeh, 2016).  A testimony to the depth and breadth of his work is that he collaborated with so many other scholars all around the world. 

Dr. Sadeh was a brilliant scholar and made some of the most important contributions to our methods of measuring sleep, and to our understanding of how children’s sleep relates to health and well-being. But more than that, I will remember him as a gentle, humble, generous man with a bright wit and a big heart.  He inspired all of us in the pediatric sleep and practice community, and he will be deeply missed.

El‐Sheikh, M., & Sadeh, A. (2015). I. Sleep and development: Introduction to the monograph. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 80(1), 1-14.

El-Sheikh, M., Kelly, R. J., Sadeh, A., & Buckhalt, J. A. (2014). Income, ethnicity, and sleep: Coping as a moderator. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 20(3), 441.

Gregory, A. M., & Sadeh, A. (2016). Annual Research Review: Sleep problems in childhood psychiatric disorders–a review of the latest science. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57(3), 296-317.

Sadeh, A. (2011, paperback). Sleeping Like a Baby: A Sensitive and Sensible Approach to Solving Your Child's Sleep Problems. New Haven: Yale University Press.