Winkelman, John, MD, PhD

Chief, Sleep Disorders Clinical Research Program
Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School


Dr. John Winkelman is Chief of the Sleep Disorders Clinical Research Program in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.  After graduating from Williams College, he received a PhD in Psychobiology from Harvard University and then an MD from Harvard Medical School.  He then completed both a residency in Psychiatry and a fellowship in Neurology (Sleep Medicine) at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Winkelman is an international leader in Sleep Medicine, particularly in clinical research at the intersection of sleep disturbance and psychiatric illness, and in restless legs syndrome and insomnia.  He frequently lectures in and directs national and international post-graduate medical education courses in sleep disorders and commonly promotes awareness of sleep issues in the media.  Dr. Winkelman is chair of the American Academy of Neurology practice parameter committee for the treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome, is an Associate Editor of Sleep and serves on the editorial boards of Sleep Medicine and CNS Drugs. He has published more than 100 articles, reviews and book chapters and is also the editor of the major textbook Foundations of Psychiatric Sleep Medicine, Cambridge University Press (2011).

His research has focused in two areas: 1) epidemiology, physiology, cardiovascular consequences and treatment of restless legs syndrome (RLS), and 2) neurobiology and treatment of insomnia.  His RLS research has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Neurology, Circulation, and has led to FDA approval of two medications for this common disorder.  His finding of reduced GABA in the occipital and anterior cingulate cortices was the first demonstration of a neurochemical abnormality in insomnia which he is now expanding into work relating the neurochemistry of insomnia to major depression.  He published a Clinical Practice review of Insomnia Disorder in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2015.