Sebastiaan Overeem is Full Professor in the Signal Processing Systems group (Department of Electrical Engineering). He is a clinical somnologist and a neuroscientist, holding the chair Advanced Sleep Monitoring. He focuses on the development, validation and implementation of new diagnostic methods for sleep and sleep disorders.

Overeem has a broad interest and experience in the field of sleep medicine.  An important focus has been on narcolepsy, including the neurophysiology of cataplexy and the biology of the hypocretin system. The hypocretin-system formed the initial link to sleep in Parkinson’s disease, when it was shown that hypocretin defects are present in Parkinson’s as a cause of sleep disturbances. Assessing sleep disorders in neurodegenerative disease posed a technological challenge, resulting in the first collaboration with Eindhoven University of Technology.

Within the framework of the Eindhoven MedTech Innovation Center, Overeem is coordinating various research efforts aiming to improve the diagnosis of sleep disorders, through new non-obtrusive measurement modalities, in addition to advanced analysis methods for sleep. Besides objective measures, the assessement of subjective sleep experience and symptoms is an integral topic of research.

His clinical work as a sleep medicine specialist takes place at the Center for Sleep Medicine Kempenhaeghe.

He published over 230 peer-reviewed papers, which are frequently cited (>12000 citations, Web of Science H-index 57, i10 index 124).

Technological developments in the area of sleep diagnostics are essential to improve the care for patients with sleep disorders, diseases with a tremendous impact on quality of life.”


Sebastiaan Overeem holds a PhD (2003, cum laude) and MD (2004, cum laude) from Leiden University. Part of his thesis work took place at the Center for Narcolepsy Research at Stanford University. After graduating, he worked as Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Radboud University Medical Center from 2005 to 2015. In 2008, he took up the position of somnologist at Sleep Medicine Center Kempenhaeghe. Overeem joined Eindhoven University of Technology as Senior Researcher in 2015 and was appointed professor in 2017.

Smartwatches and apps to measure sleep

Sebastiaan Overeem gave a lecture at the ‘Universiteit van Nederland’, a prominent video and podcast platform featuring researchers from Dutch universities. In this video (in Dutch), he explains how physicians measure sleep, and why this is very different from how smartwatches try to say something about your night. Finally, he describes his ongoing research to improve smartwatch algorithms so that they can be used for medical purposes.

Ancillary Activities

  • klinisch somnoloog, Centrum voor Slaapgeneeskunde Kempenhaeghe