UCI Health psychiatrist Dr. Ruth M. Benca specializes in psychiatry and sleep medicine.

Ruth M. Benca, MD


Psychiatry, Sleep Medicine

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  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Psychiatry - General
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Sleep Medicine [P&N]
  • English
Medical School
University of Chicago Pritzker School of MedicineMD
University of Chicago Medical CenterPsychiatry
University of Chicago Medical CenterClinical Polysomnography
Professional Positions
  • Professor and Chair — Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, UCI School of Medicine
  • Director — UCI Health Sleep Medicine Services
  • Past President — Sleep Research Society
  • Section Editor — UpToDate for Sleep Medicine
  • Editor-in-Chief — Current Sleep Medicine Reports
More Information

Dr. Ruth Benca is a UCI Health psychiatrist with expertise in a broad range of sleep disorders. She is internationally known for her research on the relationship between sleep and psychiatric disorders.

She earned her medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, followed by a residency in psychiatry at the University of Chicago Medical Center and a fellowship in clinical polysomnography at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Prior to joining UCI Health and the UCI School of Medicine, Benca was the founding director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research, a unique facility, dedicated to the development of translational research in sleep medicine. She also served as medical director for Wisconsin Sleep, where she treated patients with a broad range of sleep disorders. 

She has a broad background in basic and clinical sleep research and has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on many projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense over the last 25 years. Her ongoing work has focused on the use of high-density EEG, actigraphy and home sleep testing to assess sleep and brain function in obstructive sleep apnea. She also uses high-density EEG along with brain imaging to assess brain activity in normal and pathological aging, including in patients with mild cognitive impairment and cognitively intact subjects at increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

At UCI Health, Benca has built a comprehensive sleep medicine center that is dedicated to providing outstanding clinical care for sleep disorders throughout the region, along with a world-class translational research program. 

She is the author of more than 150 articles, reviews and book chapters, and the handbook, Sleep Disorders: The Clinician’s Guide to Diagnosis and Management. She has served as president of the Sleep Research Society and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. She has been a member of several editorial boards, including deputy editor of Sleep: Journal of Sleep and Sleep Disorders Research. She currently serves a section editor of UpToDate for Sleep Medicine and as editor-in-chief of Current Sleep Medicine Reports

Benca sees patients in Orange and in Newport Beach

UCI Health Neuropsychiatric Center
3800 W. Chapman Ave., Suite 500
Orange, CA 92868
Phone: 714-456-5902
Fax: 714-456-5112
UCI Health Newport — Birch Street
20350 SW Birch St.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Phone: 714-456-5902
Fax: 714-456-5112