Dr. de la Peña joined the sleep specialist staff in 2004. A native of Brownsville, Texas, he majored in Experimental and Physiological Psychology at the University of Texas (Austin), graduating cum laude, with special honors in Psychology. He received his PhD at Stanford University in sleep-wake developmental psychophysiology, following this up with a two-year post-doctoral research fellowship at UCLA Medical School in the same research training area.
A long-time sleep clinician-researcher, from 1974-1989 he was on the faculty of the University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio as well as Chief of the Clinical Psychophysiology and Sleep labs at the adjoining Audie Murphy Veterans Administration Medical Center. Certified by the American Board of Sleep Medicine as a PhD Sleep Specialist since 1989, he has subsequently been a director/associate director of several accredited sleep centers in California and Texas up to the present time.
At the Pulmonary and Sleep Center of the Valley, Dr. de la Peña provides assessment and treatment of the broad range of sleep complaints/disorders, with special interest in assessment of complaints of insomnia and of hypersomnia. His primary research interest is the role of attentional automatization and the associated experience of boredom/depression in the etiology and/or modulation of complaints of insomnia and hypersomnia as well as a broad range of other health phenomena. He has published many journal abstracts and articles on sleep and sleep disorders, as well as several book chapters and a book on attentional automatization-sleep-health interrelations. Author of a book chapter on the etiology and treatment of insomnia complaints in the first book published in the United States on the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, he is also credited with the original description of the Reverse First-Night Effect in individuals voicing insomnia complaints.
Avocations include reading, classical music and the arts, Tejano Conjunto music, writing, travel, foreign films, and watching a broad array of televised sports events.