Report of the Assembly of National Sleep Societies (St Petersburg, 3-4 May 2019)

In 2019, the annual meeting of the Assembly of the National Sleep Societies (ANSS) took place in St Petersburg (Russia). The representatives of 23 countries met to discuss hot topics of clinical, organizational and scientific issues in sleep medicine.

The current ANSS executive committee (ANSS-EC: Chair Barbara G.Strazisar, Oana Claudia Deleanu, Samson Khachatryan, Ysbrand Van der Werf, Lyudmila Korostovtseva) presented a new initiative “Beyond the borders” which implies the involvement and support of sleep societies or related organizations in the countries which are not yet members of the ANSS. The project in general was positively accepted, although aroused questions and provoked a discussion. Based on the preliminary search 18 countries are not represented in ANSS, and only 5 of them responded to our questionnaire and expressed their willingness to take part in the project. As a pilot project, it was decided to organize a meeting in Armenia (planned for the Autumn 2019), which, although is represented in the ANSS, still needs further development of sleep medicine services.

The chair of the ANSS, Barbara G. Stražišar, also reported the current state of Sleep Medicine in pediatric practice based on the questionnaire filled in by the NSS presidents prior to the meeting.

Ysbrand van der Werf summarized the challenges and potential ways for a closer collaboration between scientists and clinicians paying attention to the large scale multinational consortia, more implementation of technology and IT, better integration via joint workshops, seminars and teaching programs, inclusion of sleep-related issues into teaching programs within various curricula (biology, medicine, health sciences, psychological science etc.).

Complying with the EU decision on time change scheduled for 2021, a daylight saving time (DST) session was held. During the session, the ANSS-EC members reviewed the results of the EU Parliament and Council poll on DST, the extreme experiences of single countries (Iceland and Russia) and the current state in different EU countries based on the questionnaire sent prior to the meeting. During the following discussion most of the NSS representatives agreed that standard time is the optimal choice for the EU countries.

The president of the ESRS, Walter McNicholas, presented an overview of the ESRS activities, followed by the more detailed reports on web developments by Pierre-Herve Luppi, activities of Sleep Medicine Committee by Dirk Pevernagie, and progresses in Education and Certification in sleep medicine by Tiina Paunio.

An issue of the need to change the title of the ESRS society to the European Sleep Society and the name of the biannual congress to EuroSleep following the worldwide trends was arisen, however, no conclusive decision was taken.

Invited speaker Thomas Penzel gave a comprehensive overview on the choice between sleep versus subspecialty of sleep and substantiated the need for the general revision of the “Catalogue of Knowledge and Skills (CK&S).

Traditionally, all presidents of the national sleep societies (NSS) gave 3-minute presentations on the main somnology-related achievements of the last year in their country. Based on the voting in the end of the meeting, the winners appeared to be Iceland (Erna Sif Arnardottir), Slovenia (Barbara G. Stražišar), Belgium (Johan Verbraecken), and Portugal (Helena Estevao).

The next meeting is scheduled for May 1-3, 2020 and will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia.