It is needless to state that there is a need for international co-operation in sleep research and sleep medicine. But till about early 1990’s the scientists and practitioners of sleep medicine of most Asian countries, even neighbouring countries, have not met together and co-operated in sleep research and sleep medicine, not only for political reasons, but also because there was no forum for them to meet and interact. Sleep research and sleep medicine in Asia got a significant boost with the formation of the Asian Sleep Research Society. Prof. Shojiro Inoue of Japan should be given the main credit for this. In 1991, he introduced the idea during a Satellite Symposium on International Co-operation in Sleep Research at Otaru, Japan.

Subsequent interaction between the scientists who attended the meeting in Japan led to the formation of the Founding Committee of Asian Sleep Research Society (ASRS) on 10th September, 1992 at New Delhi. It could be described as a major step towards co-operation in sleep research and sleep medicine in Asia. Through the efforts of the Founding Committee, the Asian Sleep Research Society was founded on June 16, 1994 at Tokyo, Japan. The Founding Congress of Asian Sleep Research Society was held during 15-16 June, 1994 at Tokyo, Japan, under the leadership of Prof. Teruo Okuma, who was also elected as its first President. Today, the Asian Sleep Research Society is a federation of 13 societies in Asia.

The Second ASRS Congress was organised by Prof. J.M. Askenasy during 24-29 August, 1997, at Jerusalem, Israel. The Third ASRS Congress was organised by Prof. N. Kotchabhakdi during 3-7 December, 2000 at Bangkok, Thailand. Prof. Liu Shiyi organised the Fourth ASRS Congress during February 28-March 2, 2004 in Zhuhai, China. The 5th ASRS Congress was held during September 20-23, 2006 at Seoul, Korea. Professor Do-Un Jeong hosted this Congress. The prime objective of these ASRS Congresses had been to enable all the participants to present their individual research, and to provide an insight into the success stories of renowned sleep investigators. These international gatherings had brought together established sleep scientists, physicians, as well as students from around the world. At all these meetings, talented young scientists from developing countries were given awards for their good posters.

Another major venture that was undertaken for the Asian Sleep Research Society was the Interim Congress of World Federation of Sleep Research Societies, which took place at New Delhi India during 22-26 September, 2005. This Congress was organized by Prof. V. Mohan Kumar and Prof. H.N. Mallick.

Currently, there are two international journals on sleep published from Asia. They are “Sleep and Biological Rhythm”, whose Editor-in-chief is Prof. Masako Okawa from Japan. The other one is “Sleep and Hypnosis” whose Editor-in-chief is Dr. Mehmed Yucel Agargun, from Turkey.

By,
Dr. V Mohan Kumar,
Past President of ASRS