The Founding Years
In 1961, a small group of sleep researchers decided to meet to share ideas and abstracts, and founded the organization that eventually became the Sleep Research Society. In the beginning, there were no officers, and the society did not have a formal name.
The first central communicator for the group was Joe Kamiya, the Secretary-Treasurer, who was appointed in late 1962. Two years later, this society of scientists adopted the name Association for the Psychophysiological Study of Sleep (APSS).
Advances in Sleep Research
Members made many breakthroughs in sleep and sleep medicine in the decades following the society’s founding. Distinguished scientists including Charles Fisher, Roger Broughton, Elliot Weitzman and Al Rechtschaffen led the APSS during this period. Advancements include the discovery of sleep architecture, the understanding of REM sleep and its relationship to the mind and dreaming and the development of new clinical approaches to sleep disorders. These discoveries were often published in an annual publication of research abstracts called Sleep Research, which Michael Chase founded in 1972.
The society adopted its current name, the Sleep Research Society, in the 1980s. The previous acronym wasn’t completely abandoned: the Sleep Research Society’s partnership with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) is named the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, or the APSS. The APSS hosts the annual SLEEP meeting, where researchers from around the world share their research abstracts.
The Sleep Research Society and the field of sleep research continue to enjoy immense growth and increased visibility. SRS Membership now consists of more than 1,400 researchers, ranging from promising young trainees to accomplished senior-level professors. Sleep research has become a multidisciplinary effort, encompassing researchers from psychology, pharmacology, neuroanatomy and beyond.