24. Oct, 2016

Australasian Sleep Association Conference and Sleep Health Foundation Meeting 2016

Sarah Patterson and I attended the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA) Conference on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd October. We have learnt a lot about sleep and about sleep medicine in Australia since the first conference I attended in 2013. We have learnt that sleep medicine is a very young medical specialty in Australia. When we first started Hypersomnolence Australia sleep training for GP's was almost non existent. There were also too few specialty training posts for doctors in Australia that could provide broad exposure to and quality training in, the whole range of sleep disorders, particularly non-respiratory sleep disorders. It has been very encouraging to see sleep medicine grow and the commitment to ensuring more training for non respiratory sleep disorders. The field of sleep medicine has come a long way but there is still so much more to do. Sleep disorders need to be accepted as legitimate medical conditions and the cost to society of sleep disorders and sleep related medical conditions needs to be recognised. Funding to allow for education and research is necessary and doctors need to be supported and encouraged to study a broad range of sleep disorders. We congratulate the work the Australasian Sleep Association and the Sleep Health Foundation (SHF) have done and continue to do to reach those goals.

Thank you to Dorothy Bruck and the Sleep Health Foundation (SHF) for inviting Hypersomnolence Australia to the ASA conference. We enjoyed the symposium, Why sleep isn't a waste of time, understanding sleep function and sleep loss. We also appreciate the invitation to the SHF Annual General Meeting, the dinner on Friday night and the meeting Dorothy put together for sleep organisation's and others on Saturday. The two days were a wonderful opportunity to meet new and interesting people, particularly those that we have known online for a while but we have yet to meet in person. We look forward to continuing our support of the ASA and the SHF and working with them as well as other sleep organisations, Sleep Disorders Australia, Narcolepsy Australia and NODSS to help raise awareness of sleep disorders and sleep health in Australia.

Michelle Chadwick