The British Sleep Society (BSS)


Dr. Tim Quinell

Presentation held during the ANSS meeting in:
Brussels, Belgium, 28. - 30.04.2016 (PDF)

Foundation year


Number of members


Composition of members (degree, specialties, subspecialties, etc.)

The society has an inclusive approach to all specialists related to sleep medicine and sleep research.
The members include both academic and clinical specialists, particularly neurologists, pulmonologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, pediatricians, geriatricians as well as neurophysiologists, circadian rhythm experts, nurses and a large number technologists working in sleep laboratories.

Historical perspective of the society

The society was founded in 1989 mainly in response to the increase of awareness of obstructive sleep apneas and their clinical importance. Over the next few years it broadened to include neurological and physiological interests with strong emphasis on technical aspects and polysomnography. Over the last
10 years special interest groups in, for instance, pediatrics and techniques, such as actigraphy, have been established so that it now provides a comprehensive resource to clinical, research and technical specialties.

Important sleep physicians / researchers in the history of the NSS

Past Presidents and Chairmen:

1989 – 1990 N. Douglas and C. Shapiro
1990 – 1991 I. Hindmarch
1991 – 1992 J. Stradling
1992 – 1993 C. D. Hanning
1993 – 1996 W. McNicholas
1996 – 1998 C. Idzikowski
1998 – 2001 P. Calverley
2001 – 2003 Neil Stanley
2004 – 2008 Melissa Hack
2008 – 2011 John Shneerson
2011 – 2015 Paul Reading
2015 – To present Mary Morrell

Number of Sleep Medicine Centers (link to their titles and locations)

Number of Sleep Research Centers (link to their titles and locations)

These include the
Respiratory Support & Sleep Centre, Papworth Hospital, Cambridge
Glasgow Sleep Center
University of Surrey
St Thomas’s Hospital, London
Elvina Hospital, London,
Burden Centre, Bristol,
Tom MacKay’s Edinburgh
University of Edingborough
Loughborough University,
Russell Foster’s Oxford
Mike Hastings in Cambridge regarding circadian rhythms

Accreditation / Certification procedure

The Society has formalized an Accreditation procedure for sleep centres providing polysomnography in harmony with the ESRS recommendations.
The first centre to be approved was the Respiratory Support & Sleep Centre, Papworth Hospital, Cambridge in 2011.

Educational programs

The Society has for many years ran an Annual Scientific meeting each September which has been held in Cambridge since 2001. The Society also holds an annual Spring Technologist Conference at different locations around the country each year. Both of these meetings have proved popular with excellent feedback. In addition the Society has joined with the Belgian and Dutch Sleep Societies to co-organise the International Sleep Medicine Course (ISMC) and host this important meeting every 3 years.

Present activities, working groups, task forces

The Society has a main Executive Committee with subcommittees such as the Accreditation Committee and Scientific Meeting Committee.
In addition to the Accreditation procedure for sleep medicine centres it has recently developed position statements such as on the use of Modafinil for conditions other than narcolepsy causing excessive daytime sleepiness and regarding increasing the awareness and providing treatment for Heavy goods verhicle (HGV) drivers with obstructive sleep apnoeas.
The society’s working with other medical specialist bodies to promote sleep medicine as a medical subspecialty in the UK.