Trends in CPAP education and sleep apnea support were significant at that time. Our understanding of sleep breathing disorders had become a prominent concern among both patients and sleep professionals. From the very beginning, those who use a form of PAP can attest to the value of our support groups to offset the challenges of using PAP therapy.
But take a look at the acronym that defines our sleep health support programs. Notice there’s no mention of sleep apnea?
That’s because A.W.A.K.E. isn’t only just for people with sleep apnea. And these days, the need for live meetups of patients with sleep disorders has probably never been more critical to our national health.
Since A.W.A.K.E. was started, new and compelling research from the CDC and other organizations has shown that America has problems—sometimes dangerous ones—with sleep. Insomnia, sleep deprivation, drowsy driving, and sleep struggles related to medical conditions are just the tip of the iceberg.
Sleep problems affect more than just the elderly, the sick, and the obese, as well. Children, women, athletes, even some of our most beloved icons struggle with sleep problems or are the victims of others’ sleep problems.
The ASAA’s A.W.A.K.E. programs are free, local, and face-to-face. They exist to help bridge the gap between patients struggling with sleep disorders and real-world solutions. Often, these solutions are acquired through the generosity of peers who have been through the same struggles themselves.
Many, but not all, of our programs across the country remain focused on sleep apnea and CPAP management and support. We are proud of this legacy. Sleep apnea is far more prevalent than Americans are aware.
And the ASAA will continue to be there, via the A.W.A.K.E. group in your community, to help you should a diagnosis become part of your reality.
But don’t be fooled into thinking A.W.A.K.E. groups are limited only to the concerns surrounding sleep apnea. We are just as happy to offer support groups in your area focused on PTSD and sleep, or workplace-related sleep issues, or sleep in the golden years… virtually any sleep problem you bring forward which demands community support and activism.
All people struggling with sleep problems are encouraged to attend an A.W.A.K.E. meeting. Share your sleep concerns, tips, strategies, stories, and more; you’ll be glad you did! A.W.A.K.E. exists, ultimately, to provide attendees with the support, tools, and inspiration necessary to manage sleep problems successfully, no matter the diagnosis.
We hope so! Our searchable A.W.A.K.E. database can help you find a group near you.
It might also be time your community gained their own A.W.A.K.E. group.
We encourage healthcare professionals, sleep dentists and patients to launch and lead new groups. Check out this information for getting yours established on our page For Potential A.W.A.K.E. Coordinators.