Disaster relief and sleep health: Share your experiences, tell us how we can help

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Disaster relief: The importance of sleep

Whether you’re dealing with hurricanes or wildfires, earthquakes or other large-scale disasters, you’re dealing with compromised sleeping situations, even if you receive immediate disaster relief.

You might have evacuated—to the home of a friend or family member, or to a shelter. Or you might be sheltering in place… and digging yourself out now and in the weeks to come.

There’s much to do and to worry about: property damage, health and safety risks. The aftermath of such disasters can impose a great deal of stress on both work and family life, and prey upon both physical, emotional, and mental health. People with additional vulnerabilities (the disabled, chronically ill, very young, and very old) may have additional struggles to contend with.

What SleepApnea.org is doing for disaster relief

We are here to help. Our CPAP Assistance Program has been mobilized to provide evacuees with much-needed PAP machines and supplies lost to the hurricanes.

We are also here to offer support through our A.W.A.K.E. groups for those who are struggling with other sleep-related problems. These could be:

  • nightmares caused by post-traumatic stress
  • aggravated health conditions like pulmonary hypertension (which disrupts sleep)
  • “painsomnia” caused by injuries sustained while fighting or fleeing Mother Nature in some form or another

People who require prescriptions for sleep or wakefulness may struggle to keep them filled, and those using specific kinds of therapies like neurostimulation devices or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may simply be out of luck.

Sharing your challenges in one of our A.W.A.K.E. groups can be helpful because these support systems are built upon your peers. People who may have had your struggles previously can share insights into how they got through their dark times.

Sleep matters—even and especially during hard times

Let’s face it: Sleeplessness is a common problem for those struck by natural disaster. Getting adequate sleep can be very hard to achieve during calamity as well as in the weeks of aftermath that follow. But this is what makes it more critical than ever to get your Zzz.

Adequate sleep can:

  • relieve depression and anxiety
  • reduce pain perception
  • preserve clear thinking during the day
  • improve morale, and
  • restore energy after a full day cleaning up damage in conditions limited by power outages and inclement weather

Survivors: Share your wisdom

SleepApnea.org knows many of you have gone through these rocky times and we invite you to share your advice for getting through these tough times.

It could be practical wisdom related to running PAP machines during and after storms when electricity is inaccessible or unreliable.

It could be tips for helping children (and adults) to relax at night so they can get the sleep they need to endure more tough days to come.

It could be suggestions for living in a temporary, but longer-term situation away from the home you know as you wait out the aftermath, and the ongoing stress of that.

Please share your ideas at any of our locations on the web. You could reply to this blog in the comment section below, share your story at our Facebook page or new A.W.A.K.E. group, add pictures in Instagram that tag to us, or post a Twitter thread tagging us @sleepapneaorg.

Tell us what you need

Let us know what you think:

  • Do you have concerns about loved ones experiencing sleep problems following the aftermath of a recent disaster?

  • Are you struggling to get enough sleep because you are currently assisting in disaster relief?

  • If you are a caregiver, how can we help you help others to get the sleep they need?

  • If you have chronic illness, what specific questions and concerns do you have related to dealing with the health and safety risks you face following hurricanes, wildfires, or other disasters?

  • If you have children, are you struggling to help them get the sleep they need during these trying times?

We encourage you to send us your answers to these questions. If you have other questions, comments, feedback, or suggestions, we would love to hear from you as well!

Listed below are wide variety of ways you can connect and communicate with our team at the American Sleep Apnea Association. Pick your favorite! We’ll be glad to hear from you! We wish you the best in health, and hope that if you’re recovering from recent disaster, disaster relief is on the way and your recovery is swift!

SleepApnea.org is unable to provide medical or legal assistance. If you have a question related to sleep health or sleep disorders of all kinds, please direct them to your physician.