Online Event! Sleep Disorders Conversation for Journalists

On Thursday, February 29, 2024, Project Sleep hosted Sleep Disorders Conversation for Journalists. This conversation informed and educated media professionals on how to accurately cover sleep health and sleep disorders. In this conversation, people living with different sleep disorders shared insights from their journeys and what they wish they had read.

Sleep disorders affect one in five Americans, yet the majority remain undiagnosed and without access to treatments and support. Millions are facing sleep issues alone, thinking their challenges are something they should be able to control, a sign of laziness, or a character flaw.

Reading about sleep health tips alone, without information about sleep disorders, leaves people feeling like they are failing at sleep. This National Sleep Awareness Month (March), Project Sleep hopes to support more information about sleep disorders in the news. With greater access to information and real-life stories, we believe more people will recognize their own experiences and reach an accurate sleep disorder diagnosis sooner.

Watch the Conversation:

Sleep Disorders Conversation for Journalists Guests:

Julie Flygare, JD

Julie Flygare, JD, serves as President & CEO of Project Sleep. Flygare is an internationally recognized patient-perspective leader, an accomplished advocate, and the award-winning author of Wide Awake and Dreaming: A Memoir of Narcolepsy. On March 22, 2022, she delivered the TEDx Talk, “What Can You Learn from a Professional Dreamer?“

Dr. Shelby Harris, a white woman with long blonde hair wearing a black tank top.

Shelby Harris, PsyD

Dr. Shelby Harris is in private practice in White Plains, NY where she specializes in the use of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for anxiety and depression. She is board certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine (BSM) by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and treats a wide variety of sleep disorders (insomnia, nightmares, circadian rhythm disorders, narcolepsy, apnea treatment noncompliance) using evidence-based non-pharmacological treatments.

Kristyn Beecher, a black woman with her hair pulled back wearing hoop earrings and a black top.

Kristyn Beecher

Kristyn Beecher is a storyteller and news producer from Houston, Texas. She was diagnosed with narcolepsy at age 24, but had lived with symptoms for many years before that. A graduate of Hampton University, Kristyn works daily to make sure that underrepresented voices are heard and their stories shared. She believes it’s her purpose to produce content that looks like the world around us, colorful, rich, and full of light.

Emma Cooksey; a woman with blonde hair and blue eyes wearing a blue and white striped button down blouse.

Emma Cooksey

Emma Cooksey is a podcast host and writer. She was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea at the age of 30, after more than a decade of unexplained health problems. Once diagnosed, she felt alone and isolated while navigating life with sleep apnea and adjusting to CPAP therapy. In 2020, Emma began hosting a weekly podcast, “Sleep Apnea Stories.” By sharing her journey and encouraging others to tell their stories, Emma has been breaking down stereotypes of sleep apnea while also raising awareness of symptoms and treatment options.

Lauren Thomas

Lauren Thomas is an advocate, a daughter, and a friend living with narcolepsy with cataplexy. She was diagnosed with narcolepsy at age 28 after a long journey of misdiagnosed symptoms, which is why she is passionate about sharing her story and resources to help others make their situation a little better. Recently, Lauren represented Project Sleep at the White House Sleep Equity Convening.

Lindsay Scola

is an entertainment impact strategist and outdoor enthusiast living in Los Angeles. She was diagnosed with narcolepsy at 35 and is now a speaker with Project Sleep’s Rising Voices program. Lindsay shares her story of experiencing mysterious symptoms and advocating for her diagnosis to help others with sleep related issues get answers and seek the treatment they need.

Ray Merrell

Ray Merrell is a patient representative actively participating in clinical studies since 2016 of Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD). Ray was diagnosed with RBD and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in June 2011. Ray was one of 2 Patient Representative on the AASM RBD Task Force updating the 2010 RBD Clinical Guidelines published in late 2022. He serves on the Education Committee of the North American Prodromal Synucleinopathy (NAPS) Consortium. Ray is a career Environmental Health & Safety professional retiring in 2023 after 40 years working across multiple industries.

Rev’d Dr. Lisa Cressman

Rev’d Dr. Lisa Cressman is a Certified Daring Way® Facilitator, holds a BS in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an M.Div. from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, CA., and a D.Min. in Practical Theology from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN. She is an author, a guest preacher, preaching instructor, and keynote speaker. Rev’d Dr. Cressman is Backstory Preaching’s Founding Steward, sharing insights from more than 25 years as an Episcopal priest, preacher, spiritual director, and retreat leader.

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