The American Alliance for Healthy Sleep (AAHS)—a nonprofit collaboration launched by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine between patients, providers, and others who have an interest in promoting healthy sleep—has introduced a patient mentor program. The AAHS Patient Mentor Program will connect patients with a sleep disorder with one-on-one peer support.

“Managing a sleep disorder can be overwhelming, which is why we established this first all-encompassing patient-driven program,” says AAHS chair Patti Van Landingham, who has been living with narcolepsy for decades, in a release. “The AAHS Patient Mentor Program makes it easy for newly diagnosed patients to seek support and encouragement from those who have experience managing their disorder.”

The AAHS Patient Mentor Program pairs newly diagnosed sleep disorder patients with knowledgeable and empathetic mentors to offer ongoing support as they look for ways to manage their sleep health. AAHS provides each mentor with access to exclusive resources to support the peer-to-peer relationship. While mentors are not medical professionals and will not provide medical advice, each has been living with and managing a sleep disorder for several years and is currently treating their disorder with an evidence-based treatment option. Their knowledge of different treatment options, as well as lifestyle and non-medical techniques beneficial to managing sleep disorders, will offer new perspectives and reassurance to their mentee.

“Peer-to-peer support from someone sharing similar experiences with sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia or restless legs syndrome, improves quality of life,” says Van Landingham. “This personal level of support complements and enhances other health care plans and services by creating the emotional, social and practical assistance necessary for the long-term.”

Participation in the AAHS Patient Mentor Program is included with all AAHS memberships. Membership in the AAHS is open to patients who have a sleep disorder, family members of patients, health care providers, and other individuals who are interested in promoting healthy sleep. Member dues are $25 for two years. For a limited time, individuals signing up for the patient mentor program will receive a free, 2-year AAHS membership.