People from 10 states who have a tough time getting healthful deep sleep every night joined in a virtual support group to learn how meditation may be able to help. Most of the forum’s participants use doctor-prescribed CPAP therapy to help them sleep.

Leading the discussion for the monthly edition of “CPAP Chat” was Maureen Marasca of Concord, NH, a meditation teacher. Participants in the free, anonymous session hailed from as far away as North Carolina and Virginia. She told participants, “I am passionate about helping others to experience a deeper sense of living, a deeper sense of peace, joy, and purpose.” Marasca has helped hundreds incorporate spirituality and wellness into their everyday lives through mindfulness and meditation.

CPAP Chat” is a monthly session that attracts sleep apnea patients, healthcare professionals, and anyone else interested in the subject of sleep. Sessions are hosted by engineer/inventor Eric Cohen, president of National Sleep Therapy based in Concord, NH, and Norwood, Mass.

During this session, Marasca, explained how people who have difficulty sleeping can benefit from mindful meditation, “taking control of the moments before going to sleep, and the importance of being the gatekeeper to prevent persistent bothersome thoughts.”

One participant in session was Robyn Shaw, recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, who 13 years ago had a heart attack and underwent bypass surgery. After the CPAP Chat session Shaw said, “I have attended several workshops on stress management. My experience has been that one stress relieving method does not work for every situation. Now I have meditation to add to my toolbox. Maureen Marasca did an excellent job talking us through the exercise. She showed us how to attain total relaxation to all body parts in a short time. There will always be stress in life, but the way it’s handled can sometimes make a difference between life and death.” Shaw is VP of the Greater Portland (Maine) Chapter of The Mended Hearts, a national non-profit that offers the gift of hope to heart disease patients, their families and caregivers.

Session host, an engineer and president of National Sleep Therapy, described a study that measured effectiveness of “mindful awareness” practices which includes meditation, versus the more traditional approach referred to as sleep hygiene. The study showed the sleep hygiene education to be marginally effective, while the meditation and mindfulness approach was found to be ‘significant’ and ‘superior.’”

CPAP Chat is free, anonymous and open to all. To join the chat: Just prior to the next session on Wednesday, July 1 at 7 pm ET, call 1-800-204-6655, enter access code 342-2187#.