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July 14, 2022

Sleep is often seen as a blank space or waste of time, yet millions of people are exhausted and while an estimated 1 in 5 Americans lives with a chronic sleep disorder, the majority are undiagnosed. In this talk, Julie Flygare, JD, President and CEO of Project Sleep and award-winning author of Wide Awake and Dreaming: A Memoir of Narcolepsy, bridges the gap between what scientists now know about sleep's powerful role underlying the physical and mental health and how the society perceives sleep. For Flygare, sleep snuck into her daytime life in her early twenties, leading to a diagnosis of narcolepsy with cataplexy, a condition in which aspects of REM/dream sleep invade into waking life leading to terrifying episodes of sleepiness and paralysis. By breaking down what happens when we sleep and what goes wrong with sleep loss and sleep disorders, Flygare's talk sheds light on how we can better harness sleep's nighttime power for the daytime success. Julie Flygare, J.D. is the president & CEO of Project Sleep and the award-winning author of Wide Awake and Dreaming: A Memoir of Narcolepsy. After receiving a diagnosis of narcolepsy with cataplexy in 2007, Flygare advanced her leadership in the sleep and healthcare space through speaking engagements, publications, earned media, collaborations, and advocacy and awareness initiatives. In 2013, Flygare founded Project Sleep as a national non-profit organization dedicating to raise awareness about sleep health and sleep disorders. She is also the co-founder of the first-ever scholarship for students with narcolepsy and the creator of the international NARCOLEPSY: NOT ALONE awareness campaign. Flygare received her B.A. from Brown University and her J.D. from Boston College Law School, focusing on health law and policy. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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