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Women's Lifestyle Magazine

How are you sleeping? World Sleep Day is March 18

Mar 18, 2022 09:54AM ● By Two Eagles Marcus
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. and CLEVELAND, OHIO – As Sleep Awareness Week takes place, March 13-19, and World Sleep Day is today, March 18, Sleep Apnea awareness advocate and founder of Our Sleep Apnea Story Mary Schaff, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has provided support for a new app that launched today by Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center – SLEEP by Cleveland Clinic.

The free smartphone application was created by Cleveland Clinic experts and funded through donations by Mary Schaff, whose husband died of complications from obstructive sleep apnea. The app offers a scientific sleep assessment tool that can calculate risk of four of the most common sleep disorders affecting sleep patterns and sleep quality in adults. The app provides resources to learn more about sleep apnea, including finding sleep centers throughout the country.

“To hear that this app has saved another person’s life would make me feel very grateful. For all the work that I have done over the last four years with the help of Cleveland Clinic, all I have wanted to do is make a positive difference in somebody else’s life,” said Schaff. “That would be my goal right there – to have made a positive difference in somebody else’s life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help John. It would be great to know that it did make a difference in somebody else’s life.”

Mary Schaff 

At age 57, John Schaff died of cardiac arrest just two days before he was to undergo a sleep test to determine a course of treatment for what doctors suspected was causing interrupted sleep and daytime drowsiness – sleep apnea.

John’s untimely death and a general lack of public awareness for sleep apnea and the consequences if left untreated are the inspiration for Mary’s advocacy. “How are you sleeping?” is her introduction to many conversations, and something she encourages everyone to ask of themselves, their family and friends, and for physicians to ask of their patients.

Untreated sleep issues can affect physical, emotional and cognitive well-being. Lack of sleep can affect happiness and quality of life – limiting productivity at work or school, leading to irritability, mood issues and poor coping skills, complicating personal relationships, and impacting health and safety. Sleep problems can even cause serious health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

“The app helps provide an opportunity for people anywhere using an iPhone to screen yourself for sleep disorders and then share those scores with your primary care doctor,” said Dr. Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer, Director, Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center. “The sooner we can make these diagnoses the better.”

SLEEP by Cleveland Clinic is currently available to download for free at the Apple App Store, and plans are underway for conversion to Android.