The Food and Drug Administration in the USA has recently approved the sale and usage of NightWare, an Apple Watch application designed to help treat nightmares that occur from disorders like PTSD.
NightWare uses the Apple Watch heart rate monitor, gyroscope and accelerometer to detect when the wearer is experiencing a nightmare. When it detects a potential nightmare, the watch vibrates enough to interrupt the nightmare, but without waking the wearer.
According to NightWare, “The app continuously collects heart rate, accelerometer, and gyroscope data and uses it to compute a stress threshold. If the stress threshold exceeds a learned threshold for the individual, the app intervenes by vibrating. The app starts with a low-intensity intervention. If that does not have the desired result, the app increases the intervention intensity. The goal is to rouse, but not awaken the individual”.
NightWare works in conjunction with corresponding iPhone element and is currently available through prescription-only. NightWare do however stress that it is not a standalone treatment for recurring nightmares or PTSD. Instead, NightWare should be used as part of a larger strategy that includes different medications.
While each individual is different, and there is no guarantee that the app will actually work, the FDA have come out and said that studies involving the application showed that it provided people in a control group with a better quality of sleep when compared to those who slept without the application.
The @US_FDA has permitted marketing of a new device intended for the temporary reduction of sleep disturbance related to nightmares in certain adults. https://t.co/bhh9WRBQeu pic.twitter.com/PWpbAZMbxf
— Media Affairs (@FDAMedia) November 7, 2020
“Sleep is an essential part of a person’s daily routine. However, certain adults who have a nightmare disorder or who experience nightmares from PTSD are not able to get the rest they need. Today’s authorization offers a new, low-risk treatment option that uses digital technology in an effort to provide temporary relief from sleep disturbance related to nightmares,” said Carlos Peña, Ph.D., director of the Office of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.