Nightware, a smartwatch app that helps fight nightmares , has been approved by the FDA for commercialization.
The news came a few days ago and comes directly from an announcement by the Food & Drugs Administration, the American government agency that belongs to the department of health and human services. The institution is responsible for evaluating and authorizing the marketing of foods, medicines or therapies.
Nightware, an app designed for AppleWatches, has passed the regulatory tests and is ready to hit the market.
Nightware: the smartwatch app against nightmares
The Nightware app, currently developed only for Apple Watch, helps people suffering from nightmares improve the quality of their sleep . Using the sensors of the smartwatch, it is able to monitor the rest phase of the person wearing it, acquiring information both on the heartbeat and on any user's movements.
The accelerometer and the gyroscope, in fact, are important indicators of a more or less disturbed sleep. Nightware, during an initial learning process, identifies a specific stress threshold for the individual. After this phase, lasting up to 10 days, the app knows if the person is experiencing a nightmare when the measured stress level exceeds the calculated threshold .
To stop the nightmare the app vibrates the smartwatch . The intensity of the vibration is adjusted according to the user's response: if he wakes up the signal will decrease in strength the next time. During the first few uses the intensity will be as low as possible, and will increase according to the person's response. The goal is to stop the nightmare without waking the user , as if someone were "shaking" him slightly to calm him down.
The app must be set up via iPhone. The data collected during sleep is sent to the Nightware server which, based on a proprietary algorithm, creates a personalized profile for the user and is able to identify episodes of night stress.
When will it be available?
Nightware is not yet on the market in the Italian App store, but the FDA has approved its use in America. However, the application requires a medical prescription , as it is designed for those people who suffer from important sleep disorders, caused for example by PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or in general by psychological suffering.
However, the app will have to be included in a broader treatment, supported for example by psychological or medicinal paths. The goal is to give the patient temporary relief by trying to stop the nightmare as soon as it arises. In cases of PTSD or subjects with severe stress, sleep disturbance is very common, which often makes it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Proper use of the app is vital. As specified by the company behind Nightware, the app must not be activated during the day, but only when you are going to sleep . It is therefore not necessary to activate it when you are watching a movie or reading before going to bed, as the measurement of the level of stress and its treatment would be distorted.
Apple Watch and health: an ongoing commitment
It is not new that Apple's smartwatches are strongly geared towards the health of the wearer. The ECG function, introduced starting from series 4, managed to avoid two heart attacks , saving the lives of the two unfortunate users. The feature sends notifications when it registers an irregular heartbeat, allowing the wearer to act promptly and contact the doctor. The information recorded, together with the symptoms, can be used to identify the appropriate treatment more quickly.
With the 6 Series of smartwatches, Apple has expanded the functions for health and fitness . One of the new features measures the oxygen saturation in the blood, ie it indicates whether the "good" blood is spread throughout the body. Optimal levels range from 70% to 100%.
Another interesting feature is that of fall detection, able to identify if the wearer has made a bad fall and may need a call for help. If within one minute the user does not close the alert, calling help or canceling the operation, the call starts automatically and a message is sent to all those contacts marked as "emergency".
In order to keep the information in order and always have it available, there is a "Medical record", containing the patient's medical data . Doctors and rescuers can access it without a security code, but the user's privacy is not compromised. Here you can record allergies, medications, clinical conditions, emergency contacts and even preferences regarding organ donation.
Not only Nightware: the other apps to manage nightmares
While Nightware is to be used only on medical advice and for people with significant sleep problems, there are other applications that can help everyone stay monitored at night . Not only that: some of these act actively to improve the quality of sleep.
An example is White Noise, an app that uses so-called "white noises" to help you rest. The sounds are continuous and manage to shift attention from external noises, creating a muffled atmosphere that relaxes the mind. Examples of white noises are the sound of the sea, rain, but also the sound of a flying plane.
Another similar app is Relaxing Melodies , which uses relaxing music and nature sounds to induce a peaceful sleep. The application also features a sleep timer that stops the sound as soon as the user falls asleep. Rise – Sleep Better also provides relaxation techniques , focused on mindful meditation, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and self-acceptance therapy.
Sleep Better is also the name of Runtastic's app, which monitors sleep patterns and creates a report for the next morning . Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock is instead able to identify the end of the REM sleep phase , waking the user only at the end of the cycle, helping him to feel rested. Requirement to use it is to keep it under the pillow. It will be sufficient to set the "airplane" mode of the smartphone to not have problems during the night.
Against the snoring problem there is Snore Control , an app available only for Android. During sleep , sounds and words spoken are recorded and then inserted into a sleep report . The peculiarity of the app lies in the fact that, unlike a voice recorder, the recording is activated only when there is noise.
The article Nightware, the Apple Watch smartwatch app that fights nightmares comes from TechCuE .