FDA clears Apple Watch app that helps treat PTSD-related nightmares

Jon Fingas
·Associate Editor
·1 min read

Your Apple Watch might be the key to addressing nightmare-related sleep issues. The FDA has approved the sale of NightWare, an Apple Watch app (with a corresponding iPhone element) that helps treat nightmares stemming from disorders like PTSD. The system uses smartwatch motion and heart rate data to detect when you’re having a nightmare and vibrate the wristwear in response, arousing (but not waking) you to interrupt bad dreams and maintain sleep.

NightWare is prescription-only, and its eponymous company stressed that this wasn’t a standalone treatment. It’s part of a larger strategy that includes medication. It also warned against trying the Apple Watch therapy if you “act out” during sleep.

There’s no guarantee the app will work, although the FDA said that a study showed better sleep quality with NightWare involved than in a control group. It’s considered low risk, however, and might play a useful role if existing treatments aren’t enough. It also hints at a future where smartwatches not only track sleep, but regularly shape the quality of your rest.