In what could be a step in the right direction on the quest to help those with PTSD, the FDA has just approved the marketing of a device that aims to mitigate sufferers’ nightmares. The device, NightWare, isn’t available for the general public yet, but the FDA says its probable benefits outweigh its probable risks. Although it seems whatever those probable benefits are may be slim.
The device consists of an Apple Watch and iPhone permanently logged into the NightWare app. It works by tracking users’ sleep patterns. Essentially, NightWare identifies the physiological patterns associated with normal sleep, as well as those associated with sleep during nightmares; when it detects the latter, NightWare disrupts a user’s sleep. NightWare says the disruptions, which are only vibrations, however, are subtle enough not to wake users.
Futurism reported on the FDA’s clearing of NightWare for marketing, which allows the company to introduce the device to the public. And while the device is currently only available with a prescription, NightWare says it’s going to roll it out with a focus on The Veterans Health Administration (VHA). As well as the Department of Defense’s Military Health System (MHS).
The FDA approved NightWare’s coming to market based on a 30-day trial. The trial included 70 patients; half of whom were given a functional version of the NightWare app, and the other half, a fake one. Upon completion, the FDA found that “suicidality and sleepiness” did not change with either app. Interestingly enough, however, both the real and fake apps did improve the quality of participants’ sleep.
Regarding the app’s benefits, the FDA does say it improved sleep quality more so than the faux app did. Although it’s unclear by exactly how much.Regardless of the efficacy of the device, it’s certainly another demonstration of how electronics are melding with our minds. While NightWare may be an exogenous device, ones that will literally go inside our heads are coming down the pike. And we can only imagine what kind of impact those will have on people’s sleep.