Retrospective Assessment of Smart Watch Haptic Feedback to Treat Nightmares in the U.S. Military

Author(s): Robertson BD., Werner JK,, Pearce TR, Rayl KR, Wargo EF, Karlin DR,Collen JF, Assefa SZ, Dan AC, and Kuperan S

Objective: Nightmares are a common co-morbid condition among patients with mental health disorders and sleep disturbances. Patients with Nightmare Disorder (ND) or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)-related nightmares experience sleep fragmentation, reduced sleep quality, and insufficient sleep quantity. NightWare is an FDA-cleared digital medical device that monitors patients’ heart rate and movement during sleep to predict the patient may be entering into or experiencing a nightmare. It delivers vibrotactile feedback to the patient which is believed to interrupt the nightmares and thus improve sleep quality in patients with PTSD-related nightmares or ND.

Methods: Active-duty United States military patients who were prescribed NightWare during their regular clinical care provided feedback to their durable medical equipment (DME) provider regarding improvement in sleep quality and reduction of nightmares. We evaluated their response to treatment with NightWare in this real-world treatment paradigm.

Results: In this retrospective study, we found that 68.4% of patients reported a good or excellent response to treatment, and 92.9% of patients reported at least some improvement in sleep quality and/or a reduction in nightmares with the use of NightWare. Only 7.1% of patients reported that the device was disrupting their sleep or was ineffective for them.

Conclusions: This qualitative study of real-world patients demonstrated improved sleep quality and a clinically significant reduction or elimination of nightmares with the use of NightWare therapy for both PTSD-related nightmares and ND.

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