mHealth app developed for sleep study

A new study in the United States will use mobile and wearable technology to explore connections between sleep habits and health outcomes.

IBM’s Watson Health has teamed up with the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) to launch the SleepHealth app, designed for the iPhone and Apple Watch, and the patient-driven SleepHealth Mobile Study. The study will run on Apple’s ResearchKit platform, allowing participants to easily complete tasks and submit surveys via the SleepHealth app on their smartphone or smartwatch.

Researchers plan to investigate the link between sleep quality and daytime activities, alertness, productivity, general health and medical conditions.

In addition to generating data for research, the app can be used as a personalised tool to help users better understand the link between their sleep habits and general well-being. Users will receive tips on health and sleep through the app such as sticking to a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on weekends and days off, IBM said.

Participants will also have the opportunity to help shape the study by contributing ideas for research topics, survey questions, engagement activities and messaging.

“We’ve made life the laboratory for this study by crowd-sourcing data and input to achieve an unprecedented understanding of sleep in a non-invasive manner,” commented the principal investigator for the study, Carl Stepnowsky, associate professor at University of California at San Diego and ASAA’s chief science officer.

The SleepHealth app will help build the world’s largest longitudinal study to collect data on both healthy and unhealthy sleepers that can be published as an open study and shared with other researchers, Stepnowsky added.

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