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IBM’s Watson Computer Can Now Track Your Sleep

It's part of an effort to better understand sleep's impact on our health

Sleep is crucial for rejuvenating our brains and bodies, and thanks to smartphones and fitness trackers we’re able to get deeper insights into our nightly dozing.

SleepHealth, a new iPhone app powered by IBM’s Watson intelligence system, is the latest app aimed at helping us understand how we sleep.

SleepHealth uses the sensors in your iPhone or Apple Watch to measure users’ movements throughout the night. It also uses the Apple Watch’s heart rate monitor to detect when the wearer has fallen asleep. The app then offers suggestions for living healthier and sleeping better.

SleepHealth includes a nap tracker and a personal sleep concierge, which were “designed specifically with the Apple Watch in mind,” according to IBM. When Apple’s next iPhone update launches, SleepHealth will reduce light exposure before sleep through Apple’s new Night Shift feature.

Many health-related apps can offer feedback on sleeping patterns, such as SleepCycle and Sleep Time+. What makes SleepHealth different is that it aims to gain a better understanding of sleep in general by using Apple’s ResearchKit framework. Made with the American Sleep Apnea Association, SleepHealth allows users 18 and older to complete surveys and tasks as part of a larger study aimed at helping doctors and researchers explore the impact of sleep on daytime activities.

To do this, the app also tests users’ alertness during the day and can track their physical activity. Data from these surveys is stored and analyzed in Watson’s Health Cloud, where researchers can examine it to parse together patterns.

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