IBM and Apple Team Up for IoT-Based Sleep Study


IBM’s Watson and the SleepHealth App for Apple Watch and iPhone will collect data on sleep habits and health.

Tech giant IBM has announced its new Watson Health Cloud will host its first Apple ResourceKit study using the SleepHealth app it created with the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA). The app will run on the Apple Watch and iPhone and allow users to perform tasks and submit surveys right from their devices. The data will then be stored in the Watson Health Cloud and undergo extensive analytics.

“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,” said Carl Stepnowsky, PhD, the principal investigator for the study, in a release about the project. “With ResearchKit and Watson Health Cloud, this new app will help us 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.”

Sleep is one of the most important factors impacting health, safety and quality of life. Yet 1 in 4 Americans experience sleep problems, which severely impact daily functioning, health and longevity. Chronic insomnia affects more than 10 percent of Americans, and 25 million suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, IBM stated in their release.

The SleepHealth study will help researchers and doctors explore the links between sleep quality, daytime activities, general health, and medical conditions, IBM said in their release about the project. It will use many of the Apple Watch’s built-in sensors to generate the data they need to do so. The app will give users tips and advice on how to improve their sleep and will be the first to use Apple’s new “Night Shift” feature, which will be a part of the iOS 9.3 update.

Once several years of data has been collected, the researchers hope to use it to develop both public and private health interventions, IBM stated. More information on the app and the study is available at

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Sue Walsh

About Sue Walsh

Sue Walsh is News Writer for RTInsights, and a freelance writer and social media manager living in New York City. Her specialties include tech, security and e-commerce. You can follow her on Twitter at @girlfridaygeek.

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