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Page 734 – Stanford Medicine X

Case Study: Impact of Nightly app on a patient with a severe nightmare disorder

Lukasz Mlodyszewski lm@dreamjay.com


Meet Anna, a 30 year old vet, suffering from a severe nightmare disorder. Almost every day for the past ten years, she would wake up with a pounding heart scared and exhausted. Everything changed when she started using Nightly app. Anna is not the only one. Currently, up to 600 million people and 51% of US active soldiers suffer from frequent nightmares. Nightmares do not only result in bad nights and bad mornings. Nightmares are correlated with many mental diseases, e.g. being one of the main symptoms of PTSD or depression. Even though it is a serious and massive problem, there really isn't a cheap and effective cure for them. The Nightly App is designed to prevent nightmares. Based on clinical research using PSG, we were able to build algorithms capable of detecting sleep stages using only gyroscopes and accelerometers available in an iPhone. The app is simple to use: when the user is in bed, he watches a 2-minute video and falls asleep to the accompanying music. At night the app plays specific sounds at moments of sleep estimated by the app. Thanks to that, nightmares are eliminated, and user wakes up feeling better and healthier. No additional hardware or pharmacology is needed.

The subject of this case study reported nightmares occurring 5-7 times a week. In the period of 2nd July to 26th August 2016 the subject used the Nightly application. During those 52 nights, the examined person had 9 nightmares. After the 5th night of using the Nightly app, a significant decrease in the number of nightmares was observed. The subject experienced three consecutive nightmares from 17th to 19th July. According to the analysis of questionnaires, the three-day recurrence of nightmares was due to tester’s extreme stress. After stress reduction, no nightmares occurred.

After that single episode, no nightmares appeared for the next 28 nights (4 weeks). Additionally, our algorithm analyzed that participant’s sleep was regular and didn’t stand out from the healthful norm.

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