The Food and Drug Administration has given the green light to a sleep apnea detection feature on Galaxy Watch devices in the US, Samsung has revealed. The company notes this is the first approval of its kind in the US — South Korean officials previously rubberstamped the feature for use in that country.
Samsung plans to add the sleep apnea monitoring tool to compatible Galaxy Watch wearables in the third quarter of this year. It will be available via the Samsung Health Monitor app.
The feature allows those aged 22 and older who have not been diagnosed with the condition to check for signs of sleep apnea using their smartwatch and phone. It looks for signs of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) over a two-night monitoring period. Users will need to track their sleep for more than four hours twice over a ten-day period to use the feature.
OSA is a common, chronic condition that affects around 25 percent of men and a tenth of women in the US, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Those with the condition tend to stop breathing while they sleep, which can reduce their sleep quality, disrupt oxygen supply and lead to more daytime tiredness. Left untreated, "sleep apnea can compound the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia and stroke," Samsung notes. The company added that the feature should help more people detect moderate and severe forms of the condition, and for them to seek medical advice when they do.
Other versions of the feature, which ties into Samsung's other efforts to help its customers have a good night's sleep, have popped up in devices elsewhere. In 2020, Withings added a sleep apnea detection feature to its sleep tracking mat.