The next generation of Apple Watch will detect instances of sleep apnea, according to Bloomberg. The Apple Watch Series 10, also called Apple Watch X, is scheduled to be released in 2024. The addition of this sleep-related function may be a boon for people with this common but serious sleep disorder.

Nearly 30 million people in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea, but about 80% of them don’t know they have the sleep disorder. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, undiagnosed sleep apnea costs about $150 billion each year due to work accidents, car crashes, lost productivity, and related illnesses.

Sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax during sleep, narrowing or blocking the upper airway. This narrowing can cause loud snoring and frequent pauses in breathing that often interrupt sleep by briefly waking the sleeper. With frequent wakings, people with sleep apnea don’t get sufficient restful sleep. The disorder is also linked to a higher risk of attention and memory issues, heart disease, and many other health problems.  

Reports claim the Apple Watch Series 10 will be able to recognize sleep apnea by detecting snoring and measuring heart rate, breathing rate, body movements, and sleep patterns. Previous Apple Watches can also track some health measures, such as heart rate, sleep patterns, and blood oxygen levels.  

The new Apple Watch won’t be able to definitively diagnose sleep apnea–only a doctor can do that. Instead, when it detects sleep apnea symptoms, it will alert the Apple Watch wearer to contact their doctor. From there, the sleeper’s doctor can refer them for testing. If diagnosed, the doctor can treat them for sleep apnea.  

Doctors usually diagnose sleep apnea with a sleep study or home sleep apnea test. Sleep studies require a person to spend the night in a hospital or sleep center. Home sleep apnea tests may be a good option for people who may be reluctant to get checked at a hospital or sleep center. And for people who suspect they have sleep apnea because they snore or have other symptoms but have been putting off getting checked, an alert from their wearable tech may prompt them to see their doctor sooner.

In addition to alerting people to sleep apnea signs, the new Apple Watch is also reported to send alerts when blood pressure is high. This feature may also help people with sleep apnea since the disorders are often linked.

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7 Sources

  1. Capoot, A. (2023, November 1). New Apple Watch to detect blood pressure, sleep apnea; Health coach service planned: Report. NBC4 Washington.
  2. Perry, A. (2023, September 16). Apple Watch Series 10 rumors: What we know so far. Mashable.
  3. Walrath-Holdridge, M. (2023, November 3). New Apple Watch will come with features to detect hypertension, sleep apnea: Report. USA Today.
  4. Frost & Sullivan. (2016). Hidden health crisis costing America billions: Underdiagnosing and undertreating obstructive sleep apnea draining healthcare system. American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
  5. Undiagnosed sleep apnea: A hidden health crisis. (2016). American Association of Sleep Medicine.
  6. Kline, L. R. (2023, October 5). Clinical presentation and diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea in adults. UpToDate.
  7. Rice, N. (2023, November 4). 2024 Apple Watch to monitor blood pressure and detect sleep apnea: report. People Magazine.

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