The FDA has authorized a sleep apnea detection feature for the Samsung Galaxy Watch, clearing the way for a software update to the Samsung Health Monitor app in the third quarter of this year that will enable the feature for US users. South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety gave its nod of approval last fall for using wearable devices to detect breathing interruptions that are commonly associated with the sleep disorder, and the update will roll out there first.
Users will have to sleep with their Samsung Galaxy Watch on and monitor their sleep twice (for a period of at least four hours each) within a 10-day period to use the feature. The Galaxy Watch can monitor the wearer’s blood oxygen levels throughout the night to see if they drop, which is a common sign of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. According to the Mayo Clinic, breathing interruptions during sleep are one of the key symptoms of both central sleep apnea (when your brain doesn’t send signals to your breathing muscles) and obstructive sleep apnea (when your throat muscles block air from reaching your lungs).