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FDA Approves NightWare App to Treat Veterans Suffering from PTSD Nightmares


For a long time, a good or decent night sleep was hard to come by for local veteran Tim Bahr.

“I am one of those veterans who has post-traumatic stress,” said Bahr. “I’m visited by a lot of nightmares.”
Bahr started serving in the United States Marines in 1972.

He said that his sleep would often get interrupted by at least a dozen nightmares at night. In the morning, Bahr would be in fog and felt lethargic.

Bahr tried all sorts of ways to try and get decent night’s sleep including a service dog that would wake him when his nightmares got really bad.

“Her job was to keep me from going down the rabbit hole if you will,” said Bahr.

It wasn’t until he started using the NightWare app that he was able to find relief.

“I can tell you the first night it fully worked I slept all night long and I woke up and I couldn’t remember a single nightmare,” said Bahr.

Bahr starting using the program in July of 2017 through a product improvement program. By September he was able to sleep through the night.

“I still have the nightmares, but the watch actually interrupts the intensity of the nightmare,” said Bahr.

The NightWare program is an app that works through a smartwatch. In the simplest explanation, it monitors sleep patterns of the person wearing the device. When it gets readings that indicates the person is experiencing a nightmare, the watch starts to vibrate enough to bring them out of it.

Bahr says there are still some nightmares that his dog has to wake him up for or that the watch doesn’t catch, but overall, he’s feeling much better.

“There’s a lot of things we have to face on a daily basis, but I can tell you lack of sleep is not one of them,” Bahr said.

NightWare worked so well for him, Bahr secured 29 more watches with the app for local veterans to try out.

He says not all of them have stuck with it, but others have found the success he has.

“The main thing is there’s light at the end of the tunnel and for the majority of us the light at the end of tunnel is not that freight train coming down the tracks,” said Bahr.

Now with FDA approval of NightWare, he’s hoping even more Veterans will find relief and even save a life.

“Veterans are suffering at night and sometimes because of the fog of war, when you wake up from nightmares and your quality of sleep is so bad, unfortunately that has cause many veterans to just say, ‘We’re done’ and commit suicide. We lose 22 a day right now,” he said.

If you or a veteran you know is having suicidal thoughts, please contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 or you can visit thecrisis line website for more resources.

The NightWare App is not yet available by prescription through the VA.

Bahr says he has some watches available if any local veterans are interested. Please email katie@wxpr.org for his contact information.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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