In the latest of its series of notable hires from the health and fitness industry, Apple has reportedly hired Roy J.E.M. Raymann to work on its long-rumored smart watch dubbed “iWatch.”

According to 9to5Mac, Raymann is an expert on sleep research who worked at Philips Research prior to being picked up by Apple:

Before joining Apple, Raymann served as a senior scientist at Philips Research working as a lead on various sleep related research projects. He founded the Philips Sleep Experience Laboratory, a non-clinical sleep research facility, and also lead projects researching various aspects of sleep and activity monitoring through the Philips’ Lifestyle Sleep Research Program and the company’s Brain, Body, and Behavior group. Raymann’s research covers many projects related to monitoring and modulating sleep patterns through non-medical means. For example, he has written extensively on “mild skin warming” as a non-pharmacological method of altering “sleep-pressure, sleep quality and alertness.”

Philips said in a statement to 9to5Mac that Raymann left the company at the beginning of the year. But it would neither confirm nor deny if he left in favor of Apple.

Raymann is also said to have extensive experience in wearables and sensors, which should prove significantly useful in the development of Apple’s fabled iWatch. His hiring suggests that Apple plans to design the iWatch with a built-in sleep-tracking functionality, presumably akin to that of the Jawbone UP or the Fitbit Force.

Indeed, recent reports claim that the iWatch is going to be health-focused with its integration with “iOS 8.” The next major iteration of Apple’s mobile operating system is expected to include a new “Healthbook” software for storing and monitoring health statistics and vital signs.

Photo: iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton