Insomnia, Snoring, Sleep Apnea

The world and life of a sleep tech

What is CPAP?/ Sleep Awareness Week

Posted by amykr on March 3, 2009

For those who have sleep apnea a CPAP is your introduction to the first good night sleep you have had in a long time. The problem is that you have to get used to it. So what is it and how does it work. To put it simply a CPAP is a very fancy air compressor. That is not to say you can go to Wal-Mart and buy and an air compressor and use that because I am sorry that will not work.

When someone comes in for a titration study we start by helping them choose a mask that works best for them. We have many masks. We have masks that cover the mouth and nose, masks that cover the nose only and masks that sit under the nose and fit into the nostrils. They come in different sizes and shapes and we give you a chance to try on different ones until you find one that is comfortable. Many patients even change to a different mask during the night because they want to try something different. Mask choice is important because it is what is touching you.

Next there is a heated humidifier. Why you ask do we have ha heated humidifier. Well we are going to create a little wind here and if it is dry it will dry out your nose and mouth. The heat allows more moisture into the air so it is more comfortable.

There is a long hose that connects the machine to the mask.

Then there is the machine. Today’s machines are so different then ones even a couple of years ago. They are small, about the size of small loaf of bread. They are quiet. They are easy to travel with. They are more comfortable. The manufactures have created computer programs in them to make them feel more natural and breathe with you.

Now how do we choose a pressure? Well that is what the sleep study is for. We start the machines on a very low pressure. We watch you sleep and then slowly increase the pressure until you have no more snoring, apneas or arousals. Basically we find the sweet spot where you sleep the best. The sleep specialist reviews the study and then chooses what will be the best pressure for you.

Once the doctor writes the prescription for the machine a homecare company will arrange to have one delivered to you and will review how to use it. Keep the phone number of that company because when you need new masks and headgears you will need to call them. If you have any questions or problems you will need to call them. If you change insurance or address you will need to call them so they know where to send your new masks.

As always if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask I want to help. If you use one and want to share your experience please do.
Amy Korn-Reavis, RRT, RPSGT has been in the respiratory field for over twenty years. She has worked in all areas and is currently focusing on sleep and how to help the community feel better by sleeping better. She is the manager of Emery Sleep Solutions an independent testing facility located in Apopka, Florida. If you have any questions about sleep or are looking for someone to speak at your community function she can be reached at or you can visit the facility’s website at


2 Responses to “What is CPAP?/ Sleep Awareness Week”

  1. […] What is CPAP?/ Sleep Awareness Week « Breathing is Optional […]

  2. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

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