Blogs > Sleeping with CPAP

Assistant News Editor Lee Dryden was diagnosed with sleep apnea and uses a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to assist with breathing while sleeping. From a layman’s point of view, he will discuss the benefits, issues, challenges and frustrations of sleeping while wearing a mask.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

No regrets

   Four years after joining the CPAP world, it's time to reflect a bit.
   In a nutshell, I have no regrets.
   I fall asleep quickly each night.
   My breathing interruptions are miniscule compared to the 60-times-per-hour episodes I faced pre-CPAP.
   I rarely feel tired, as CPAP lends itself to deep sleep (and vivid dreams, which can be fun at times).
   My annual visits to the sleep doctor have been a success, as I have passed with flying colors. The machine's data showed I didn't miss a day of use for an entire year.
   If my numbers are off a bit (excessive mask leakage, slight uptick in breathing stoppage), that's how I know it's time for a new mask and hose.
   Why is all of this so important?
   By combating sleep apnea, I am hopefully heading off other health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
   If your spouse says you snore excessively, get tested. Most, but not all, sleep apnea sufferers are overweight with thick necks.
   If you have tossed your CPAP aside, give it another shot or explore dental solutions.
   Technology is evolving rapidly in this burgeoning industry driven largely by obesity. CPAPs are shrinking and options are growing. Who knows what will be on the market in a year, five years, 10 years?
   It all starts with speaking to your doctor and getting a referral to a sleep specialist.
   If I can do it, so can you.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Micro-CPAP in the works

  The latest buzz in the CPAP world is a "micro-CPAP" device being created by a Boston-based company called Airing.
  It's just what it sounds like - a small device with a battery-powered "micro-blower" that fits on your nose with no hoses or cords.
  If this is just as effective as the traditional CPAP, then this really may be a game-changer. There is a crowd-funding effort to create a prototype and FDA approval is needed.
  Perhaps it will entice apnea patients who have tossed their CPAPs aside to give the therapy another chance.
  Here is a press release from the company:

Boston, MA, May 13, 2015 – Airing LLC is introducing a revolutionary device for the
treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The device aims to replace uncomfortable
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) masks with a micro-CPAP device that
weighs less than an ounce, fits right into an OSA patient’s nose, has no cords or hoses,
and is disposable.

Today, while it is estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, most who
are diagnosed are in “non-compliance,” meaning they choose not to comply with the
prescribed therapies available for addressing it, CPAP machines.  Typically, these CPAP
machines consist of hoses, cords, masks, and straps around the head, making sleeping
uncomfortable for those with sleep apnea, as well as for loved ones and family members
in proximity. Unfortunately, non-compliance can cause serious health problems like high
blood pressure, chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and other cardiovascular

To address non-compliance, Airing has invented a breakthrough micro-CPAP device that
is designed to fit into a patient’s nose without any of the cumbersome hoses, cords, or
masks. Airing’s revolutionary design includes unique, battery powered “micro-blower”
technology that blows the amount of air pressure prescribed by the patient’s physician
into the airway to effectively treat OSA. 

Airing was founded by Stephen Marsh, an established entrepreneur and innovator who is
the named inventor on more than 75 patents in the areas of electronics, energy, health
care and consumer products. While conducting research in another field, Marsh saw the
applicability and need for a new CPAP solution due to a personal connection with the
dangers of breathing disorders.  Marsh then shared his design and concept with medical
professionals and knowledgeable medical experts in the area of breathing disorders, all of
whom fully endorsed his approach and proposed solution.

“I think it’s going to be wonderful for people. For the first time we have a treatment that
patients will be willing to use. I think Airing will have a tremendous impact,” said Dr.
Jeffrey Bass of Brigham & Women's Hospital.

Effective, Low-Cost & Disposable
This innovative solution is the result of Marsh’s extensive research in the area of micro-
fluidic pumps in the Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) space which identified
a host of inefficiencies and limitations with current solutions, and led to Marsh’s design
for a better micro-fluidic pump design, a design that works just as well moving air. The
“micro-blowers” solution in Airing benefits from advances in the “Roll to Roll” (R2R)
manufacturing process, which allows for inexpensive mass manufacturing of the solution,
and which will allow Airing devices to be low-cost and disposable.

The result of all this innovation will be healthier lifestyle, better compliance with CPAP
therapy, and a better night’s sleep -- for those afflicted and for loved ones who are
impacted by snoring and wakeful nights. 

“As someone with a family member who suffers from sleep apnea (my brother), I
understand the potential serious health impacts of this condition,” said Marsh.
“As a result of recent research, I realized that current pumps possess several deficiencies
which severely limit their effectiveness and saw an opportunity to apply a new design to
these pumps that could be used in a variety of ways, including treating breathing
disorders.  The result is a solution that we believe has the potential to address this area,
and to help a large number of people live better, healthier lives.”

Funding Airing
To build a proof-of-concept prototype, Airing is conducting a crowdfunding effort on
Indiegogo, which will take place in June, 2015.  To learn more about how to contribute to
this effort, which will help millions of people live healthier and more productive lives,

Thursday, January 8, 2015

CPAP theft

   As a journalist, I've written or edited thousands of police blotter items during the past 20 years.
   But I saw something today on a Wisconsin newspaper website that I've never seen before - and it relates to this blog.
   Yep, someone swiped a CPAP.
   Wauwatosa Now reporter Heather Ronaldson compiled a list of crimes this week that includes the following in the theft section, "A CPAP breathing device was stolen from an unlocked 2011 Saab convertible while it was parked in the 4700 block of North 100th Street between 10 p.m. Dec. 28 and 8 a.m. Dec. 29."
   How cold is that during the holiday season?
   Not sure what the black market is for CPAP but it is likely of little value to the thief who probably grabbed it because it looks expensive. Sadly, the machine is likely in a garbage can somewhere.
   Moral of the story: Use your CPAP (why was it in the car during sleeping hours?) and don't leave the pricey life-saving device in your unlocked car.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Implanted device to treat apnea

  There's been an interesting development in the world of sleep apnea treatment.
  CBS Pittsburgh is reporting about a new implanted device called Inspire. The patient featured in the article struggled with CPAP and dental solutions.
  The device is compared to a pacemaker, with an electrode that moves the tongue to enable breathing to resume.
  Inspire was approved by the FDA in May so it is a new player on the sleep apnea landscape.
  It's worth keeping an eye on to see if it takes off.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sleep apnea video

Just wanted to share a video from HelloMD that provides the basics of sleep apnea.

It features Dr. Kasey Li, who is touted as one of the world's leading sleep apnea surgeons.

I'm not endorsing surgery over CPAP - just sharing options.

Show this video to loved ones you suspect may be afflicted.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Another option

   Happy Sleep Apnea Awareness Week!
   Just passing on a tip I received today about another means of combating sleep apnea that I had not heard of.
   California company Advanced Brain Monitoring, Inc. has unveiled Night Shift, which was recently approved by the FDA.
   It is aimed at treatment of "positional" sleep apnea (and snoring) in patients who sleep on their back.
   Here is an explanation provided by the company:

   Night Shift is a new therapy recently cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of positional obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring in patients who are significantly worse when sleeping on their back. Worn on the back of the neck, the Night Shift begins to vibrate when users begin to sleep on their back, and the vibration slowly increases in intensity until a position change occurs. Unlike conventional position therapies (e.g., tennis balls sewn into night clothing or padding to restrict back sleeping), Night Shift delays the start of therapy to allow the user time to fall asleep in any position. Night Shift is also an intelligent, interactive monitor that tracks the users' response to the therapy and measures its impact on snoring and sleep quality.

Visit for more information and to learn how to purchase the device.

Click here for more information provided by the company on obstructive sleep apnea and positional therapy.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Stop the Snore in Michigan

   Here's important information from the Michigan Academy of Sleep Medicine:

   Michigan’s sleep experts agree: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – a potentially life-threatening disease involving episodes of complete or partial airway obstruction during sleep – is dangerously on the rise. As part of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, the Michigan Academy of Sleep Medicine (MASM) is urging anyone with symptoms of OSA to pledge to stop the snore and talk to a doctor about sleep apnea.

   “Research shows that the number of sleep apnea sufferers continues to increase – the disease afflicts at least 25 million American adults, and most of them remain untreated, increasing their risk of cardiac disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and obesity,” said Dr. R. Bart Sangal, president of the MASM, which is a partner in the Healthy Sleep Project. The collaboration is led by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Fortunately, sleep apnea treatment by a board-certified sleep specialist can stop, and may even reverse, many of these damaging effects.”

   How do you know if you should talk to a doctor about OSA? According to the Healthy Sleep Project, here are five warning signs for sleep apnea:


   ·         Snoring. Besides being a nuisance to your bed partner or roommate, loud and frequent snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea. While not everyone who snores has this sleep illness, snoring is a warning sign that should be taken seriously.


   ·         Choking or gasping during sleep. When snoring is paired with choking, gasping or silent breathing pauses during sleep, it’s a strong indicator of sleep apnea.


   ·         Fatigue or daytime sleepiness. “Sleep apnea can leave you waking in the morning feeling tired, even after a full night’s sleep,” said Sangal. “Excessive daytime sleepiness often occurs because sleep apnea causes numerous arousals throughout the night, and your body isn’t getting the quality sleep it needs.” 

   ·         Obesity. An adult with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher is considered to be obese, and the risk of sleep apnea increases with the amount of excess body weight.

   ·         High blood pressure. A staggering 67 million Americans have high blood pressure, which is about one in every three adults. Between 30 and 40 percent of adults with high blood pressure also have sleep apnea, and getting treatment for sleep apnea is a proven means of decreasing blood pressure.

   If these symptoms describe you, then you have a high risk for OSA. If you’re ready to talk to a doctor about sleep apnea, the Healthy Sleep Project encourages you to visit to pledge to stop the snore and find a local sleep specialist at an AASM-accredited sleep center.

   “Many people believe that sleep apnea only affects older, overweight men, and that simply isn’t true,” said Sangal. “Anyone can have sleep apnea, regardless of gender, age or body type – even if you’re not overweight.”

   Your doctor may decide you need an objective sleep test, which will provide the data needed to make an accurate diagnosis. Once diagnosed, the most commonly recommended treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which provides gently pressurized air through a mask, keeping your airway open and making it easier to breathe. For patients who are unable to tolerate CPAP, or who seek alternatives, knowledgeable sleep specialists may be able to offer other treatments.  

   “Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic disease that has a negative impact on the health and well-being of millions of people in the U.S.,” said Janet B. Croft, PhD, senior chronic disease epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Population Health. “It is important to discuss the warning signs for sleep apnea with your doctor to determine if you are at risk.”

   For more information or to pledge to stop the snore and talk to a doctor about sleep apnea, visit


   About the Michigan Academy of Sleep Medicine

   Established in 1990, the Michigan Academy of Sleep Medicine (MASM), formerly known as the Michigan Sleep Disorders Association (MSDA), promotes and provides education in the field of sleep medicine. The Academy brings together the full breadth of sleep professionals, their health care colleagues, private industry and health plans/insurers to promote communication, understanding and management of sleep disorders and to improve health policy through education programs, dissemination of scientific research and liaison activities. For more information, visit