What is the CPAP Ramp Feature?

This post was originally posted on August 1, 2017, and updated on March 28, 2022.

CPAP therapy is not easy for a lot of users, especially those new to CPAP machines. Wearing a mask during sleep with pressurized air doesn’t feel normal and can lead to users abandoning their therapy. AutoRamp and adjustable ramp time are features available on many CPAP machines that help users get accustomed to CPAP therapy, so they stay CPAP compliant.

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Fisher & Paykel SleepStyle Auto CPAP Machine

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What Does CPAP Ramp Mean?

A CPAP ramp starts your CPAP therapy at a lower pressurized air setting then you may have been prescribed by your doctor. The lower setting makes it easier to fall asleep. Once asleep, your CPAP machine “ramps” up to the higher setting recommended by your doctor for CPAP compliance to help avoid apneas at night.

What is Ramp Time?

Ramp time is the period from the first lower air pressure setting to fall asleep to the higher pressure setting once you are asleep. Some ramp functions are adjustable so you can set this period of time to fit your own personal sleep patterns. On most CPAP machines the default setting is about 45 minutes before the elevation to the higher setting.

What is It Like to Use the Ramp Feature?

For new users of CPAP machines, the intensity of pressurized air can be overwhelming. Many users may choke on the air and give up on therapy. The ramp feature eases users into the habit of breathing pressurized air gradually so that they stick to their therapy. In some instances, users may stop the ramp feature entirely once they get used to the sensation of their mask and pressurized air while sleeping.

What is AutoRamp?

AutoRamp is a CPAP machine innovation that takes the ramp feature to the next level. AutoRamp starts with a low pressure setting, then when it detects that you have fallen asleep elevates the setting to your prescribed level. This smart technology monitors breath to sense the difference between your waking respiration rate and your sleeping respiration rate.

What Are the Benefits of AutoRamp?

  • If you have difficulty falling asleep during CPAP therapy, AutoRamp is the best solution to ensure you stay CPAP complaint and fall asleep peacefully.
  • Some CPAP machines can be noisy, which can disturb sleep. The lower pressure setting of AutoRamp is much quieter and makes it easier to rest.
  • Because you are falling asleep faster and easier with the help of AutoRamp, you will enjoy a higher quality of sleep. Better sleep means better overall health.

How Does AutoRamp Work?

Set your CPAP machine to the auto setting. The machine will automatically detect changes in breathing as you fall asleep and adjust the air pressure setting accordingly. If you wish to adjust the machine differently than the default auto setting, you can adjust the timer to fit your personal sleeping preferences.

How To Set Up the Ramp Function in CPAP Machine

Every CPAP machine has a slightly different ramp, but generally, you will find all machines include these two settings.

Starting Pressure

This is the air pressure at which your ramp will begin. In most cases, the default will be the lowest possible setting, but it can be adjusted if you are comfortable with a higher pressure setting.

Ramp Duration

This setting determines how long the machine will take to ramp up to the prescribed pressure setting. The default setting for most is 45 minutes, but this can be adjusted according to your comfort.

With these two ramp settings, users may have an easier time adjusting to their CPAP therapy.

Do I Need Ramp Feature with My CPAP Machine?

If you have no problems with your CPAP therapy, then a ramp feature is not necessary on a CPAP machine. However, if you are new to CPAP therapy and are just purchasing your first CPAP machine, it might be a good idea to select a machine with a ramp feature. If you find that your prescribed pressure setting makes it difficult to fall asleep, you can switch on the ramp feature to help you get to sleep for the first few nights.

What Are the Benefits of CPAP Ramp Features?

For new users, getting used to CPAP isn’t easy. At times, those first few weeks may be so uncomfortable that you abandon therapy altogether.

The ramp feature introduces and acclimates you to the pressurized air of CPAP therapy at the most critical time of discomfort – when you are trying to go to sleep. By gradually increasing therapy pressure, the ramp allows users to fall asleep comfortably while still delivering effective treatment for their sleep apnea.

Potential Problems of Ramping Up

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Waking Up When the PAP Machine Reaches Final Pressure

If you wake up at your prescribed high pressure setting that means you are not adjusting to that setting even after you have fallen asleep. Stop using the ramp feature. Try using your CPAP machine at a lower pressure setting for a while, then gradually increase pressure settings as you become used to it.

How to Restart Ramp

Sometimes you may wake in the middle of the night for many reasons unrelated to your sleep apnea and disrupt your ramp function. If you need to restart the ramp feature you can power off your CPAP machine and then start it again. Your ramp feature should resume as set. 

Overusing Ramp Feature

For CPAP therapy to be effective you must achieve your prescribed pressure setting. Because some users find their prescribed setting uncomfortable, they overuse their ramp feature, using CPAP at consistently lower settings. While the ramp is helpful, you must try to get used to your prescribed setting in order for therapy to work.

What is New in The Ramp Feature?

Innovations in ramp technology include CPAP machines that can detect when a sleep apnea episode is occurring and adjust pressure settings accordingly. Rather than just elevating from a low to a high setting as current CPAP machines do this new development allows the CPAP machine to target apneas as they happen.

Can I Find a Ramp on Every CPAP Machine?

The ramp is a common feature on most CPAP machines, but not all machines have it. Be sure to check with your provider to determine if it is an option on your machine. If purchasing from an online retailer, be sure to double-check machine features.

Here are a few models that include ramp function: 

ResMed AirSense 10

• An auto-adjusting device for treating sleep apnea that includes a built-in humidifier, is whisper-quiet, and offers free shipping

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If you have questions about adjusting your ramp feature or CPAP therapy in general, our knowledgeable customer care team is standing by! Contact us via phone at 866-414-9700 or via email at questions@thecpapshop.com.

Chris Vasta

Author

Chris Vasta

Over a 10+ year career at PHH Mortgage managing a $100 million portfolio, Chris Vasta learned the ins and outs of the business world. He learned how to establish business relationships, lead a multi-prong team, and implement strategies for long-term growth. In 2007, Vasta used that experience to transition his role into president of The CPAP Shop. Over his tenure, Vasta has been involved in everything from website design to warehouse layout. His hands-on approach with customers has evolved into an in-depth understanding of the challenges of beginning and adhering to sleep therapy. He often provides his insights on product…


42 Comments Leave new

  • Jay

    Do you have to be asleep for Machine to start and if awake, what should it be set to?

    • Chris Vasta

      Hi Jay,
      In order to fully answer your question we need to know what machine you are using, but the auto starts at a low pressure and will only rise when you needs it during sleep.

  • Gary

    I have a fairly new Dream Machine C-pap machine. My ramp is set on 6.5 to start and tops out at 10 which is fine. When I first started using my machine it would most usually top out at 7.0 after sleep which was fine. Here lately it is always topping out to 10 every night. Why is this and should i have my machine checked out or reset my ramp settings? Let me know what you think. Thanks

    • Chris Vasta

      Hi Gary,
      The ramp can be set by the user. Try going through the user setting menu and check the settings. You may have changed the settings inadvertently.

  • Linda Stracey

    I use the auto on my ramp and fall off to sleep great, however, I have been waking up after about 3 hours with a force gale blowing down my throat and nose. I try and re-set the ramp again but it won’t have it. It will not let me re-set the ramp at all. Can anyone advise please?

  • Kit

    Here is my frustration with the ramp feature. I use a nose mask. I have noticed that there is a delicate adjustment between having the mask on too loose and too tight. If it is too loose I wake up to wind blowing across my face. Too tight and my nose will start hurting. I can really only find that sweet spot when the machine is blowing at full pressure. When it is at low pressure it doesn’t have the force to start leaking. So I end up waking up in the middle of the night and that is when I have to adjust the tension on the head straps.

  • Kirk

    The ramp feature doesn’t seem to be working. Not sure what I’m doing wrong but no air comes through for the entire set time.

    • Chris Vasta

      Hi Kirk,
      Sounds like a problem that will need some individual attention. Please call your supplier so they can guide you through the menu options.

  • DIANN Meeker

    Very helpful in understanding what RAMP is and how to use the setting.

  • Kelley Reeves

    I have my ramp on 45 min. And it still blasts out air the second I put it on. It takes my breathe awa, very uncomfortable.

    • Chris Vasta

      If you have an auto machine, check the base pressure the unit is set at. If the unit is a fixed pressure, the ramp does not seem to be working properly. Please check with your equipment supplier.

      • Ahmed M. Almosawe

        Whats the different between auto machine and non auto ؟

        • Chris Vasta

          Hi Ahmed,
          A standard CPAP machine forces a continuous, steady air pressure through a mask in order to keep your airway open during REM sleep when the throat muscles can collapse the airway. A sleep technician sets the optimal pressure regardless of changing pressure needs while the person sleeps. AutoPAP machines do also supply pressurized air through a mask but they automatically adjust this pressure on a breath by breath basis while you sleep. Auto PAP machines are also called “auto-titrating CPAP”” and are prescribed to those who have more airway pressure changes, making it easier to tolerate treatment. An auto-pap makes the transition from an apnea event to normal easier as it ramps up when its necessary and remains low when extra pressure is not required.

  • gunninv

    Hello, My Resmed Spirit is suddenly more noisy. It used to be very quiet; so much so I could listen to the radio while in bed. Now it’s significantly louder and I can’t figure it out.  Any suggestions?
    Thanks;
    Dino

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