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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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


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

  • Raymond Connolly

    My husband has dementia. He gets confused about which button to push to turn on his cpap machine and which button to use to turn it off. Having the start and stop buttons confuses him since the round button on the top of the machine between the start and stop buttons also turns it on and off.

    • Chris Vasta

      I am sorry to hear that your husband has dementia. May I ask which machine your husband has? The ramp feature will temporarily lower the pressure to allow the person to fall back to sleep.

  • ruth

    Like to know what’s is wrong with my resmed setting. I wake up today with sinus headache and suffy runny nose and felt like a tickle or feather stuck in my nose. what cause this ? it happens several time. had machine set to lower setting by sleep center and problems still continue. using nasal pillow noted hard to breathe out if i don’t adjust the pillow. Now i’m seezing and tickle feeling and have stop using my cpap for a few days. what is wrong can you help. I was told my settings is below 10. after I mentioned this been occurring let me know what else I can do. otherwise I will not use my cpap machine.

  • Peter S

    Hi all, My Philips Dreamstation is set for Ramp of 9.5 and max 10.5cm. Has worked fine for months but now is stuck on 9.5cm and will not go up. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as everything I’ve tried doesn’t work.
    Thanks, Peter.

    • Chris Vasta

      Hi Peter
      The ramp is a timed feature to slowly raise the pressure to its designated pressure. If your pressure is not going past 9.5, then maybe you accidentally changed the max. If it is an auto machine, you would not see the pressure rise since it only changes when its necessary.

  • Jason McQuown

    I have a resmed APAP. EVERY 2 HRS. it wakes me w/ gale force winds. I have to shut it off to make it stop… I’ve even tried ignoring it… help

  • JUDI Neto

    I still don’t understand where my pressure should be. I’m assuming 45 ramp minutes means, in 45 minutes the pressure increases? Increases to what?
    I don’t know what my prescription recommends but lately the pressure increases too fast. I went to look and it was on 45. What exactly does that mean? It wakes me up and I have to reset to get it back to normal breathing. It shouldn’t wake me up.

    • Shannon

      If your Ramp is at 45, that means your pressure will start out lower than what it is ordered to be set at and gradually increase over a 45 minute period until the pressure reaches what it is ordered to be set at.
      Only doctors can order a pressure setting. Your medical equipment company receives the ordered pressure setting and they set the machine accordingly.

  • mag

    I have the dreamstation. My problem is waking up with the gale force and the leaks and having to reposition, reseat, tighten strags like commenter stated above – and it ends up too tight and uncomfortable. I am sweating and feeling like i get no sleep. The tech at my supplier seems clueless, gets irritated that I keep coming back with complaints. I’m about to figure that she is in the wrong line of work, period. I’m worse than when I started the CPAP in terms of rest and feeling like I am getting good sleep. The supplier locked the ramp setting so that I cannot change it myself. She also lowered my range because she didn’t know what else to do with my complaints, but now I feel like I can’t even breathe at times, like there is little to no air coming in. I don’t know what to do with this woman, as she seems to just want to be rid of me, and given we are a small town, there are no other options that I am aware of.

    • Chris Vasta

      Hi, The DreamStation machine may not be the biggest issue. Your problems could stem from incorrect pressure setting, a mask that doesn’t fit correctly and leaks (causing the machine to increase the pressure), or perhaps a number of other reasons. It might be beneficial to return to your doctor for advice? If that is not possible, the easiest issue to correct is mask fit and style. There are many options available and you should not feel resigned to one. Typically, mask fit and comfort will drive compliance. If leaks are corrected, the machine will work according to the required needs. The CPAP Shop offers a 30 day mask return policy which makes it a lot easier to try several masks for the perfect fit. Our online support team would be happy to guide you through this process.



    • Chris Vasta

      Hi Arif,
      We advise that you follow the settings on your prescription or consult your sleep doctor if you need to make changes to your therapy.

  • Dan Morrow

    I’ve used a cpap machine since 1997 and the machine is finally starting to fail . I have a friend that has a bi pap machine . Can i switch to the bi pap ?

    • Chris Vasta

      Hi Dan,
      We never recommend using a CPAP or BiPap machine without a doctor’s prescription. We do recommend consulting your physician.

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