Travelling with CPAP

It’s the time of year again when many people are making travel plans. Below you’ll find a checklist that’s useful no matter what your travel plans may be.

  • Know your rights. A CPAP machine is considered a medical device, which means you’re permitted to bring it with you into the plane cabin and it does not count as a carry-on item. We advise you to not pack your CPAP in your checked luggage, since this is risky in the event that your luggage is lost or delayed and it also may get damaged during handling.
  • Make pre-flight arrangements if necessary. If you’re taking an overnight flight, at least two weeks prior to traveling, get clearance from the airline to use your device on a flight. Arrange to sit near a power source on the aircraft. Confirm the type of power cord or adapter used by the aircraft. Remember, you cannot use your humidifier on the plate, as aircraft 000 travelturbulence increases the risk of water spillage and damage to the device.
  • Prepare documents from your doctor or CPAP supplier. Most airports especially international ones are familiar with CPAP and don’t question it, but it can help you get through security more easily if you carry a copy of your prescription and a letter from your provider explaining what CPAP is.
  • Pack CPAP and supplies
    • Pack the correct adapter for the country you’re traveling to because power outlets differ in each country. It is wise to take spare supplies especially an extra mask.
    • Check the electrical specification sticker on the machine, or check the specs in your owner’s manual to see if you have a CPAP with a universal power supply supporting a voltage range of 100V to 240V. If it indicates 100V – 240V, then you know you have a universal power supply. Some old CPAPs requires voltage converters and it doesn’t run with a different power supply. Note that some really old CPAP machines have a switch for manually changing from 120V to 240V.
    • Check if your CPAP has a direct 12V DC input. If so, you can run your CPAP with free-standing 12V battery.
    • Anticipate Hard-to-Reach Outlets. Consider taking back-up batteries.
    • Remember H2 Remember you can’t take water on the plane with you. Some people choose to pack distilled water in their luggage, other don’t take their humidifier with them. Alternative to distilled water is boiled water. Keep in mind if you are going on a cruise you can ask in advance that they place distilled water in your cabin.
  • At the airport:  Make sure you have emptied out the humidifier and packed your CPAP in its carrying case. If you have a back-up battery you can take it with you on the plane to use. The x-ray scanners will not harm your device, and it is required that you take your CPAP out of the bag and place it on the scanner’s belt.

Contact Cansleep if you are traveling and require a copy of your prescription and a travel letter. If you want to travel light or if you are worried about power cord access and want to use a back-up battery contact us so we can go over travel units and back-up batteries options with you.


SoClean 2

CPAP therapy is SC_Cleaning_Process.gifthe most effective treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. However, if you aren’t committed to maintaining a clean CPAP machine, you’re putting yourself at high risk for exposure to germs and bacteria that nests in your equipment. This is why regular CPAP cleaning is an essential part of CPAP therapy. The soap and water method can be time-consuming and it’s almost impossible to reach every inch and corners of the equipment by hand, so your CPAP equipment is unlikely to be completely clean. If you’re looking for the best way to clean CPAP equipment consider SoClean, which quickly and effectively destroys 99.9% of common CPAP germs in your mask, hose and reservoir. It is completely automated, you don’t need to take CPAP equipment apart and no water or chemicals are used. Keep in mind that because SoClean uses a natural gas to clean, even the hard-to-reach spots are thoroughly disinfected. After a simple one-time setup, place your mask inside the SoClean chamber, close the lid and let SoClean’s automated CPAP cleaning cycle do the rest.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (click on the picture to see how SoClean works)

SoClean uses ozone (also known as activated oxygen or O3) to clean CPAP equipment. The generator inside the SoClean breaks down the chemical bond of common oxygen (O2) and allows it to recombine into a new molecule that has three atoms of oxygen instead of two. Activated oxygen has a short life cycle. After being generated it automatically decomposes back to oxygen within two hours. Activated oxygen exits the chamber through a special filter, which needs to be replaced every 6months.This filter converts any excess activated oxygen back into the oxygen that we breathe (O2). Ozone is a 100% safe, naturally occurring gas that has been used to purify water and hospital sanitizing for centuries. To get more information about SoClean2 and SoClean 2 go (travel size) contact Cansleep services at 1-844-753-sleep40.

By Bahareh Ezzati (RRT)

Auto CPAP vs. Straight CPAP

CPAP uses air pressure (not flow) to keep the airway open and control sleep apnea. The CPAP pressure is delivered either as automatic positive pressure or fixed (straight) pressure. Let’s discover what is the difference between
straight and auto CPAP therapies.davidpol_1467088358_cpapvsapap

An automatic positive airway pressure device (APAP, AutoPAP, AutoCPAP) is set at a variable pressure and adjusts the pressure based on the patient’s needs using an internal algorithm. The pressure is monitored and adjusted automatically breath to breath, measuring the resistance in the patient’s breathing, to treat the obstruction in the airway. Straight CPAP on the other hand uses constant pressure throughout the night, regardless of whether you’re experiencing an apnea or not.

Many patients have positional apnea, meaning in the supine position (sleeping on back), their apnea may be worse than if they were non-supine. Due to paralysis of muscles (including tongue) during REM sleep, apnea may be worse in supine position. Other causes of sleep variability may be alcohol intake, sedating medication, weight changes, congestion and testosterone replacement therapy. Each of these circumstances can worsen sleep apnea leading to an increase in pressure requirements. AutoCPAP can accommodate for these changes and adjust during the night without disturbing the patient, yet controlling their sleep apnea.  It is also reported that patients experience less arousal (getting to shallower stages of sleep) with AutoCPAP therapy. Many also report an improvement or resolution in aerophagia (swallowing of air), as seen more with higher pressures.

On the other hand, many people notice fewer mask leaks and therefore less dryness in the morning using straight CPAP therapy. In AutoCPAP when there is mask leak the pressure may falsely augment, therefore increasing leak, and again increasing the pressure. This vicious cycle may continue throughout the night, causing the patient discomfort. Alsa with AutoCPAP, if the minimum pressure is too low, the patient must experience apnea before the pressure will increase to a therapeutic setting. This may make therapy less tolerable and patients may complain of feelings of suffocation. Some patients also have issues tolerating the higher pressures, even if that pressure is warranted. Some feel the algorithms of auto CPAP are too sensitive and therefore the pressure continues to increase during sleep and causes discomfort. Therefore these patients find straight CPAP more comfortable than AutoCPAP.  Talk to your clinician at Cansleep to find out which CPAP therapy is more suitable for you.

by Bahareh Ezzati (RRT)

Difference in men and women’s sleep apnea

womanWhen it comes to obstructive sleep apnea, men and women often experience varying symptoms. While men often report symptoms such as snoring, waking up gasping for air or snorting, many women report symptoms like fatigue, anxiety and depression. Of course, some women also experience shortness of breath and snoring too, but, in many cases, the telltale signs of sleep apnea in females may not be as obvious.

Research has also documented sex differences in the upper airway, fat distribution and respiratory stability in OSA. Women with conditions such as anxiety and depression, and have increased mortality risk since OSA have greater endothelial dysfunction compared with men. These women are more likely to develop comorbid women with sleep apnea are more profoundly affected in the areas of the brain that regulate mood and decision-making.

Women are less likely than men to be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea as well. Women experience shorter obstructive events and are prone to more upper airway resistance and flow limitation. Women also have predominantly REM-based (deepest stage of sleep) events and experience more arousals from sleep. Women tend to have less severe OSA than males, with a lower apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and shorter apneas or hypopneas. Episodes of upper airway resistance and flow limitation that do not meet the criteria for apneas are more common in women. Women’s dominant sign and symptoms of OSA are headaches, depression/anxiety and mood disturbances. Therefore, sleep apnea in women is commonly mistaken for depression, hypertension, hypochondria or other disorders.

In general women require lower CPAP pressure than males as well. If you couldn’t tolerate the pressure and failed CPAP therapy, contact Cansleep and start the trial over for a more precise pressure titration that meets your needs.

By Bahareh Ezzati (RRT)

Who needs longer sleep men or women?

Did you know that new research shows that women need more sleep than men? Did you know women’s sleep apnea symptoms are also different than men? The focus of this blog is women and their sleep.

According to researchers at the Loughborough University (U.K.-based Sleep Research Centre) women tend to multi- task more which is mentally and emotionally draining. This could also be the reason women need more sleep than men. According to Jim Horne, sleep researcher: “Women’s brains are wired differently, so their sleep need will be slightly greater. Women tend to multi-task—they do lots at once and are flexible, and so they use more of their actual brain than men do,”

Hormonal differences are partly to blame for the distinctions in women’s sleep patterns, while anatomical differences also play a role. Women are more likely than men to experience insomnia, depression and daytime fatigue and women also benefit from more deep sleep than men. Women’s circadian cycles typically run slightly shorter than men’s and women tend to fall asleep and wake up earlier.

Sleepiness in women also presents differently than sleepiness in men. Studies were done with 210 middle-aged men and women and found that poor sleep is more associated with high levels of distress, hostility, depression and irritability in women. Oddly enough, these symptoms of poor sleep were not as intense in men.

The answer to how much more sleep do women require is as little as 20 minutes or more. So, go ahead ladies, enjoy that extra sleep!

Next month the focus of the blog is the difference in men and women’s sleep apnea.

If you believe that your sleep troubles may be due to sleep apnea rather than another sleep disorder, contact CanSleep to book your free consultation and pick up a diagnostic monitors.

By Bahareh Ezzati (RRT)

OSA–COPD overlap syndrome

COPDDid you know: At least 1 in 10 people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) also have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases) also known as overlap syndrome. The focus of this blog is on overlap syndrome.

+750,000 Canadians have COPD which is a progressive lung diseases that make it difficult to breathe such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and non-reversible asthma. Unfortunately at least 7 of 10 people with COPD don’t know they have it. COPD symptoms (e.g. shortness of breath, wheezing, and chronic coughing) often don’t appear until your lungs are significantly damaged. Both OSA and COPD are strongly linked to smoking (use and second hand) and also worsens when gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) is present.

Sleep is the period of greatest physiologic disturbance in COPD and the time of greatest danger to these individuals. Sleep aggravates their abnormalities of gas exchange and could cause secondary pulmonary hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias. A COPD patient has a 10% chance of developing sleep apnea and vice versa. On their own, both chronic conditions lower patients’ quality of life and are potentially fatal. But combined, they can be even worse than the sum of their symptoms, so treating both is critical.

Due to the breathing difficulties those with COPD commonly have low oxygen level at all hours of the day, those who have both COPD and OSA are at greater risk of prolonged oxygen desaturation at night than those with OSA but without COPD. Therefore, patients with overlap syndrome are particularly prone to the complications of chronic hypoxaemia (low oxygen levels in your blood), such as cor pulmonale and polycythaemia and also have higher risk of hospitalizations from acute exacerbations.

Using CPAP significantly reduces rates of intubation (inserting a tube into someone’s throat to assist breathing in COPD) and acute respiratory failure.  CPAP also can increase inspiratory capacity (ability to inhale) in patients with stable COPD, especially in those with emphysema.

Some COPD patients are on oxygen therapy and as well as CPAP therapy. If this is you contact your clinician at CanSleep to find out how to combine both therapies at night to get the optimal benefits.

By Bahareh Ezzati (RRT)

Restless Leg Syndrome & Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Diagnosis  Restless legs syndrome, pills and stethoscope.


Did you know: 1 out of 10 adults has restless leg syndrome (RLS) or/and periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD)?  80% of those with RLS also have PLMD, meaning their limb movements make it hard to fall and stay asleep, however, those with PLMD are not more likely to have RLS? Both disorders occur more frequently in women and in people over 65? To learn more about these disorders and how to get diagnosed and treated, read this blog.

RLS is a neurological syndrome which causes a “creepy-crawly” feeling and sometimes painful sensations in the legs, resulting in the uncontrollable urge to move them. This usually occurs within 15 minutes of lying or sitting down, and can also affect the arms, torso or even a phantom (amputated) limb. As a result of restless leg syndrome, people have difficulties falling asleep. On the other hand, as a result of periodic limb movement disorder, people wake up repeatedly throughout the night. It causes an involuntary kicking or jerking movement of legs or arms while asleep. It also kicks people out of deep stages of sleep and they may not be aware of constant awakenings.

The primary cause of both disorders is unknown. However research suggests that some medications, such as antidepressants can cause PLMD. RLS may be genetic and it could develop or get worse during pregnancy. Both PLMD and RLS can be brought on by low levels of iron or sleep apnea.

RLS is not diagnosed through a specific test. PLMD is diagnosed by a polysomnogram (PSG), the same overnight sleep lab test that can diagnose sleep apnea and other sleep disorders by monitoring vital signs and movement while sleeping.

There is no cure for restless leg syndrome but treatment options to reduce or even eliminate its symptoms are: taking prescribed pain medication; cutting back on caffeine, alcohol and tobacco products; exercising; massaging legs and/or taking hot baths before bed may help reduce symptoms. Most importantly treating other medical conditions such as mineral deficiency; kidney, thyroid or Parkinson’s disease; neuropathy; sleep apnea; diabetes or varicose veins could relieve RLS symptoms. PLMD also has no cure but certain very powerful medications such as medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease is usually used to reduce the symptoms.

Keep in mind that certain medications may affect your sleep apnea symptoms. If your apneas (AHI) increase after taking an RLS or PLMD medication or any other drug/supplement, contact your clinician at Cansleep and physician right away.

By Bahareh Ezzati (RRT)


Top 5 CPAP Issues & Solutions


  1. Trouble getting used to wearing the CPAP device
    To start, it may help to practice wearing just the CPAP mask with the pressure on for short periods of time while you’re awake, for example, while you are watching TV. Once you are comfortable, try wearing the mask at night for short intervals and gradually increase your time.
  2. Dry, stuffy nose
    Most CPAP come with a heated humidifier, which is attached to the machine, this can help with a dry nose. The humidity level is adjustable. You may also want to try a nasal saline spray at bedtime. It is also important that your mask fit well, a leaky mask can dry out your nose. If you have tried everything and your nose is still dry, speak with our doctor.
  3. Unintentionally removing the mask during the night
    It’s normal to sometimes wake up to find you’ve moved the mask in your sleep. If you move a lot in your sleep this may happen. Often people do not know why this happens. If this does happen to you, and you wake up in the middle of the night, simply place the mask back on and start the CPAP therapy.
  4. Dry mouth
    If you breathe through your mouth at night or sleep with your mouth open, a CPAP device will dry your mouth. A chin strap may help keep your mouth closed if you wear a nasal mask. If this doesn’t help you may need a full face mask.
  5. My skin is irritated or I have marks on my face
    Your mask might be on too tight and you need to adjust your straps. If you have adjusted the straps and the problem continues the mask may be the wrong size.  A mask should be replaced annually for optimal fit.