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Adjusting to CPAP/BiPAP
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Sleep-Wake Disorders Center

Adjusting to CPAP/BiPAP

What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common disorder affecting children and adults. It results from significant narrowing of the muscles of the throat as they relax during sleep, causing one's breathing to become very difficult. The person's brain then realizes breathing is difficult and awakens the body in order to stiffen up the throat and reduce the effort required to breath. Once breathing has returned to normal, one returns to sleep again and the cycle of throat narrowing/ increased effort to breathe/ arousal happens again. This can happen anywhere from dozens to hundreds of times during the night, and most of the time it is usually completely forgotten in the morning.

Lack of oxygen, snoring very loudly at night, frequent awakenings, repeated nighttime urination or bedwetting, and non-restorative sleep are the most common adverse effects of this condition. Daytime symptoms can include fatigue, waking up with headaches, sleepiness, negative mood, poor attention and memory, and diminished overall quality of life.

Untreated sleep apnea is associated with increased risks for high blood pressure, heart diseases and stroke.

Sleep apnea is highly treatable and there are several management options. Positive airway pressure (PAP) is currently the most prescribed treatment, proving effective in 60% - 70% of patients. A compressor gently forces pressurized air through the nasal passages and into the throat, thereby holding the throat open and allowing for normal sleep to occur.

Common Complaints Associated with CPAP/BiPAP Treatment

  • General discomfort
  • Feeling congested, dry mouth, irritated eyes
  • Falling asleep before use
  • Mask falling off, or unintentional removal
  • Belief that PAP interferes with own sleep or bed partner's sleep
  • Belief that it restricts your movement at night
  • Claustrophobia
  • Belief that it will interfere with lifestyle, dating, etc.
  • Belief that it is a "chore" to use it nightly
  • Belief that using it won't solve the overall problem

Research shows that the quality and frequency of PAP usage in the first month of treatment is key for determining how well a patient will use the PAP in the long term.

This program is designed for clients who:

  • Are new to PAP treatment and want to learn how to get acclimated to using such an effective form of treatment
  • Have recently started PAP treatment and are encountering some difficulties with the machine
  • Have been trying to use PAP therapy for a long time period and continue to have trouble with motivation to use the device on a regular basis

What will it cost?
The services provided by the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Program are listed by health insurance companies as mental health/behavioral health codes. Our office staff will be able to help you figure out what out of pocket expenses, if any, you will need to pay, as determined by your health insurance plan.

What you can expect to gain from our program:

  • Learn how to get more sleep and better sleep overall
  • Education on sleep health and management of sleep apnea
  • Motivation to change certain health-related behaviors, using empirically-based techniques
  • Empirically-validated, cognitive behavior techniques to treat insomnia (if necessary)
  • Short-term, research-based treatment to help optimize your PAP use

For more information, please call 718-920-4841 and ask for the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program.