I am often humbled whenever I speak to a "CPAP old-timer" about the "bad old days" of treatment when CPAP machines were large and noisy, without any of the features of today's machines that make them easier to use, such as auto-adjustment, ramp, expiratory relief and so on. Having only been using a CPAP myself for a little over a year, and knowing full well how difficult it was to acclimate myself even with today's technology, I have no doubt that I would have given up on CPAP immediately back in the day. That said, I know that five years from now others just diagnosed with the disorder will view my cherished M-Series Auto with A-Flex in much the same light as I view those earliest of CPAP machines -- as a dinosaur.
An untold number of people out there are suffering from sleep-apnea related diminished quality of life, and the "smarter" and more comfortable we can make the machines, the more likely they will gain wide acceptance. Smart and more comfortable are often one and the same. Surfing the internet this morning, I came upon a device called SleepTracker, a wristwatch alarm clock that monitors your sleep patterns to awake you at precisely your lightest sleep stage, so that awakening is easier and more pleasant (www.sleeptracker.com
My thoughts turned to the impact this piece of technology might have on CPAP machines were the two technologies integrated. I know that some who suffer from Sleep Apnea experience apneas and hypopneas primarily in REM sleep. Wouldn't it be the ultimate "ramp" feature for this subset of individuals to have the CPAP turn itself on only when in REM sleep, and shut itself off during non-REM sleep? Clearly, this represents only the tip of the iceberg of the kind of integration that can be done between sleep cycle monitoring technology and Sleep Apnea therapeutic devices.
While we have seen impressive innovation from CPAP makers, we at SleepGuide look forward to the long path ahead of us in making these devices even smarter and more comfortable.