I have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, and now need to wear a mask attached to a fancy air pump at night to keep my airways open.

I have been religiously putting it on every night, but have apparently developed the skill of taking it off in my sleep!

I have tried looping an elastic band round the prongs attaching the straps, but this is working it's way off, or something, but it's not working...

As it's fairly important to keep the mask on, does anyone have any ideas as to how to stop myself taking it off?

  • How is it being removed? Is it sliding off? Are you using your hands to take it off? Have you read the owner's manual that comes with the mask? Commented May 13, 2016 at 18:27
  • Decided to post an answer...
    – Bamboo
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 18:39
  • I'm taking it off with my hands (and switching the machine off... ) The mask is supplied by the NHS in the UK, and didn't come with a manual - they don't like you fiddling with it...
    – Fubrite
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 18:41
  • You can find manuals online for most masks. Commented May 13, 2016 at 18:47
  • @Adam Zuckerman Are you talking about the mask or the machine itself? I'm happy with the setup of the machine and the fit of the mask - I just need to stop myself from taking it off! What would I look for in the manual?
    – Fubrite
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 18:56

5 Answers 5


Mittens might work - you're probably removing it with your hands in your sleep rather than it just coming off. But you need mittens without a thumb piece, like the ones babies have when they keep scratching their faces, so I'm thinking maybe try wearing a pair of socks on your hands, just to see if that stops you. They need to be not too loose though, and preferably of thick material, to make it difficult to use your fingers individually.


The core question is: what can I do about my somnambulism.

(note: sleep walking is called somnambulism, but somnambulism is any motor activity during sleep, such as shutting down the CPAP)

Taking of the mask (which with some models is tricky) and then turning off the CPAP, on more than one occasion would be diagnosed as somnambulism.

Do you have a history of sleepwalking or doing odd things at night? Do you live alone and have no way of knowing your sleep activity? On one of my daughters visits she said I got out of bed, walked into the dining room, pushed a chair over, and then went back to bed.

My Doc fixed my minor somnambulism with a diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl) before bed. Diphenhydramine is the active ingredient on Tylenol PM and the like products.

BTW: always always use only distilled water in the humidifer


Wrap a towel around your head. Make it tight enough to make removing the mask difficult, but not so much that it interferes with the mask..

If you are still having issues, try using a large elastic band to secure the towel.

It will take about 3 weeks for you to get "acclimatized" to wearing the mask every night. You shouldn't need either the towel or banding after that.


It's normal at the beginning to play with the c-pap mask. When you wake up, replace the mask.

Soon, your body will "recognize" the better sleep you're getting, and it will become second-nature.

NOTE: It's VERY important to make sure your gear as spotlessly clean as you can. Although it's expensive, if it isn't working it's worthless.

Keep it up. You'll breath easier for it.


Try the "nose pillow" style instead of the mask, I found it more comfortable. You might get used to it quicker and stop removing it at night.

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