How to Keep a CPAP Mask on During Sleep and How to Stop Removing

Removing the CPAP Mask in Sleep? You’re Not Alone.

During the early days of treatment for sleep apnea, it’s not unusual for patients to wake up to find that they are removing the CPAP mask while sleeping. When the mask falls off, or you take off the CPAP mask during sleep, it defeats the purpose.

We get it. Wearing a mask while you sleep is not natural, but if you’re dealing with severe sleep apnea, the goal is for it to become second nature. Your health and your sleep won’t improve if you don’t meet treatment compliance. Even worse, your health insurance might refuse to cover your treatment for sleep apnea if you don’t meet minimum compliance standards.

How to Keep a CPAP Mask On All Night

Obviously, there will be a period of adjustment as you get used to the CPAP equipment, the air pressure, the CPAP mask, and the sound. Since so many people struggle with removing the CPAP mask in their sleep, here are some tried and true tips for how to keep the CPAP mask on all night.

  1. Get a well-fitted mask. Finding exactly the right style and proper fit for your individual face shape helps you stay comfortable all night while wearing the mask, without fear of leaks or shifts.
  2. Use a full face mask. Mouth breathing is one of the biggest symptoms of sleep apnea. Leaving your mouth uncovered while connected to your CPAP device can reduce the effectiveness of treatment, so you’re more likely to take off the CPAP mask during sleep
  3. Check the CPAP pressure. If the pressure is set too high, excessive amounts of air blow around in your mask which can lead to dry eyes, nose, and mouth. The discomfort may rouse you enough to take off the CPAP mask while you’re still asleep. If the pressure is too low, you’ll feel like you’re not getting enough air and you’re more likely to pull the mask off your face. If pressures continue to be an issue, consider trying a VPAP machine as it changes pressure during inhalation and exhalation.
  4. Adjust the straps of your mask. Too tight and it’ll create pressure points on your face, causing pain or discomfort. Too loose and the mask will leak air or slip off your face while you sleep.
  5. Practice while awake. Testing out your mask while awake can help you better understand how to breathe with the pressures and provides you with the conscious opportunity to develop methods to shift your focus off the mask.
  6. Consider temporary use of sleeping pills. Work with your sleep specialist or doctor on this one. Temporarily using sleeping pills can help you adjust to sleeping in a mask more quickly, with fewer bouts of waking through the night.'

What to Do When the Mask Falls Off

If the CPAP mask falls off during sleep, put it back on immediately. Be sure to adjust the straps if they’ve loosened too much. If this problem occurs when using a full face mask, try a smaller style to see if size is the issue. If the problem persists, you may need to try another type of CPAP mask. 

Staying compliant with the treatment prescribed by your doctor or sleep specialist can help keep airways open while you sleep so you can breathe freely and get better sleep. Better quality sleep means a healthier immune and respiratory system. Tried the tips but still struggling with keeping your CPAP mask on during sleep? Talk to one of our experienced sleep specialists to determine your best options. Call 480-361-0124 or visit our website to schedule your appointment today.