What is the halacha for using a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, that must be used daily, on Shabbat? A CPAP machine for sleep disorders obviously would be switched on before retiring to bed and off again when one awakes but it cannot be left on without actually being in use, but on Friday evening that would violate Shabbat.

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    star-k.org/articles/kashrus-kurrents/620/… This article answers your question. Don’t worry, I’ve just been diagnosed with the same problem. All the best. – user18013 Sep 20 '18 at 21:35
  • @Justin - If there are areas relevant to answering the question, excerpt what's relevant and include the link for the source, so that OP and the rest can read details. – DanF Sep 20 '18 at 22:22
  • Why can't you leave it on the whole Shabbos? I know people who do that. Of course, turning it on isn't the only issue involved. Also, ask your doctor about mandibular advancement splints, which can also be used to treat apnoea in some circumstances. It's what I use. Not much of an issue with Shabbos, and it's less obtrusive. It does take some time to get used to though. – user613 Sep 20 '18 at 23:38
  • The machine I have cannot be used unless the mask is in place on the head and face. Hence it must be turned on as one goes to sleep. I cannot speak for other types of machines. Skipping use of a CPAP machine may depend on the severity of the sleep apnea. – Ephraim77 Sep 21 '18 at 16:18

Unfortunately the only source I can provide is my Rabbi, and not a hard ruling in the Sefarim. If someone can find such a Sefer that concurs with the below, feel free to edit in sources.

He ruled that if a person will be unable to function properly (not necessarily life-threatening) on Shabbos without using the PAP device on Friday night, it would be a case of a Choleh She’ein Bo Sakanah, for which we permit Rabbinic prohibitions. Therefore, one should use his foot, etc., to start and stop the machine, in order that it be a Shinui.

He further ruled that obviously anything that can be done before Shabbos (ex. presetting the pressure and humidity, if the machine doesn’t do it automatically) should, but if one forgot (or another one is), then one may adjust those settings with a Shinui as well. Whether one meets the benchmark of a Choleh She’ein Bo Sakanah should probably be best addressed by one’s LOR and LOD (local orthodox Rabbi and local orthodox doctor).

If a person is able to function normally without his CPAP for one night, it should go without saying, based on the above, that he should forgo the CPAP for one night.

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  • How does turning it off help him function? – Double AA Sep 20 '18 at 23:14
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    The sakana for sleep apnea, at least according to the article linked by @Justin, lists: 'Sleep-disordered breathing is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure,arrhythmias, diabetes' as the sakana. So basically one can violate a dirabanan to get someone to stop eating red meat too? Or whatever else is 'associated' with increased risks of these health issues? – user6591 Sep 21 '18 at 0:14
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    @user6591 I never said anything about it being dangerous to skip a night. I said he won’t be able to function properly - I should probably clarify that line. – DonielF Sep 21 '18 at 1:28
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    @user6591 Everyone is different. I meant to include my recent edit regarding asking one’s Rabbi and doctor in the original edit, but better late than never. If one can go without using it for one night, then don’t use it. Like I said. If his apnea is super-debilitating, then he should use his foot. If you personally have it and are speaking from experience, I wish you a refuah sheleimah and ask that you don’t assume all others who do are in the same boat; BH I don’t have it, but I know people who are severely impacted by it. – DonielF Sep 21 '18 at 2:31
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    P.S. I refuse to continue this discussion of the coffee maker. It’s just going to spiral into ridiculous “what if” scenarios that I just can’t address. If you want to ask a separate question regarding what qualifies a person as a choleh she’ein bo sakana, feel free, but this isn’t the place for it. I’ve already said in my post that this only applies to one who meets that benchmark, and pestering me with questions asking why someone with sleep apnea should meet that benchmark doesn’t help anybody. – DonielF Sep 21 '18 at 2:35

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