Hand Going Numb While Sleeping. Have you ever woken up and realized your hand is completely numb? You try to move it but can barely get your fingers to twitch. It feels like your hand has fallen asleep, with that tingly pins-and-needles sensation. Ugh, so annoying! But why does this happen, and what can you do to prevent your hand from going numb while sleeping?
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What Causes Hands to Fall Asleep at Night
Waking up with a numb hand is usually caused by compression of a nerve in your arm or wrist. This compression cuts off blood flow and signals from the nerve to your hand. There are a few common culprits for squishing those precious nerves while you sleep:
The most obvious reason your hand falls asleep is because of your sleep position. If you sleep on your side, having your arm crooked underneath your head or body can put too much pressure on the nerves in your wrist. Sleeping with your arm overhead or twisted awkwardly can also cause nerves in your armpit to get compressed. Nerves don’t like to be crushed!
Use of Arm Restraints
Some people wear wrist braces, casts, or splints on their arm to restrict movement during sleep. These immobilizing devices are often used by those recovering from surgery or injury. However, constricting your wrists or arms all night long can limit blood flow and cause nerve compression.
Weight on Arms
Placing too much weight on your arms while sleeping can temporarily cut off circulation. This might happen if you fall asleep leaning on your elbows or lying face down on your arms. The extra load squeezes nerves and blood vessels, making hands fall asleep.
Sometimes nerve compression that causes numb hands results from an underlying medical issue:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome – Pressure on the median nerve at the wrist.
- Arthritis – Swelling of joints in the arm can pinch nerves.
- Poor circulation – Restricted blood flow to the hands.
- Diabetes – Nerve damage from high blood sugar.
- Pregnancy – Fluid retention compresses nerves.
If you frequently wake up with numb, tingling hands, check with your doctor to rule out a health problem. Treatment of the condition may prevent future episodes of hands falling asleep.
Learn more: How to Relax Your Mind for Better Sleep.
Hand Going Numb While Sleeping
When a nerve is squeezed for long enough, it stops communicating properly with the hand it supplies. This causes the tingling, prickling, numb sensation when your hand “falls asleep.”
Think of your arm and hand like a puppet. The nerves are the strings that control movement and sensation. If the puppet master’s hand goes numb from tying a string too tight, the attached puppet hand goes limp and unusable.
The nerves supply energy and instructions to make your hand work correctly. Cut off that supply by compressing a nerve, and the hand misses out on its orders to move and feel normally.
Once pressure is removed from the nerve, your hand starts to wake up. That pins-and-needles feeling is the nerve fibers firing as blood flow returns. The numbness fades as the nerve resumes its job of controlling the hand. Ah, sweet relief!
Tips to Stop Hands Going Numb Overnight
If you want to enjoy pain-free, tingly hand-free mornings, try these tips to prevent waking up with numb hands:
Choose Comfortable Sleep Positions
Avoid sleeping with your arm pinned beneath you or propped at an odd angle. Keep arms relaxed at your sides instead. Use a pillow to support the natural curve of your neck if you sleep on your back or side.
Sleep on Your Back
Back sleeping avoids pressure on your arms and is best for circulation. Place a pillow under your knees to ease lower back strain if needed.
Use a Contoured Wrist Splint
If wearing a wrist brace, switch to a lightweight, low-profile splint that leaves room for blood flow. Ask your doctor about options.
Do Nerve Glides
Gently move your wrist and fingers through full range of motion before bed to open the carpal tunnel and prevent nerve pinching. Repeat nerve glides if you wake up with a numb hand.
Try Hand Elevation
Rest your hand on a pillow or rolled towel above heart level as you fall asleep. This utilizes gravity to increase blood flow.
Lose Excess Weight
Shedding extra pounds can take pressure off compressed nerves in the shoulders, arms, and wrists. Improving circulation also helps prevent hands falling asleep.
Manage Health Conditions
Work with your doctor to control medical issues like arthritis, carpal tunnel, and diabetes through medication, therapy, exercises, or lifestyle changes to protect your hands.
When to See a Doctor
Occasional nighttime hand numbness usually isn’t cause for concern. But if your hand consistently falls asleep and loses sensation, consult your physician. Seek prompt medical care for:
- Persistent numbness or tingling during the day
- Weakness or clumsiness in the affected hand
- Fingers look swollen, red, or puffy
- Burning, shooting pains in the hand or wrist
- Loss of coordination or ability to grip objects
- Skin color changes or cool temperature in the hand
These may indicate an underlying condition requiring treatment. Don’t ignore recurring numb hands that disrupt your daytime activities or sleep.
Waking up to a numb, “dead” hand can be disconcerting. But in most cases, simple lifestyle tweaks and paying attention to sleep position can prevent those aggravating middle-of-the-night pins and needles. Correcting any conditions restricting blood flow or damaging nerves also helps stop hands falling asleep at night.
With some adjustments, you can snooze more soundly and restore normal sensation. Sweet dreams and peaceful hand slumber!
1. How do I stop my hands from going numb when I sleep?
To prevent hands from going numb during sleep, adjust your sleeping position, use a supportive pillow, and do gentle hand stretches before bedtime. Avoid placing pressure on your arms.
2. When should I worry about hand numbness?
Concerns about hand numbness should arise if it persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other unusual symptoms during waking hours. Consult a medical professional for evaluation.
3. Why do my hands go numb while sleeping?
Hands can go numb while sleeping due to poor sleeping posture, nerve compression, or underlying health conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. Maintaining a neutral sleeping position and addressing any potential health issues can help alleviate this discomfort.