It’s not uncommon to wake up with numb hands. Many people have experienced the sensation of their hand falling asleep.
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Numbness and pins and needles can be caused by sleeping in a posture that puts pressure on your arm or hand, but it’s far from the sole possible cause.
Consider additional symptoms if you notice your hands are going numb, as this could indicate an underlying medical condition.
Find out why this is happening and what you can do to fix it.
Waking up with numb hands causes
Hand numbness can be caused by any of the following factors.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Near the carpal tunnel, a small canal in the front of the wrist, compression of the median nerve results in carpal tunnel syndrome. A frequent indication of nerve damage is tingling and numbness. In addition, there may be a decrease in grip strength.
Obesity and wrist damage, as well as repetitive hand actions like typing on a keyboard or operating machinery, can set it off.
Cervical (neck) spondylosis
Cervical spondylosis is a frequent result of daily wear and tear on your neck’s spinal disks.
Osteoarthritis symptoms, including as bone spurs and bulging disks, might result from this. Both can cause numbness and tingling in your arms and hands by narrowing the space in your cervical spine and putting pressure on a nerve root or spinal cord.
Numbness in the legs and feet can also result from cervical spondylosis, along with neck discomfort and stiffness.
Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS)
As a collection of illnesses, TOS is characterized by inflammation, injury, or compression of the lower neck and upper chest nerves and blood vessels.
Neuronal compression can produce numbness in the forearm, hand, and fingers, as well as pain in the neck, shoulder/arm/hand region.
Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage)
Damage to the peripheral nerve system, which transmits and receives messages between your brain and the rest of your body, is referred to as peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy can damage any number of different nerves, and each form has its own unique set of symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and include:
- prickling and numbness
- Pains that are like being stabbed.
- Constant buzzing.
Diabetes mellitus is a long-term condition that results in elevated blood sugar levels. The body either doesn’t respond to insulin efficiently or doesn’t produce enough of it, resulting in diabetes.
About half of diabetics have some kind of nerve damage, including peripheral neuropathy or carpal tunnel syndrome, which can cause numbness, tingling, and paralysis in the hands.
Your sleeping position puts pressure on your hands, which can result in numb hands when you wake up. Sleeping on your arm or hand or in another posture that places pressure on a nerve can cause this. Numbness or pins and needles can result from a lack of blood flow for a short period of time.
If you’re experiencing problems, simply shifting your position is usually enough to alleviate them.
Chemotherapy and other medications
Damage to peripheral nerves can occur as a result of chemotherapy and other drugs. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy affects 30% to 68% of persons receiving treatment, according to research.
Anticonvulsants, certain heart and blood pressure-lowering drugs, and some antibiotics, such as metronidazole (Flagyl) and Fluoroquinolones, are all known to produce peripheral neuropathy (Cipro, Levaquin).
Vitamin B-12 deficiency
The brain and central nervous system, as well as DNA synthesis, depend on vitamin B-12 to function properly. Red blood cells are also made from it.
Numerous factors, including old age, family history, and specific medical problems like gastritis and immunological illnesses, can lead to a shortage in vitamin B-12.
Some of the symptoms of a vitamin B-12 shortage include tingling and numbness in the feet as well as muscle weakness.
When consumed in excess, alcohol can harm the nerve tissue in the body. This condition is known as alcoholic neuropathy.
Drinkers may experience numbness and tingling in their extremities as a result of their excess alcohol consumption. As heavy drinking and a poor diet typically go hand in hand, it is not uncommon for alcoholics to have vitamin and nutritional deficiencies that impair neuron function.
This isn’t the only thing:
- weakening in the muscles.
- cramping and spasms in the muscles.
- a problem with sex.
Joints or tendons in the wrist or hand might become inflamed by noncancerous ganglion cysts. Numbness in the hands may result if a cyst presses on a nearby nerve. When pushed, a cyst may cause pain or hinder joint movement.
The majority of ganglion cysts go away on their own, without the need for medical intervention.
Numbness in the hands can be caused by a variety of illnesses. A few of them are:
- A disease called rheumatoid arthritis.
- Multiple sclerosis, or MS.
- Disease caused by ticks, such as Lyme disease.
- AIDS and HIV.
- Diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome
- The syndrome of Guillain-Barré is a neurological condition.
- The condition known as Raynaud’s syndrome.
Numbness in hands and elsewhere
Find out if there are any other areas of your body that are also feeling numb.
Waking up with numb hands and arms
You may wake up with numbness in one or both hands and arms due to carpal tunnel syndrome and your sleeping position.
Other reasons of numbness in the hands and arms include cervical spondylosis, peripheral neuropathy, and TOS. The same is true with alcoholism.
Waking up with numb hands and feet
For example, diabetes and some medicines, such as chemotherapy, can cause peripheral neuropathy, which can result in numbness in the hands and feet. It can also be brought on by excessive alcohol use or a vitamin B-12 deficit.
Waking up with numb hands and fingers
All but the pinkie finger can be affected by carpal tunnel syndrome. Numbness in your hands and fingers can also be caused by cervical spondylosis, TOS, peripheral neuropathy, and your sleeping position.
Waking up with one numb hand
Only one hand may be affected by carpal tunnel syndrome or pressure on the hand while sleeping. Other concerns include peripheral nerve damage and ganglion cysts.
How to manage it
You may be able to alleviate nerve compression as you sleep by shifting your position.
As an aid, the following suggestions might be useful:
- Sleeping on your stomach or in the fetal position is not recommended. Numbness might result from sleeping with your arms and elbows bent, which puts additional strain on your nerves. Keep your blankets in place by tucking them tightly into the corners of your bed.
- Keeping your arms out at your sides when sleeping on your stomach can help alleviate back pain. If you sleep with them under your body, you run the risk of causing them numbness from the pressure.
- Instead of sleeping with your arms raised above your head, try sleeping with them at your sides. When you sleep with your arms elevated above your head, you may have numbness in your hands as a result of a lack of blood flow.
- Do not sleep with your arms folded under your pillow. A nerve might be compressed by the weight of your head on your wrists or elbows.
Being unable to regulate your motions when asleep means you may require assistance.
An immobilizing brace may help if you have difficulty keeping your elbows or wrists straight while you sleep. As a result, your elbows and wrists will not be able to wiggle.
These braces are available online for both the elbow and wrist. Another option is to use a cloth to wrap around the area you wish to immobilize and anchor as your brace.
When buying or making a brace, ensure it’s secure enough to prevent it from slipping off while you’re sleeping but not so secure that it increases compression.
With continued use, your body may become accustomed to this new position, and you won’t need the brace while you sleep any longer.
Treating hand numbness
Hand numbness treatment is based on the underlying reason. Your numbness may not require any therapy if it occurs only when you shift your sleeping position.
Medical treatment and home remedies may be used in conjunction to treat you.
In addition to improving your symptoms, exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome can also assist to strengthen your muscles if you also suffer from muscle weakness.
When it comes to alleviating cervical spondylosis symptoms, there are a variety of methods that can be used.
Over-the-counter pain medications
With modest pain and inflammation in your hands, neck and other places, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or aspirin can be helpful.
Splints or wrist guards
Your median nerve can be relieved by wearing a wrist splint or guard to keep your wrists straight. When doing repetitive jobs or at night, wear them to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
Applying Lidocaine patches and capsaicin lotion to the skin may help relieve moderate to severe pain and peripheral neuropathy. Research from 2014 shows topical menthol like Biofreeze can help reduce carpal tunnel syndrome discomfort.
oral vitamin B-12 supplements can be used to correct a shortage in vitamin B12. Vitamin B-12 injections may be necessary if your shortage is severe or if you are unable to absorb the vitamin through your food.
Salmon, eggs, and liver are all good sources of vitamin B-12, which may also aid.
Antidepressants that interfere with the processes that send pain signals are used to treat neuropathic pain. As a treatment for nerve pain caused by diabetes and other illnesses, they may be useful.
Epilepsy drugs may alleviate nerve discomfort. Gabapentin (Gralise, Neurontin) and pregabalin (Zoloft) are examples of these (Lyrica).
For some illnesses, surgery may be an option if nonsurgical therapy fail. Carpal tunnel syndrome, bulging disks, TOS, and ganglion cysts can all cause nerves and blood vessels to become crushed.
Tips to Reduce Numbness in Hands When Sleeping
You may be able to alleviate numbness in your hands while sleeping in a variety of methods, depending on the cause. Having a pillow and mattress that are both supportive and comfortable can go a long way toward preventing pressure points from forming in the neck and shoulders. Getting a good night’s sleep begins with properly supporting your neck and spine. You may also want to try this:
- Stabilize your wrist as you sleep by wearing a wrist brace.
- A different sleeping posture, especially on your side, is recommended.
- Avoid putting your arms under your pillow, which can suffocate your nervous system. Make sure you don’t flex your wrists, as this can cause tingling.
- Keep your arms near to you if you sleep on your back a lot and often with your arms raised. This will help relieve the pressure on your nerves.
- Before going to bed, try stretching your fingers and wrists.
- With your doctor, rule out any underlying conditions.
When to Talk to Your Doctor
Numbness and tingling that occurs in the middle of the night is rare and usually goes away within a few hours. It’s best to contact a doctor if numbness in your arms and hands persists or disrupts your sleep. Make an appointment with your doctor if you’re having any of the following symptoms:
- Pain that persists throughout the day.
- Not only numbness in your hands, but all throughout your body.
- Deficiency of muscle.
- The inability to control your fingers or hands.
- An unexplained loss of strength or dizziness.
- Intractable ache in the arms and legs.
It is important that you consult with a medical professional who can properly diagnose your condition and guide you through the treatment process.
Even if your hands are numb when you wake up once in a while, it’s probably nothing to be concerned about.
See a doctor if the numbness persists or if you notice any other signs or symptoms. For example, they may be able to rule out nerve injury or other reasons of numbness.