- Common Causes of Hand Numbness: Several common causes of waking up with numb hands include nerve compression or damage, conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and ulnar nerve entrapment, radial nerve compression, and peripheral neuropathy. These conditions can result from factors such as sleeping positions, underlying medical issues, or compression of nerves during sleep.
- Symptoms and Impact on Daily Life: Symptoms associated with hand numbness are tingling sensations, loss of feeling, weakness, and pain. While these symptoms can be temporary and negligible, they may significantly impact one’s quality of life. It’s important to seek medical attention if hand numbness is frequent, persistent, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms.
- Tips for Managing Hand Numbness: Try adjusting sleeping positions to reduce pressure on the hands and arms, using wrist splints for conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, practicing gentle stretching and exercises, avoiding stimulating foods and drinks close to bedtime, ensuring a comfortable mattress and pillow, and staying hydrated throughout the day.
Numbness in hands has been felt and experienced by almost every individual. It happens every once in a while, especially when you sleep in an uncomfortable position, pressing your hand for around the entire night.
But if the condition is frequent and causing severe discomfort, you need to pay attention. On average,
of people experience numbness in their hands while sleeping. It is mainly due to some kind of nerve pain which impacts their sleep quality.
Let’s dig into the details of why it happens, how to identify the numbness condition, and when you should consult with a healthcare professional.
Why Do I Wake Up with Numb Hands?
Waking up with numb hands can be due to several reasons, including a pinched nerve. According to studies, every year, about 85 out of 100,000 adults in the United States are affected by
Other possibilities that might cause waking up with numb hands could be sleeping position or any underlying medical condition. For ample, side sleeping can leave you with a numb hand or arm from the pressure your body places on it.
Many people experience numbness followed by a sensation of tingling, pins, or needles, called
— a condition that is similar to numbness and associated with nerve compression.
What Causes Hand Numbness While Sleeping?
Here are some of the most common reasons that cause hand numbness while sleeping.
Nerve Compression or Damage
One of the most common and well-known reasons for numbness in the hands is nerve compression or any damage to the nerve.
When nerves are pinched or damaged, it results in failure of effective signal transmission and leads to sensations like numbness, tingling, or pain.
nerve compression or damage is nerve irritation or pressure. It can affect limbs and can cause unexplained numbness and pain.
Compressed nerves are essentially starved of oxygen and nutrients due to your sleep position. As long as this occurs for a little while only, the nerve will “wake up” and the numbness will soon disappear. However, continued pressure on the nerve over months and years can result in nerve damage.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
is mostly diagnosed in-office employees and occurs when the median nerve — the nerve that runs from your forearm into the palm of your hand — becomes pressed at the wrist.
Median nerve compression results in numbness, tingling, and sometimes pain in the fingers. The affected person might find it painful to grip an object or flex the wrist.
An uncomfortable sleeping position can exacerbate these symptoms, causing you to wake with numb hands. Topical use of
can help relieve carpal tunnel pain.
Ulnar Nerve Entrapment
helps the forearms and the majority of the hand to perform motor functions. Ulnar Nerve Compression is the second most common type of nerve entrapment syndrome of the upper limbs.
several symptoms, such as numbness in the ring and little fingers and weakening of the intrinsic muscles. However, entrapment can occur at any part of the length of the entire nerve.
mainly in people who are habitual of sleeping while keeping their arm under their head.
Radial Nerve Compression
is a part of the peripheral nervous system that runs from the armpit to the hand and provides motor and sensory functions.
The radial nerve mainly covers the triceps and forearms, when compressed, can cause pain and numbness around the area.
The condition can result in tingling or needle-like sensations and weakness in the arm and hand. Radial nerve compression usually occurs when you sleep with an extended or trapped arm under the body.
Sleeping in such a position can exacerbate these symptoms and result in waking up with a numb hand.
Peripheral neuropathy refers to the diseases associated with the peripheral nervous system which sends signals to the central nervous system. This is associated with the damage of the peripheral nerves that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.
can manifest a wide range of secondary and other pathologies that affect different functions of the human body. The condition is not so common, and in the general population, it
1% to 7% and is most common among people with 50 years of age.
The common symptoms of this condition are numbness and paresthesia accompanied by weakness and pain. Peripheral neuropathies are known to develop over a long period of time, but some are rapidly progressive and can greatly impact one’s quality of life.
The common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. Diabetes damages the small blood vessels that supply the nerves. This results in failure to deliver nutrients to nerves and damages the nerve fibers.
Symptoms of Hand Numbness
Though numbness in hands is itself a symptom, it varies depending on the underlying cause. It generally includes,
- Tingling or pins and needle-like sensation
- Loss of feeling or numb fingers or palm
- Weakness or clumsiness when gripping objects
- A sensation of swelling in hands when there is no apparent sign of it
- The sensation of burning or cold
- Pain or discomfort often worsens at night
- Reduce sensitivity to temperature or touch
- Difficulty performing minor and simple motor tasks
These symptoms can be temporary and negligible. However, if it affects the quality of your life, you need to seek medical attention.
How Do I Stop My Hands from Going Numb When I Sleep?
Here are some tips to help you overcome numbness in your hands.
- Try to sleep in a comfortable position without putting pressure on your arms or hands. Use a body pillow to support your arms when needed.
- If you are diagnosed with carpel tunnel syndrome, using a wrist splint can help keep your wrist in a neutral position — minimizing chances of nerve compression.
- Practice gentle stretching of your arms and lower limbs before going to bed. Gentle exercise for the wrist and hands can relieve tension and improve blood flow.
- Avoid stimulating foods and drinks — alcohol and caffeine — close to bedtime, as they can exacerbate symptoms.
- Make sure you have a comfy mattress and pillow that provide adequate support and help relax your body. A comfortable mattress can support a good sleeping posture.
- Stay hydrated for good sleep by taking enough water throughout the day. If you are dehydrated, poor circulation can result in nerve pain and numbness.
When to Talk to Your Doctor
If you are constantly feeling numbness in your hands for days, or if the condition worsens over time, it is crucial to consult with a medical healthcare provider.
If you are experiencing any of the following, immediately consult with a medical healthcare provider.
- If numbness is accompanied by pain, tingling, weakness, and failure in motor function
- If only one side of your body affects an entire limb
- If the numbness is affecting your ability to perform daily tasks
- If there’s no obvious reason
- If you have a history of conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or any other chronic disease
Consulting with a doctor will help you determine the treatment plan and next steps.
When should I worry about hand numbness?
If the numbness in your hand is frequent and persistent, you should consult with a doctor. When the numbness is accompanied by other symptoms like pain, weakness, or tingling, or if it affects a whole side of your body, seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms mean that there are underlying health conditions that need immediate medical attention.
What diseases cause numbness in the hands?
Several diseases like carpel tunnel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy associated with diabetes, nerve compression, multiple sclerosis, cervical spondylosis, thoracic outlet syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis can cause numbness in the hands. It can also be a symptom of less commonly known diseases like lupus and Lyme disease.
Therefore, if you’re experiencing persistent hand numbness, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.
Is numbness a serious problem?
Numbness in hands and lower limbs is common and can occur due to any reason. Usually, it is not a concern and is a temporary issue that resolves on its own. However, if it is accompanied by other symptoms and affects your quality of life, you need to take it seriously. Especially when symptoms persist or worsen.
What is the fastest way to relieve numbness in the hands?
For temporary numbness, shaking your hands or changing your position can quickly restore normal sensation.
However, if you’re dealing with a more serious or persistent case of hand numbness, such as that associated with a medical condition, the fastest way to find relief may involve medications prescribed by a healthcare provider. These medications are often tailored to address the underlying cause of the numbness and can provide more effective and lasting relief.
Is it normal to wake up with numb hands every day?
Waking up with numb hands every day is not considered normal and should be a cause for concern. While occasional numbness in the hands due to temporary factors like sleeping positions or temporary nerve compression can be common, experiencing numbness on a daily basis suggests an underlying issue that needs attention.
Ignoring persistent numbness can lead to more severe symptoms and potential complications, making early evaluation and intervention crucial for maintaining hand health and overall well-being.
Waking up with numbness or tingling in your hands can be caused by several factors. Minor, temporary numbness is usually nothing to worry about. However, persistent or worsening symptoms could indicate an underlying medical condition that requires treatment.
If you regularly experience numbness and tingling that affects your daily activities, talk to your doctor. They can help diagnose the cause, such as nerve damage or compression, arthritis, diabetes, or other disorders. Appropriate treatment will depend on the diagnosis but may include medications, splinting, exercises, and lifestyle changes to relieve pressure on affected nerves.
Don’t ignore persistent hand numbness, as it could progress to loss of function or chronic pain if left untreated. Seek medical advice to determine the cause and start proper management. With the right treatment, you can prevent worsening symptoms and reduce discomfort, restoring normal sensation and use of your hands.