What Can Cause Numbness in Hands While Sleeping?

Why do I wake up with numb hands? You might wonder why you’re waking up with that “pins and needles” feeling in your hands. The sensation usually comes from nerve compression or restricted blood flow. For instance, if you sleep with your arm under your head, you’re likely compressing nerves, which interrupt the signals to and from your brain. Now, let’s break down some common causes.

What Can Cause Numbness in Hands While Sleeping?

Sleeping Positions

Your sleeping posture can be the simplest explanation for numbness in your hands while sleeping. If you curl up tightly or put pressure on your arm, it can affect blood circulation and pressure on your nerves. Consequently, you’ll wake up with numb or tingling hands.

What to Do

Switching up your sleeping position can make a big difference. Try sleeping on your back with your hands at your sides. Or, if you’re a side sleeper, keep your arms extended or resting on a pillow.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Ever heard of carpal tunnel syndrome? It’s a condition where the median nerve, which runs from your forearm into the palm, gets pressed or squeezed. This often happens due to repetitive movements, like typing or wrist positioning, that put extra pressure on the nerve. While carpal tunnel can cause discomfort at any time, many people notice it more when they wake up.

What to Do

If you think carpal tunnel is the culprit, a wrist splint could be your new bedtime buddy. Wearing one can keep your wrist in a neutral position, reducing pressure on the nerve. Exercises and stretches could also help, but you’ll need to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


Diabetes can cause nerve damage over time, specifically peripheral neuropathy, which affects the hands and feet. If your sugar levels are not well-managed, you might wake up with numb hands.

What to Do

Properly managing your diabetes is crucial. Keep track of your blood sugar levels and take your medications as prescribed. A healthcare provider may also recommend vitamin supplements or medications to manage neuropathy symptoms.

Vitamin Deficiency

Did you know that lacking certain vitamins like B12 can also cause numbness? A deficiency can lead to nerve damage, affecting the sensations in your hands. Other symptoms may include mouth ulcers, extreme tiredness, pale skin, and a sore and red tongue.

What to Do

If you suspect a vitamin deficiency, get tested. Once confirmed, you may need to take supplements or make dietary changes. Foods rich in B12 include fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and fortified cereals.

Other Medical Conditions

Beyond the more common reasons, other medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and even certain medications can contribute to numbness in the hands while sleeping.

What to Do

For persistent or severe symptoms, you should consult a doctor for a comprehensive diagnosis. They may recommend tests or imaging studies to pinpoint the underlying issue.

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