Why Your Hands Go Numb While Sleeping? – (and What to Do About It)

white robot hand - hands go numb while sleeping

Hands Go Numb While Sleeping

If you’ve ever woken up to find your hands numb and tingling, you’re not alone. This is a common occurrence that can have many different causes.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons why your hands go numb while sleeping and what you can do about it.

Why does your hand go numb while sleeping?

The cause of numbness in the hands while sleeping is usually due to sleeping in an uncomfortable position that puts too much pressure on the nerves in the hands, which cuts off the blood flow and results in a lack of sensation. This pressure can be from laying on the side, stomach, or with the arms above the head, and can cause the ulnar, median, and radial nerves to become pinched and constricted.

human palm go numb

Other potential causes of numbness in the hands while sleeping may include vitamin B deficiency, cervical spondylosis, and Raynaud phenomenon. To find lasting relief, it is best to seek out help from a neurologist.

Is it normal to wake up with numb hands everyday?

No, it is not normal to wake up with numb hands every day. While occasional numbness upon waking is usually nothing to be alarmed about, it’s important to see a doctor if the numbness persists or you experience other symptoms. This can be a sign of different underlying conditions. It could also be due to a sleeping posture that puts pressure on a nerve, or age-related factors.

If you experience a sharp or sudden numbness followed by stabbing pains, slurred speech, weakness or paralysis, or a headache, then you should call 911 immediately as this could indicate a stroke.

What are the causes of numbness in hands while sleeping?

1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disorder caused by the compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway located on the front of the wrist. This can occur due to repetitive motions, such as typing on a keyboard, or due to obesity or wrist trauma. Symptoms initially appear as tingling and numbness in the thumb and index finger and can move up the arm to the forearm and shoulder. Pain, weak grip strength, itching, and swelling may also occur. If left untreated, the condition can worsen and may cause permanent damage.

person hand holding hand figurine numb

The numbness can be dull, aching, sharp, electrical, burning, or throbbing in nature. Wearing a brace or stretching during the day may help to relieve the pain and numbness, but for more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the median nerve.

2. Pinky Finger Syndrome

Pinky Finger Syndrome, also known as Ulnar Nerve Compression, is a condition in which pressure is placed on the ulnar nerve, which is responsible for controlling the pinky and ring fingers. This can be caused by excessive pressure on the elbow, or sleeping in an awkward position for a long period of time.

Symptoms of Pinky Finger Syndrome typically in the pinky and ring fingers may include

  • tingling,
  • pain,
  • numbness,
  • weakness,
  • itching,
  • swelling,
  • cramping,
  • decreased strength

If left untreated, the condition can worsen and cause permanent damage to the median nerve. Treatment options include splinting, medication, and physical therapy.

3. Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis is an age-related spinal condition that occurs when the disks between vertebrae erode and shift out of place, exposing or compressing nerves in the spinal column. This can cause pain, tingling, and numbness to radiate into the shoulder, arm, and hand. The pain and discomfort is similar to sleeping after shoulder surgery which can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.

As we age, our spinal discs can become brittle and prone to cracking or tearing, leading to cervical spondylosis. Cervical spondylosis can also cause neck pain and stiffness, as well as damage to the nerves responsible for fine motor skill coordination in the hands, which can make it difficult to write or perform other tasks.

Numbness in the hands while sleeping can be caused by cervical spondylosis, as the compression of the nerves can cause pain, tingling, and numbness in the arms, hands, and fingers. Treatment for cervical spondylosis may include medications, physical therapy, or surgery.

4. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a disorder that affects the blood vessels and nerves located between the top ribs and collarbone. It occurs when these blood vessels and nerves become compressed, which can cause numbness and tingling in the hands.

TOS can be caused by a variety of things, including a rib that’s out of place, poor posture, arthritis, weight gain, tissue build up in the area, or a neck injury like whiplash. Sometimes, TOS can be caused by the compression of veins in the area, which can happen while sleeping and lead to numbness in the hands.

5. Wrist Joint Problems

Numbness in the wrists while sleeping can be caused by a variety of factors, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, keeping the elbow bent for too long, repetitive motion of the fingers and wrist, assembly line work, rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy, obesity, diabetes, gender, sleeping with the fetal position, radial tunnel syndrome, and compression of the median nerve. All of these can lead to nerve compression in the wrist joint, causing numbness, tingling, and pain.

Wearing a wrist guard or splint can help reduce nerve compression by keeping the wrist straight. Splints or wrist guards can also be used during repetitive tasks to provide better stability to the joint.

6. Hand and Finger Neuropathy

Hand and finger neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can cause numbness in hands while sleeping. It affects the radial, ulnar, or median nerve endings in the arm and hand, which extend from the neck to the hand and can be easily pinched. Over time, repeated pinching of these nerves can lead to damage, causing symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling.

Causes of hand and finger neuropathy include

  • carpal tunnel syndrome,
  • cervical spondylosis,
  • thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS),
  • peripheral neuropathy,
  • sleeping posture,
  • side effects from chemotherapy or other medications,
  • alcohol use disorder,
  • vitamin B12 deficiency,
  • and various diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis,
  • multiple sclerosis affects sleep,
  • lupus,
  • Lyme disease,
  • syphilis,
  • Sjögren’s syndrome,
  • hypothyroidism,
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Treatments vary depending on the underlying cause, but may include lifestyle changes, medications, and/or surgery.

7. Diabetes Mellitus

The causes of numbness in hands while sleeping due to diabetes mellitus are high blood sugar levels and fat levels, which can lead to nerve and blood vessel damage. This damage can result in peripheral neuropathy, which causes numbness and tingling in the limbs.

The effects of diabetes mellitus on numbness in hands while sleeping can be severe if left untreated. Prolonged exposure to high blood sugar and fats can lead to nerve and blood vessel damage, resulting in a feeling of numbness or pins and needles. This can also be accompanied by burning sensations, cramps, muscle weakness, increased sensitivity to touch, and a loss of reflexes.

a pile of white sugar cubes sitting on top of a table

In extreme cases, peripheral neuropathy can lead to amputation or even death. With early treatment and lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and exercise, symptoms can be managed and the risk of severe complications can be reduced.

8. Trauma to the Hands

Trauma to the hands, also known as Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI), occurs when the nerves, muscles, and tendons in the hands and wrists are repeatedly put under strain due to overuse, leading to inflammation and injury. This can be caused by activities such as

  • typing on a keyboard,
  • playing musical instruments,
  • or any activity that involves repetitive, forceful gripping or movement of the hands and wrists.

Over time, these activities can cause the tendons and muscles to become inflamed and irritated, leading to numbness and pain in the hands and wrists.

The effects of trauma to the hands on sleepers can often be felt when you moves much during sleep or try to move or position your hands in a certain way during sleep and it causes pain.

9. Ulnar nerve compression

Ulnar nerve compression occurs when the elbow is bent too long, putting too much pressure on the elbow or wrist. Wearing a wrist guard or splint at night can help to keep the wrists straight and relieve pressure on the median nerve, thus reducing the numbness.

Additionally, taking short breaks during activities involving repetitive and rapid motion, such as using a mouse or keyboard, can help to prevent numbness in the hands during sleep. Napping at the workplace is also suggested when it is allowed by the management.

10. Sleep Position and Pressure

The effects of sleep position and pressure on numbness in hands while sleeping can be significant. Sleeping on your back is generally considered the best position for spinal alignment, while sleeping on your stomach can cause excessive pressure on the spine in your neck and lead to spinal misalignments or nerve compression.

Additionally, sleeping with your hands underneath your head can restrict blood flow or nerve functioning, resulting in numbness. Side sleeping is the best position for preventing numb limbs, although switching up your pillow of choice may be necessary to provide the proper support for a neutral spine in your neck.

What are the symptoms of hand numbness while sleeping?

The symptoms of numbness in the hands while sleeping can include pain, tingling, weakness, and issues with dexterity.

Other possible signs and symptoms of hand numbness while sleeping include:

  • shooting pain,
  • discomfort when trying to move the hand,
  • a decrease in sensation,
  • restlessness,
  • difficulty with fine motor skills,
  • muscle weakness,
  • numbness or tingling that radiates from the shoulder down the arm and into the hand.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, and peripheral neuropathy can cause numbness in the hands while sleeping. These conditions may also cause

  • shooting pain,
  • tingling,
  • numbness that can wake you up during the night.

Could Waking Up Bloated and Numb Hands While Sleeping Be Related?

Could waking up bloated and experiencing numb hands while sleeping be related? If you consistently wake up bloated every morning and also notice numbness in your hands, there might be a connection. Bloating can be a result of various factors, including diet and gastrointestinal issues, while numbness in hands could be due to poor sleeping posture or underlying conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. Consulting a healthcare professional can help identify the underlying cause and provide suitable solutions.


What are some potential treatments for hand numbness while sleeping?

Treatment options for hand numbness while sleeping can include: sleeping on one’s side; changing sleep side; wearing a wrist or elbow brace to bed; changing bedding; taking vitamin B-12 supplements; treating underlying conditions or diseases like diabetes mellitus or spondylosis; carpal tunnel syndrome; rheumatoid arthritis; multiple sclerosis; ulnar nerve compression; median nerve compression; radial nerve compression.

Could it be carpal tunnel syndrome if my hands are numb while sleeping?

Yes, it could very likely be carpal tunnel syndrome if your hands are numb while sleeping. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common disorder caused by the compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause itching and numbness before it causes pain or numbness that wakes you up. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice and treatment as soon as possible.

Are there any vitamins or supplements that can help with hand numbness while sleeping?

Vitamin B-12 is one such supplement that can help to reduce numbness in the hands while sleeping, as it is known to help with nerve damage that can cause the numbness. Vitamin B-12 deficiency is best treated by ensuring enough of this vitamin is in the diet or through supplements.

Antidepressants can also help to manage the numbness by calming the nerves. However, other causes of numbness can be so to determine the cause of the numbness, it is best to consult with a doctor.

Is it possible to prevent hand numbness while sleeping?

Yes, it is possible to prevent hand numbness while sleeping by making certain changes to your sleeping position, mattress and pillows, and sleep environment. Sleeping on your side or back and not on your stomach with arms tucked underneath the body can help to reduce pressure points. Wearing a wrist or elbow brace to bed can help to stabilize your wrist and keep your arms and fingers flat.

Are there any lifestyle changes that can help with hand numbness while sleeping?

Yes, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make to help with hand numbness while sleeping. Sleeping on your side, flipping from right side to left throughout the night, and changing your bedding can all help to relieve pressure points and alleviate numbness in the hands. Additionally, avoiding laying on your arms under your pillow.

What medical tests should I have if my hands go numb while sleeping?

If your hands go numb while sleeping, you should talk to a doctor who may recommend diagnostic imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans to get a better look at what is going on. An MRI may also be recommended if your doctor suspects an issue with the spine. Additionally, a neurologist may be consulted for a neurological exam.

What should I do if the numbness in my hands while sleeping becomes unbearable?

If the numbness in your hands while sleeping becomes unbearable, you should take a few steps to try to manage your symptoms. Here’s what to do:

  1. Change your sleeping posture, such as sleeping on your back with your arms at your sides or on your side with a pillow between your knees.
  2. Wear a wrist or elbow brace to bed that keeps your arms and wrists from being bent or flexed in awkward positions.
  3. Flip from right side to left throughout the night to relieve pressure points.
  4. Try to sleep with a weighted blanket which may calm you during the night to get some Zzz’s.
  5. Speak with your doctor to rule out any other underlying disorders.

By following these steps, you should be able to reduce the numbness in your hands while sleeping and get a better night’s rest.

How to stop sleeping on hands?

Here are some tips to help you stop sleeping on your hands:

  1. Change your sleeping position: If you’re used to sleeping on your stomach or with your arms under your pillow, try to change your sleeping position to one that doesn’t put pressure on your hands. Sleeping on your back or side may help.
  2. Use a body pillow: A body pillow can provide extra support and help prevent you from rolling onto your stomach or sleeping with your arms under your head.
  3. Wear wrist splints: Wearing wrist splints at night can help keep your wrists in a neutral position, reducing the likelihood of putting pressure on your hands while you sleep.
  4. Practice relaxation techniques: Stress and anxiety can cause you to tense up and clench your hands while you sleep. Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, 478 breathing, meditation, or yoga can help reduce stress and tension in your body.
  5. Exercise bedore bedtime, deep pressure activities may help. Do yoga, get a massage or listen to white noise when the 478 sleep trick doesn’t work.
  6. Set an alarm: Go to bed early, set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to change your sleeping position if you wake up during the night. This can help train your body to sleep in a position that’s more comfortable for your hands.

By lezt

Lez Taylor, Founder and CEO of Corala Blanket. She tried every sleep system and trick to conquer her insomnia for good.