Numb Hands When Sleeping: What You Should Know

Have you ever experienced a strange feeling of numbness in your hands when waking up? This discomfort may be temporary, but it can often indicate something more serious. In this article, we'll explore the possible causes of numb hands upon waking and what you can do to alleviate the symptoms.

Why Do My Hands Go Numb When I Wake Up?

First, it is important to highlight that numbness in the hands when waking up is common and often related to your assumed sleeping position. We may develop a tingling or numb sensation whenever we put excessive pressure on a nerve, whether by sleeping on it or holding our hand in an uncomfortable position. 

Typically, this sensation passes once the pressure is relieved and blood flow is normalized. However, if you notice that you are constantly waking up to numb hands, it could be a pointer to an underlying medical condition and a medical checkup would be advised. 

Why Are My Hands Numb?

Your hands may be numb when you wake for different reasons and we have tried our best to explain the most common causes. Let’s dive straight into it. 

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the main causes of numbness in the hands upon waking up. It happens when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, is compressed or irritated in some way. This can result in pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands and fingers. 

    Women tend to be affected 3 times more than men, and in many cases, this is exacerbated by repetitive tasks such as typing or using a cell phone for long periods. However, it can also occur in people who sleep with their wrists bent.

    How to treat: The treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome must be guided by an orthopedist and can be done with the use of cold compresses, wrist wraps, the use of anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or even surgery.

  • Cervical Disc Hernia
  • Another cause of numbness in the hands upon waking up is a herniated cervical disc. This condition occurs when one of the discs between the vertebrae in the cervical spine (neck bones) dislocates and puts pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. 

    The result is a series of uncomfortable symptoms, including neck pain, tingling and numbness in the hands, and muscle weakness.

    How to treat: treatment must be carried out with guidance from an orthopedist who may recommend the use of a cervical collar, physiotherapy, use of anti-inflammatory drugs, or corticosteroids. If treatments are not effective, the doctor may recommend surgery.

  • Diabetes
  • Diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, is another common cause of numbness in the hands. Excess blood sugar can damage nerves over time, leading to the condition known as diabetic neuropathy

    This condition can cause a variety of symptoms, including numbness in the hands and feet, especially upon waking.

  • Spinal injuries

  • Injuries to the spine can cause compression of the nerves that control sensation and movement in the hands. This can result in numb hands upon waking. Spinal injuries can be caused by traumatic injuries or age-related degeneration.

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause nerve damage and lead to tingling or numbness, especially in the hands, feet or legs.

    Furthermore, a deficiency in this vitamin can also cause other symptoms, such as tiredness, weakness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, mental confusion, diarrhea, excess intestinal gas, or weight loss.

    How to treat: you should consult your general practitioner to carry out tests, in order to identify whether vitamin B12 is deficient in the body, and carry out treatment, which is generally done with the use of vitamin supplements.

    Furthermore, it is important to have a varied diet, eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and vegetables, in accordance with the nutritionist's guidance. See a complete list of foods rich in vitamin B12.

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Some autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can cause inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues. This can lead to compression of the nerves that control sensation and movement in the hands, resulting in numb hands upon waking.

    How to treat: Treatment usually starts with anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, or immunosuppressant medications. In addition, the rheumatologist may also recommend physiotherapy.

  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid glands - the ones in the neck that become swollen in goiter - do not produce enough hormones. These hormones play a vital role in many body functions, including the system of the body concerned with feeling sensation(the nervous system). 

    In some cases, hypothyroidism can cause numbness in the hands, as a deficiency in these hormones can lead to nerve problems. This condition, known as peripheral neuropathy, can result in tingling or numb sensations in the hands and other parts of the body. 

    Therefore, it is essential to keep thyroid hormone levels under control to prevent these symptoms. To do this, it is advised you take iron-containing foods such as spinach, tofu, dark chocolate, and cashews.

    How to treat: the treatment of peripheral neuropathy must be guided by a neurologist and generally consists of controlling the disease and administering analgesics. 

  • Medication 
  • Some medications can cause numbness or tingling in the fingers, hands, or body as a side effect, as in the case of chemotherapy or antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV infection, for example. See other causes of tingling in the body.

    How to treat: you should consult the doctor responsible for the treatment to evaluate the possibility of changing the medication or receive guidance on what to do to reduce the side effects of the medication.

    What Triggers The Numbness?

    Hands feel numb when the nerves responsible for transmitting sensory information from the hand to the brain are being compressed, damaged, or irritated in some way. This prevents the nerves from transmitting signals correctly, which can result in a tingling sensation, numbness, or even pain.

    Other Possible Causes of Numb Hands

    While carpal tunnel syndrome, cervical disc herniation, and diabetes are some of the most common conditions that lead to numbness in the hands, there are other possible causes. These include multiple sclerosis, which is a disease that affects the central nervous system and can cause a variety of symptoms, including numbness in the hands.

    Similarly, lupusan autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body – can also cause numbness in the hands. Yea, we know they are big medical terms but you can look them up with the attached links. 

    Measures to Relieve Numbness in Hands

    If you frequently wake up with numb hands, there are some steps you can take to alleviate the discomfort:

    • Change your sleeping position: Avoid sleeping on your arms and keep your hands in a neutral position. 

    Bad sleeping position can also be as a result of a bad bed. If this is the problem you can purchase a comfortable and affordable bed from Egohome.

    • Exercise and stretch: If the cause of your numbness is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, specific exercises and stretches for your hands and wrists may be helpful.
    • Control your blood sugar: If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels controlled can help prevent diabetic neuropathy.

    How To Treat Numb Hands When You Wake Up

    If you are frequently waking up with numb hands, it is essential to seek medical help. Early diagnosis can make all the difference in treating many of these conditions.

    Diagnosis is usually made through a combination of physical examination, medical history, and additional tests, which may include electromyography, blood tests, and, in some cases, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography.

    Treatment for hand numbness will depend on the underlying cause. It may include lifestyle changes, medications, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.

    Lifestyle Changes to Relieve Hand Numbness

    Simple lifestyle changes can help relieve numbness in your hands. If your profession requires you to make repetitive movements with your hands, taking frequent breaks and stretching can help relieve pressure on your nerves.

    Likewise, maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular physical activity can also help prevent hand numbness. Additionally, if you smoke, quitting can improve circulation and overall nerve health.


    Waking up with numb hands is really uncomfortable and worrying, but by understanding the possible causes and knowing how to alleviate this discomfort, you can better deal with this situation. If the numbness persists, it is essential to seek guidance from a healthcare professional.