Why Do Hands Go Numb While Sleeping?


Quick Answer

Hands that go numb while a person is asleep are one of the tell-tale signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, according to Precision Orthopaedic Specialties, Inc. If it only happens occasionally, it could be the result of falling asleep with the head on the arm, notes WebMD.

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Full Answer

Patients who wake up with hands that are tingling and/or numb, to the point where using them feels impossible until they shake their hands for several minutes, demonstrate a sign of possible carpal tunnel syndrome. If this is the underlying cause, the numbness sometimes returns while holding a book, and it can occur while gripping a steering wheel, notes Precision Orthopaedic Specialties, Inc.

To combat this problem, many patients perform a stretch by pulling their fingers back in the direction of the top of the wrist, until they feel a stretch along the palm, and holding that position for about 15 seconds before releasing and repeating. Some other remedies include supplementation with vitamin B6, which assists nerve recovery and commonly alleviates early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome; night splints to hold the wrist straight and keep the hands from falling asleep; and anti-inflammatory medications to deal with the discomfort, states Precision Orthopaedic Specialities, Inc.

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