Why Do My Hands Go Numb While Sleeping?

By July 4, 2019 September 16th, 2019 No Comments

Body parts “falling asleep”, going numb, or tingling out of nowhere is a widespread phenomenon. Whether sitting, laying, or reclining back, certain portions of the body seem more likely to go numb or fall asleep when the body is at rest.

This common occurrence is known to happen in several body parts but most commonly develops in extremities such as the hands and feet.

When the hand falls asleep, there is typically some pressure being applied to it. This pressure restricts blood flow to the hand thereby interrupting the nerve signals being sent to the brain. If you find that your hands fall asleep occasionally, it is often inconsequential, but if you notice this happening frequently, there may be a bigger issue at work.

Regularly waking up to hands which feel numb is a sign that something larger may be going wrong. Physicians may recommend screenings for neuropathy of the nerve, carpal tunnel or in some cases, cervical stenosis upon hearing this news. Each of these conditions could imply a greater health concern, such as diabetes, arthritis, or kidney failure.


Neuropathy refers to general nerve pain found anywhere in the body, which can be a symptom of diabetes, arthritis, and many other conditions. Neuropathy of the radial, ulnal, or median nerve is the experience of nerve damage in any of the three major nerve endings in the arm and hand.

These nerves extend from the neck down into the hand and can be pinched easily anywhere along the arm. If they are pinched often, the nerve begins to receive a small amount of damage every time. Once there has been enough damage, the symptoms of neuropathy ensue. This can include pain, numbness, and that “tingly” feeling of it being asleep.

Any three of these nerves can easily be pinched while a person sleeps, but if you are experiencing neuropathy symptoms frequently, you may want to consult a physician to test for underlying symptoms.

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the more common names for a form of neuropathy. The median nerve gets pinched due to prolonged use, and eventually, if left untreated, the nerve damage causes pain and numbness of the arm and wrist area.

If you are experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome, it is likely that your hands go numb when you are sleeping due to the nerve damage already caused.

Nerve Degradation and Cervical Stenosis

With old age, as with arthritis, nerves and joints begin to slowly degrade, causing physical pain. Cervical stenosis is caused by the degradation of joints and nerves in the spine, leaving less room in the spinal canal. This lack of space leads to a compression in the spinal cord that causes cervical stenosis.

This condition, if left untreated, is called myelopathy.

The degradation of nerves and joints is a common part of aging and does not often become myelopathy. If, however, you are experiencing the symptoms of cervical stenosis, consult your doctor to begin treatment – The symptoms which include, but are not limited to:

  • Pain in the neck
  • Shoulders or arms
  • Shift in balance
  • The feeling of your limbs falling asleep


Diabetes, which is commonly associated with nerve pain or damage, occurs when the body is unable to produce its own insulin, resulting in abnormal blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage, and eventually neuropathy, which can lead to the death of extremities if left untreated.


Arthritis, while not immediately damaging to the nerves, lays the groundwork for nerve damage by degrading the joints over time. With less space for the nerves to send their signals due to inflammation, the sensation of hands or other limbs falling asleep can become frequent.

Lifestyle Choices and Other Causes

There are several other causes related to lifestyle choices that could lead to your hands falling asleep while you are sleeping. Some of these are:

  • Diet. An imbalance in vital nutrients in the bloodstream due to a failing or improperly working kidney can also cause this sensation
  • Smoking and obesity. Both are known to cut off circulation to the extremities increasing the likelihood of nerve neuropathy.
  • Alcohol use. Excessive alcohol consumption may lead to neuropathy by damaging peripheral nerves which relay sensation to the brain. As these channels degrade, a person may begin to experience deeper and longer lasting feelings of “falling asleep” in the extremities, including the hands.
  • Autoimmune disorders. These types of disorders use the body’s natural defenses to kill off healthy tissues such as nerves and can lead to regular episodes of numbness.
  • Nerve injury. Bone fractures, strains, and sprains can lead to irreparable nerve damage and eventually chronic numbness.


While the feeling of your hands or feet falling asleep is non problematic in and of itself, if this symptom persists, especially while you are sleeping, you should contact your doctor to get tested for underlying causes.

CELLAXYS offers many specialized treatments for these symptoms. By injecting stem cells and platelet rich plasma into the area of the damaged nerves, they can create an environment suitable for regeneration of damaged tissues thereby restoring the channels nerves use to communicate with the brain.

Stem cells are able to regenerate quickly which allows for regrowth and repair of the damaged nerves. The stem cells are also able to undo some of the damage done by the aforementioned diseases — which can lead to a much more comfortable existence for our patients.

Contact CELLAXYS today for a consultation, we will be happy to provide answers to any questions you may have about our treatments.

Dr. Matthew HC Otten

Dr. Matthew HC Otten

Director of Orthopedic & Orthobiologics
Fellowship-trained & Board Certified in Sports medicine
Director Angiography at Harvard Clinical Research Institute
Michigan Stage University Alumni