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Why Do My Hands Go Numb While Sleeping?

Medically Reviewed by Cellaxys

By Published: July 4, 2019Updated: June 11, 2023No Comments

Body parts “falling asleep”, going numb, or tingling out of nowhere is a widespread phenomenon. Whether sitting, lying, 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 that 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, ulnar, or median nerve is the experience of nerve damage in any of the 3 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 each 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 3 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 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

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 limbs “falling asleep.”
  • 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.

Regenerative Medicine’s Role in Combating Hand Numbness

Regenerative medicine or orthobiologic treatments are now popular in treating multiple soft tissues and damaged nerve injuries. These treatments are non-invasive, less painful, and have a shorter recovery time. 

CELLAXYS offers two specialized treatments for numb hand symptoms.

  • Cell-based therapies: Also known as stem cell therapies, these treatments take out the patient’s own cells or “autologous” tissues, concentrate them, and reinject them into the injury site. The doctor usually harvests healthy cells from two places; each process has a different name. When the cells are extracted from the adipose (fat) tissue, the process is called Minimally Manipulated Adipose Tissue (MMAT) transplant. Similarly, when they are harvested from the patient’s bone marrow, it is called Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMAC). 
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy: It separates platelets from the patient’s blood plasma, processes them, and then reinjects them into the injury site. Platelets are the healing bodies in our blood that contain 10 Growth Factors to promote tissue growth and release chemical signals to attract healing bodies from the blood. They also produce fibrin, a sticky scaffolding for the development of new tissues. 

PRP and cell-based therapies are outpatient procedures, meaning you can go home after the process. MMAT and BMAC are performed within 1.5 to 2 hours, while PRP takes about 45 minutes to complete. The doctors use live X-rays or ultrasounds to detect the exact injury location. 

PRP and cell-based therapies can undo some of the damage done by the aforementioned diseases, leading 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. Pouya Mohajer

Director of Regenerative Interventional Spine Medicine
Board certification in Anesthesiology and Interventional Pain Medicine
Fellowship-trained from Harvard University
UCLA Alumni


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