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Waking up With a Numb Arm

by BetterSleep
Jun 23 2022 • 5 min read

Your body goes through a lot during the day and doesn’t stop when you sleep. Many things can cause different parts of your body to fall asleep or go numb. This feeling is usually painless and considered more of a sensation.

Here are some common reasons your arm or other body parts go numb and things you can do to combat the problem.

Why do my hands go numb when I’m sleeping?

If you have ever felt your hands going numb while sleeping, understand that you are not alone. The cause of numbness in your hand can be easily fixable or a more serious condition that requires you to see a doctor.

The most common cause of your hands’ numbness is your sleep position. Your sleep position not only plays a critical role in the quality of your sleep but also in how you physically feel during and after.

If you place too much pressure on your hands, you could compress a nerve or cut off blood circulation. A compressed nerve or poor blood circulation can cause a tingly sensation or numbness.

How to Keep Your Hands From Falling Asleep

If positioning is the cause of your numb hands, the easiest and quickest way to solve your problem is to change your sleep position. Leaving your body in one position for too long can cause muscles to tense up, leading to this uncomfortable feeling.

Other underlying causes:

If you have changed your sleep or rest position and you still encounter numb hands or arms, you may have an underlying health problem. Many conditions cause numbness or tingling in the body, including but not limited to:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome (UTS)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

See your doctor as soon as possible if the problems persist.

Dead Arm Syndrome

Dead arm syndrome is a sharp, paralyzing pain that occurs when the shoulder is moved in a position that involves rotation. Most athletes who use their shoulders often by throwing or swinging can get this problem. This can cause you to lose the complete functionality of your shoulder in comparison to pre-injury.

Dead arm syndrome is caused by the overuse of the muscles and tendons in the shoulder. People who have it will describe it as a painful, clicking, or popping sensation when they move. People with this condition may also experience numbness from the shoulder, extending down into the hands.


Dead arm syndrome cannot be treated with rest. To fully recover, you must include physical therapy like exercises and stretching. In some cases of dead arm syndrome, people may require surgery.

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