Help, my arms go to sleep at night – why does the numbness arise?

You lie down in your bed in the evening, take a comfortable sleeping position and during the night you wake up feeling uncomfortable. Half asleep, you hardly seem to be able to move your arm. The feeling in the hand is completely gone and at first you panic.

After this brief moment of shock, you realize that your arm is starting to tingle. The feeling comes back and you can move your hand normally again.

Do you experience this numbness more often ? Do your arms and hands fall asleep and you don’t know if this is associated with serious health risks? Then find out why this phenomenon occurs and when it is advisable to see a doctor.

The fact that the arms fall asleep briefly at night is not an unusual phenomenon. Most people have probably already noticed this feeling and have not suffered any permanent damage.

The cause is usually an interruption in the blood flow. You lie awkwardly, shift your weight on your arm and the blood circulation is disturbed. As a result, the sensation is impaired for this moment and only after the blockage has been resolved you will get the familiar feeling back.

This makes things even more difficult if you suffer from tension or pain in the intervertebral discs or the cervical spine. Then misalignment of the vertebrae could cause the nerves to become irritated . Slightly squeezing the nerve endings also disrupts the sensation.

The tingling sensation is a clear signal that the nerves are literally struggling with overstimulation . After you have changed your sleeping position and the interruption has been lifted, the nerve tracts perceive the stimuli again. However, you cannot assign them correctly and the tingling sensation develops. It may be a bit uncomfortable at first, but if your arms or hands only fall asleep irregularly, this is nothing to worry about. This often occurs in the side position , for example , when the lower arm is under the body and this affects the nerves or blood circulation.


It looks different, however, if the numbness occurs regularly and continues into the day. Then different diseases can be responsible for the numbness. See a doctor if the symptoms persist over several nights or days and do not go away.


One of the most common reasons for the tingling sensation in the hands is a herniated disc . The intervertebral discs are essential for protecting the spine. They act as a kind of shock absorber so that the vertebral bodies do not rub against each other. The intervertebral discs are more elastic and take most of the strain.

The intervertebral discs can change their position through incorrect loading , such as when sitting constantly or lifting heavily. An acute herniated disc is accompanied by immediate pain and restricted mobility.

It is more common, however, that the intervertebral discs wear out more due to poor posture . There are hairline cracks and the function is impaired. They lose stability and bulge into the spinal canal.

This pathological change can cause the intervertebral discs to press on the nerves. The result is numbness and muscle weakness. These express themselves not only at night, but also during the day.


If you work a lot on the computer , your posture is important for the health of your arms and hands. It may not seem strenuous, but if the position is not comfortable, it strains the tendons.

The carpal tunnel syndrome is often an overload of hand basis. Inflammation occurs, the tissue swells, and the nerve is pinched. The region of the median nerve is predestined for irritation, as tendons and nerves are closely meshed there. Overstraining the space and thus the nerve is narrowed and squeezed.

Not only the work posture , but also sleep can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. If you sleep with your hands bent or strain them while sleeping, the symptoms will appear the next morning.

The tingling sensation usually occurs easily in both hands , with the working hand being more severely affected. Visit the doctor, get used to an ergonomic posture and relieve your hands for the near future.


Certain restrictions can also arise if you suffer from a nutritional deficiency. Specifically, this concerns vitamin B12. This nutrient is abundant in animal products.

Therefore, vegans in particular are affected by this deficit. If you are vegan, a supplement of B12 is advisable. When taking the vitamin, the sensory disturbances should subside and the tingling should subside.


One-sided loading not only increases the risk of a herniated disc. Also, tension and pain in the shoulder and neck area can lead to the appearance of numbness and tingling.

In conjunction with stress , sleep disorders and other complaints increase. You suffer from a higher sensation of pain and the tension can radiate from the spinal cord to the hands. In order to rule out whether it is not a herniated disc after all, you should urgently consult a doctor.


In contrast to the causes, there are various treatment options that strengthen your nerves and blood circulation. This should also reduce numbness when falling asleep.


Most people prefer to lie on their side at night. This gives a feeling of security and appears comfortable. For physical health, the side position and prone position are less recommended. Often the cervical spine is bent unnaturally and the arms could fall asleep under the body.

It is better if you spend the night as a back sleeper. There is better relief for the spine on the back . It may take a while to get used to your sleeping position , but afterwards you will clearly feel the positive effects.


At the workplace, it is important to ensure that you maintain a healthy sitting posture . Pay particular attention to the head as it tends to be pushed forward. Push this back and leave it over your shoulders. This will reduce the strain on the muscles and reduce tension.

Also, keep your forearms and hands relaxed. Use ergonomic products to minimize the strain on your work. This will prevent the carpal tunnel syndrome and the tingling will not occur.


If you are already suffering from tension in the neck area or lower back, the application of heat will help . Point a red light lamp on the area to be treated and the muscle fibers will relax.

At the same time, this application also counteracts stress. Also, do meditation or other relaxation techniques to relieve stress. In this way you ensure relaxation both on a physical and mental level. The blood circulation is improved and the paresthesia are reduced.


If numbness occurs suddenly in the morning or during the day , caution should be exercised in relation to the following symptoms:

Visual impairments
Difficulty speaking
Numbness of the face

Unilateral numbness in the face , in particular, indicates a stroke. Then the emergency doctor should be called urgently to investigate the suspicion.


If you wake up in the middle of the night and have no feeling in your arms , this may cause a moment of shock. Usually you just slept in your arms and thereby disturbed the blood circulation. After a short wait, a tingling sensation occurs, which signals that you are feeling normal again. Such a phenomenon is harmless, but it could be a signal that you should change your sleeping position.

It is problematic if the numbness occurs regularly at night and does not go away completely during the day. Then a herniated disc could be responsible for the symptoms. Clarify your symptoms with the doctor in order to carry out a suitable therapy.

Also make sure to use a comfortable pillow and a health-promoting mattress . This takes the strain off the spine so that herniated discs or degenerative diseases occur less frequently. Your sleep quality benefits and you don’t have to worry about your arms falling asleep at night.

Jamie Clark

Hello, I’m Jamie Clark, 32 years old, and I have been living in the USA for a few years.
Since I was a child, I have suffered from a house dust allergy, severely affecting me. I felt the effects both while exercising and while sleeping. Constant sneezing after getting up and difficult breathing were the consequences. The allergy has also developed into asthma, which is still a sporting restriction today.

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