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Waking Up With Numb Hands? Here's What It Indicates, As Per Expert

Waking up with numb hands may be a sign of underlying health conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, vitamin deficiency, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.

Sushmita Sharma
Written by: Sushmita SharmaUpdated at: Feb 16, 2023 19:07 IST
Waking Up With Numb Hands? Here's What It Indicates, As Per Expert

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Do you often wake up feeling no sensation in your hands? In most cases it could be due to the wrong sleeping posture that restricts blood flow. But that’s not the only reason. If the numbness persists for a longer time, it may be a cause of concern as it may indicate an underlying disease. It may be a sign of health conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, vitamin deficiency, carpal tunnel syndrome or nerve damage. 

We spoke to expert Dr Mohd Bilal Ahmed, Occupational Therapist, Master In Occpational Therapy (Neurology), who explained the different causes of waking up with numbness in hands. 

Sleeping Position

Waking up with numb hands can be due to your sleeping position, which puts pressure on your hands. This temporary restriction of blood flow to your hands can lead to numb hands or a pins-and-needles sensation. You should change your sleeping position to avoid such numbness.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The hands and wrists may experience tingling or numbness due to carpal tunnel syndrome. This happens when the hand's median nerve becomes compressed, usually due to inflammation brought on by excessive use. Dr Ahmed said that the first signs and symptoms might appear at night or upon waking up. He further said that people may need to shake their hands when they wake up. It is more common in people who perform repetitive movements, such as a long time spent using a cash register or a keyboard.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes causes a rise in blood sugar levels in your body, which can harm the arteries that carry blood to the body's extremities. Oxygen deficiency in the blood can also induce nerve injury, which results in numbness. People who have had the condition for a long time are more likely to experience these nerve problems, said the expert.

Also Read: Diabetes: 7 Easy Physical Activities You Can Do To Manage It

Peripheral neuropathy

This is a condition where your peripheral nervous system is damaged. This nervous system communicates signals between your brain and the rest of your body. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy  include tingling and numbness, buzzing sensation, and sharp pain in your nerves.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Another reason for waking up with numb hands or fingers may be a lack of vitamin B12 in your body. The production of DNA and the operation of your brain and central nervous system depend on this vitamin. Symptoms of deficiency include numbness and tingling in the feet too, besides muscle weakness and decreased appetite.

Alcohol Abuse

People who consume excessive alcohol may experience tingling and soreness in their limbs. This is because when it is consumed in large quantities, it can harm the nerve tissue. This condition is known as alcoholic neuropathy.

Also Read: Alcohol Poisoning: Causes, Signs, And It's Preventive Measures

Raynaud's Disease

The condition known as Raynaud's Syndrome affects the blood flow to your fingers and toes. It is distinguished by bouts of numbness and coldness brought on by stress or cold temperatures.

Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

The ulnar nerve controls the muscles in your forearm that allow you to grip things. The fourth and fifth fingers and the forearm may experience discomfort, numbness, and tingling due to this condition. In severe cases, it can result in muscle atrophy and hand weakness.

Dead Arm Syndrome

A so-called dead arm occurs when the upper arm becomes painful or weak during a throwing motion. It is a diminished ability to utilise the arm, weakness, or momentary numbness, and is frequently caused by shoulder instability.


Dr Ahmed concluded that other conditions may also cause numbness in hands, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, syphilis, hyperthyroidism, encephalitis or stroke. You should visit your doctor if the symptom is not caused due to wrong sleeping posture and persists for an extended time. 

Sedentary lifestyle choices and habits like smoking and drinking primarily bring on health issues like peripheral neuropathy and diabetes. Therefore, you should live a healthy lifestyle and exercise to avoid such complications.