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What are the Most Common Causes of Numbness While Sleeping?

By Brandon May
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The common causes of numbness while sleeping include poor blood circulation due to certain sleeping positions, pinched nerves, and paresthesia, a condition that affects the neurons in the brain. For the majority of individuals who deal with numbness at night, finding different sleeping positions may provide relief. For other cases, however, medical as well as nutritional intervention may be necessary. If the problem persists after treatment, further tests along the nerves of the body should be carried out to determine if the an individual is suffering from a disease.

More often than not, complaints about numbness while sleeping are caused mainly from sleeping in positions that cut off blood circulation. This includes sleeping on the hands or arms, which places pressure on these areas for hours at night. Becoming more aware of sleep positions before actually falling asleep is a good first step to preventing this problem.

If the numbness still occurs when the arms and legs are at the sides of the body, it may be a sign of a deeper issue, such as a pinched nerve. When nerves are pinched, they can often cause tingling and numbness in the hands, feet or legs. A prickling sensation all across the body due to problems with certain neurons in the brain is called paresthesia, and can often be felt during sleep. Causes of paresthesia can be related to metabolic disorders such as diabetes or malnutrition, as well as the body being low in vitamin B12. Connective tissue disease as well as infections can contribute to disturbances within the neural pathway of the brain, leading to numbness often associated with paresthesia.

In serious cases of numbness while sleeping that involve the face, it could be a sign of cardiovascular issues such as stroke or early cardiovascular disease. If numbness occurs frequently over a period of a few weeks without relief, individuals should see a medical professional to determine if an individual is at risk for heart disease. Carpel tunnel syndrome and circulatory disorders may also cause numbness. Medications for these issues are available for most individuals, which when taken should resolve any numbness or tingling sensations experienced during sleep or throughout the day.

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Discussion Comments
By anon357566 — On Dec 05, 2013

My arms go numb when I sleep in a fetal position so I've got to shift around. I notice though when I'm a bit heavier in my weight and don't exercise or use weights to tone the numbness happens more at night. I also suffer from numb hands when sewing or writing.

By anon355204 — On Nov 14, 2013

When I sleep on the back of my head, it goes numb and puts me to sleep.

By anon330674 — On Apr 18, 2013

When I sleep, my limbs go numb. It happens a lot. I am not terribly overweight, and I exercise hard a few times a week. My entire leg will go completely dead when I sleep. I don't have to be lying on it. I can be on my back and I wake up dead from the hip down. My arms and hands regularly and repeatedly go dead during sleep whether they are next to me outstretched or not. I wake up scared a lot from this, especially when it is my entire leg. I don't know what to do. I don't think the doctor will have any answers.

By anon325735 — On Mar 18, 2013

My right hand always seems to go numb in the early morning hours so I stand up and it goes away in a minute or two.

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