Waking Up with Numb Hands: Causes and Treatment

Waking Up with Numb Hands Causes and Treatment

Waking up with numb fingers could be a result of various conditions that range from mere sleeping in the wrong position to an underlying medical issue. The diagnosis usually involves tests conducted by the doctor. 

If you wake up with numb fingers every morning, this article is meant just for you. Read till the end to discover the causes, diagnosis, and treatment methods for the times when you wake up with numb fingers.

What Causes You to Waking Up with Numb Hands?

Numbness in the fingers means there is compression or lack of signals in the nerves controlling finger movement. Here are the possible causes- 

1. Poor Sleeping Posture

Poor sleeping posture

There are three major nerves that control finger movements- the ulnar, median and radial nerves (1).  If any of these nerves is compressed due to poor sleeping position for instance, if the hand is under the head for a long time while sleeping, it may cause temporary pressure on the nerves that can lead to numbness in the fingers. 

However, this issue can be easily resolved by changing the sleeping position to relieve the pressure.

2. Neurological Conditions

Conditions like multiple sclerosis can lead to arms and hand pain and numbness. Such neurological conditions may cause numbness in the fingers while waking up.

3. Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

A person suffering from Vitamin B-12 deficiency may feel numbness in the fingers and feet (2). It can be caused by several factors like family history or old age. People suffering from autoimmune diseases might also have Vitamin B-12 deficiency that could result in finger numbness.

4. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome may also cause numbness in the fingers (3). It occurs when the median nerve compresses, generally due to inflammation from overuse. 

It leads to tingling sensations, pain, and decrease in the ability of the hand to function. People who spend a lot of time typing on a keyboard, or maintaining a cash register and have repetitive movements may develop such this syndrome.

5. Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body cannot use insulin properly. It results in high blood sugar levels that may lead to other complications like nerve issues that may eventually result in numb fingers while waking up.

6. Pinched Nerve

Inflammations or trauma in fingers causes the tissues to put pressure on the finger nerve. Such nerves may send faulty signals that cause symptoms like weakness, pain or numbness in the muscles of the affected area resulting in numb fingers.

7. Peripheral Neuropathy

The peripheral system is responsible for sending signals between the central nervous system and rest body. Peripheral neuropathy may cause painful sensations of numbness in the fingers (4). 

Nerve tests like electromyography and nerve conduction studies may help to identify faulty nerve signals to treat accordingly. 

8. Alcohol Use Disorder

Some people might suffer from nerve damage due to excessive use of alcohol. Nutrient deficiency due to a poor diet along with alcohol overuse may result in pain, numbness, or tingling in the fingers.

9. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)

Nerve compressions, irritations or injury in neck, shoulder, arms may also lead to fingers numbness (5).  In such cases, the blood vessels compress, restricting the flow of blood and leading to fingers numbness.

10. Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis, commonly called arthritis in the neck, occurs when spine discs wear down. This usually occurs due to trauma, age and general wear and tear. 

Spondylosis leads to reduction in the space between neck vertebrae that may affect hands and show symptoms such as numbness in the fingers.

11. Chemotherapy and Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral nerves may damage due to peripheral neuropathy and chemotherapy. Certain medications like antibiotics may also cause numbness in fingers and feet.

Some other diseases that may result in hand numbness are:

  • Lupus
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Ganglion cyst
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Syphilis

When to See a Doctor?

If you wake up with numb fingers and notice other symptoms like sudden loss of grip, weakness in muscles, issues in paying attention, or speaking, consult a doctor immediately. Sometimes, this could be a result of heart ailment and urgent care may be required. 

Diagnosis and Treatment 

If you suffer from numb fingers in the morning, you may try to shake, flex or massage the hands. If it helps in removing the fingers numbness then it simply was due to the wrong sleeping position. 

However, if it doesn’t help, you may seek medical advice. The doctor may prescribe tests like X-rays, CT scan or MRI to check nerves function. Seeking a neurologist may also be beneficial in such conditions. 

Exercises like stretching may be advantageous to treat carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis. Other exercises that strengthen the muscles and relieve joint pressure may also be beneficial in such conditions. 

Topical medicines like menthol, benzocaine etc may also reduce pain and numbness in fingers numbness. Wearing wrist guards to protect the wrist also reduces fingers numbness especially by wearing them during sleep.

Treatment of finger numbness depends on the underlying cause, severity of the ailment and symptoms.  The doctor may advise hot and cold therapy, losing weight, wearing a splint, steroid injections or over-the-counter medications and pain relievers.


Waking up with numb fingers can be due to various factors that can vary from a wrong sleeping position to a complex heart disease. The treatment depends on identifying the disease and treating accordingly. 

However, with a few good practices like good sleeping posture, stretching muscles every now and then, taking short breaks between the activities and using ergonomic devices may help to avoid fingers numbness. 

Image Source : freepik

Related Articles

Was this article helpful?