Many people experience numbness or tingling in their arms when they sleep, which can be uncomfortable and disruptive to their sleep. This sensation is commonly known as “sleeping arm” or “dead arm” and can have various causes. In this article, we will explore the reasons why arms can get numb when we sleep and what can be done to prevent it.
Causes of Numbness in Arms When Sleeping
There are several reasons why arms can get numb when we sleep. Below are some of the most common causes:
Position of the Arms
One of the most common causes of numbness in the arms during sleep is due to the position in which the arms are held. When sleeping on the side, pressure can be applied to the arm, compressing nerves and blood vessels that run through it. This can cause the arm to become numb or tingly. Similarly, sleeping with the arm above the head or under the body can also cause numbness in the arm.
Nerve compression can also cause numbness in the arms when sleeping. The ulnar nerve, which runs from the neck to the hand, can become compressed or pinched when the arm is bent at the elbow or pressure is applied to it. This can lead to numbness or tingling in the arm, hand, or fingers.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when the median nerve in the wrist is compressed, leading to numbness and tingling in the fingers and hand. This condition can be aggravated by sleeping with the wrist in a bent position, which can cause compression of the nerve.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Thoracic outlet syndrome occurs when nerves or blood vessels in the neck and shoulder are compressed, leading to numbness and tingling in the arm. Sleeping with the arm above the head or under the body can exacerbate this condition, leading to numbness in the arm.
Treatment and Prevention of Numbness in Arms When Sleeping
There are several things that can be done to prevent and treat numbness in the arms when sleeping. Below are some of the most effective methods:
Adjust Sleep Position
Adjusting sleep position can help prevent numbness in the arms. Sleeping on the back or alternating sides can reduce pressure on the arms, preventing compression of nerves and blood vessels.
Stretching and Massage
Stretching and massage can help alleviate numbness in the arms. Gently stretching the arms before bed and using a massage roller on the affected area can help increase blood flow and reduce compression of nerves.
Ergonomic Sleeping Equipment
Ergonomic sleeping equipment, such as a supportive pillow or an adjustable mattress, can help prevent numbness in the arms. These items can help keep the body in proper alignment, reducing pressure on the arms and preventing nerve compression.
If numbness in the arms is persistent or severe, medical treatment may be necessary. A doctor may recommend physical therapy, medication, or even surgery in severe cases.
Numbness in the arms during sleep is a common condition that can be caused by several factors. Adjusting sleep position, stretching and massage, ergonomic sleeping equipment, and medical treatment can all be effective in preventing and treating this condition. If you are experiencing persistent numbness in the arms, it is important to consult with a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.