It all happened during my university days. I slept off with my arms on the table, and my head resting on them after reading for hours. And boom, my hands fell asleep, just like that.
I was petrified. My hands were like an octopus’ soft limbs. I could barely even move or use my hands for some seconds or so.
The truth is, we have all experienced this hand numbness thing once in our lifetime, and it’s quite scary, especially when just woke up with sleepy eyes.
It would also be fun to make the hand fall asleep for some moment. Don’t you think so? Now, let’s discuss hand numbness. How you can make it happen.
How do you make your hand fall asleep?
From experience, an easy way to make your hand or arm fall asleep for a while is to apply pressure to your hand or arm.
Leave your arms in one position and rest your head or something else on it. Keep in mind that sleeping while placing your arms above your head can cause them to fall asleep. Circulation would be cut off, leading to numbness.
However, pressing a nerve on your hands, leg, or other parts of your body is not the only thing that can cause numbness. An underlying health issue could be responsible.
So that’s how you can make your hand go to sleep anytime. But keep reading because we have more in store for you.
What Makes The Hand Fall Asleep?
Two things could be responsible. It’s either you had your hand positioned wrongly and applied pressure on a nerve, or there’s an underlying health issue.
It takes 15 to 30 minutes for the hand to get numb or get to sleep when you apply pressure on a nerve. But once you reposition it, the numbness goes away in a few seconds.
However, if the numbness is due to the above reasons, then there’s no cause for alarm. Everybody experiences numbness at some point. Even the healthiest person on the planet can, though there’s no such thing.
The second cause of numbness of the hand, feet, or leg is health-related issue. It could be a symptom of a severe health problem.
Do This If Your Hand Fall Asleep Unexplained
Typically, compressing a nerve, such as ulnar, median, and radial nerve, could make the hand fall asleep. But it would be best if you didn’t attribute all numbness experienced to nerve compression. Other things could be responsible.
Consider visiting your doctor if you experience the following:
- Numbness for almost the entire day.
- Numbness on the two hands or certain parts of your hand.
- Numbness of other areas of your body such as the neck, back, or shoulder.
- Weak reflexes in your legs or arms.
- Pains in your arms or legs.
Sudden numbness requires urgent medical attention, particularly when none of the nerves was compressed. It could be an indication of stroke, which everyone knows is a severe health problem.
So, if you’re experiencing sudden numbness together with the following symptoms, don’t hesitate to visit your healthcare provider please:
- Severe headache
- Losing your balance
- Trouble speaking
- Unexplained dizziness or weakness
Nerves That Can Make Your Hand Fall Asleep
The best way to make your hands fall asleep is to target the nerve. It could be the ulnar, median, or radial nerve.
Each of these nerves can cause numbness in the part of the hand they control. Let’s go a little deeper to explain how each nerve cause certain parts of one’s hand to go numb.
The ulnar nerve:
What can we do without the nerves? We can’t do absolutely anything without them. Nerves not only form part of the nervous system. They also control and coordinate other aspects of the body, send, receive, and process messages.
Your hand boasts three different types of nerves. One of them is called the “Ulnar nerve.” This nerve’s responsibility is to make your forearm muscles, used for gripping things, function correctly.
So, the ulnar nerve is in charge of controlling the forearm muscles. Additionally, this nerve also gives sensation to the pinky, including half of the ring finger standing next to the pinky.
Additionally, this nerve causes you to feel pain, shock, or numbness when you unknowingly bump the inside of your elbow.
How can the ulnar nerve cause numbness? This is simple. Apply pressure on your wrist or elbow, and that’s it. A simple way to achieve this is by allowing your hands or arms to curl inward while sleeping.
This is where the numbness resulting from the compression of the ulnar occurs:
- Pinky finger
- Pinky side of the ring finger
- Side of the hand under the above finger
- Side of the palm under the above finger
A Handy Tip: Numbness due to the ulnar may disappear after a couple of minutes. But keep in mind that compressing your ulnar nerve often can result in cubital tunnel syndrome.
The median nerve:
There’s a good reason the median nerve is referred to as the “laborer’s nerve.” It’s the major nerve on one’s forearm and supplies the muscle there too.
This nerve also supplies the thenar eminence’s muscles and controls the hand’s coarse movements. It controls the middle and index fingers’ sensation and muscles.
The median nerve also controls your palm side’s thumb and middle finger (ring finger side’s) sensations and muscles.
The wrist and elbow are two places the median nerve compression occurs. So when you curl your hand in a wrong or fetal position, numbness could hit you in the following places.
- Thumb’s base (the palm side)
- Middle and index finger (palm side)
A Handy Tip: Avoid sleeping positions that can lead to compression of your elbow and wrist. Prolonged compression can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, which results in pain, tingling, and numbness.
The radial nerve:
The radial nerve supplies the upper limb’s posterior portion. It runs down one’s arm underside and responsible for the muscle and triceps movement located at the back of one’s upper arm.
So this nerve helps in controlling the muscle responsible for extending one’s fingers and wrist. Radial nerve is in charge of the sensations and muscles in the back of one’s thumb and hand.
How can you cause hand numbness via the radial nerve? This happens when you apply pressure along your forearm or above your wrist.
So, if you fall asleep while resting on your wrist or arm, you could experience numbness in these areas:
- Thumb (backside)
- Index finger
- Thumb and index finger (webbing between them)
A Handy Tip: Be careful of how you pressure your radial nerve. Consistent pressure on this nerve can cause radial tunnel syndrome, a condition that could be extremely painful and discomforting.
How To Prevent Your Hand From Falling Asleep
Most people consciously make their hands fall asleep. They enjoy doing it. But one thing we must know is that our nerves are very delicate. And they’re not what one should be toying with.
Nerve compression causes numbness. Now imagine what would happen if that same nerve gets damaged.
So, prevent your hand from falling asleep as much as you can. Here are the steps to achieve that.
Avoid keeping your arms and elbows in fatal positions while sleeping:
Your sleeping position is the number one culprit when it comes to hand numbness. So avoid sleeping in awkward positions. Avoid bending your elbows and arms when sleeping.
Whenever you feel tired while reading; don’t rest your head on your wrist or arm and doze off. Locate your bed and sleep there.
It would be best if you also tucked your blanket tightly on both sides of your bed to prevent you from rolling into awkward positions.
Don’t position your hands under your body while sleeping:
Many stomach sleepers make the mistake of placing their arms under their body while sleeping. This is so wrong and it could lead to numbness.
If you’re a stomach sleeper, always keep your arms by your side while sleeping. Avoid placing them under your body. Remember that the cause of numbness is compression on a nerve.
Stopping placing your hands above your head while sleeping:
Even while sleeping, every part of your body receives some supplies. And if you want that to continue, don’t place your arms above your head while sleeping. Circulation gets cut off when you position your hands this way.
Avoid placing your arms under the pillow while sleeping:
Even if you have plans to sleep for few minutes, it doesn’t matter. Just don’t place your arms under your pillow while sleeping.
Don’t say your head won’t compress your nerve since you’re resting on a pillow. It can pressure your never, leading to numbness.
A Handy Tip: If you have problems preventing your arms and elbows from remaining by your side while sleeping, try wearing an immobilizing brace. The brace will keep your arms and elbow from moving around. You would sleep and wake up without feeling numb or disturbing any nerve.
This post explains how to make your hand fall asleep, including other things you should know about numbness. The easiest way to make your hand fall asleep is by compressing or putting pressure on a nerve. It could be ulnar, median, or radial nerve.
You can achieve this by resting your head on your arms while sleeping or positioning your wrists and elbow awkwardly. But make sure you don’t pressure your nerves often. You don’t want to damaged a nerve.