Falling asleep of hands - causes and countermeasures

Falling asleep of hands - causes and countermeasures

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Almost everyone knows the feeling when limbs fall asleep. Falling asleep in the hands is often an expression of pinched nerve tracts or an undersupply of the nerves due to a pinching off of the vessels. In the following we describe possible causes. Rarely is a disease hidden behind the hands that have fallen asleep.

Symptoms and discomfort

The nerves pass numerous narrow points on the way between the hand and the brain, at which the nerve tracts could possibly be disconnected. The nerve fibers then send a signal to the brain, which we perceive as tingling. This is to draw our attention to the fact that the signal transmission of the nerve is impaired and that the disconnection - for example by changing the posture - must be remedied as quickly as possible.

Falling asleep in the hands is also described as a tingling sensation or numbness of the fingers, which occurs primarily in certain postures. For example, the feeling disorders of the hands often manifest themselves as so-called sleep paralysis during the night's sleep. The unfavorable position of the arms when lying down clamps the nerve pathways and causes the unpleasant tingling sensation.

This form of fallen asleep hands is also known in the medical community as park bench paralysis (neurapraxia). It is considered to be a harmless form of nerve injury, but can certainly be a significant burden in everyday life. Especially since those affected are often torn out of sleep at night by tingling in their hands and therefore increasingly suffer from lack of sleep and chronic fatigue.

Why do hands fall asleep?

The falling asleep of the hands is by no means only observed when lying down. Unfavorable postures and repetitive monotonous movements in everyday life, such as when working on the computer, can also cause the symptoms to occur.

It is not without reason that the so-called repetitive strain injection syndrome (RSI syndrome) is also known as the mouse arm. The incorrect loads lead to narrowing of the nerve pathways, which then manifests itself in repeated falling asleep of the hands. If the nerve clamps are not removed, the complaints increasingly occur in everyday situations such as driving a car or making a phone call.

Numbness caused by ulnar gutter syndrome

In ulnar gutter syndrome, the ulnar nerve experiences pressure damage to the elbow, which can also cause tingling and numbness in the hands or fingers. A frequently bent elbow and regular support of the elbow are mentioned here as typical risk factors.

Loge-de-Guyon syndrome

Damage to the ulnar nerve in the course of a so-called Loge-de-Guyon syndrome leads to similar complaints. The nerve is pinched in the Loge de Guyon constriction at the wrist, for example by an over leg or a long kinking of the wrists while cycling.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be the trigger for the falling asleep hands. This is also due to a narrowing of the nerve pathways. The median nerve is pinched in the carpal tunnel, which causes the hands to fall asleep, among other things. As the disease progresses, the nerve fibers become increasingly damaged, the muscles supplied by the nerve begin to shrink and it is increasingly difficult to access them powerfully. Due to the damage to the nerve fibers, the pain in the course of carpal tunnel syndrome can certainly subside.

Other causes of falling asleep hands

Nervous system disorders that do not result from narrowing or pinching of the nerves, such as polyneuropathy, can also cause tingling and numbness in the hands. However, such nerve diseases are relatively rare. They benefit from chronic metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, but also from alcohol abuse.

In addition to the sensations that are caused by pinched or diseased nerves, it is also possible for the hands to fall asleep due to circulatory disorders. The insufficient blood circulation in the hands is often due to diseases of the cardiovascular system, such as arterial calcification.


As with any diagnosis, a thorough medical history should be taken at the beginning, in which the patient is asked about the symptoms, their occurrence and existing medical conditions. On the basis of the symptoms described, the treating physicians usually already get the first clues as to the cause of the symptoms.

The palpation of the shoulder, arm and hand offers further clues for diagnosis. A blood test can also make a significant contribution to the diagnosis. If a nerve is suspected or is clamped down, a measurement of the nerve conduction speed (electroneurography) and possibly taking a tissue sample can be used to confirm the diagnosis. In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, however, an ultrasound examination is often sufficient to confirm the diagnosis.

Experienced therapists can often use the description of the symptoms, a visual inspection and the scanning of the patients to determine relatively reliably whether a carpal tunnel syndrome, an ulnar gland syndrome, a neurapraxia, a mouse arm, a pinched nerve or other nerve diseases are the triggers of the symptoms.

If cardiovascular diseases are the basis for falling asleep in the hands, this can often only be clearly determined using imaging methods, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer tomography.


While some triggers of fallen asleep hands, such as neurapraxia, usually heal without therapeutic measures, others threaten to transition to a chronic stage and in the worst case require surgery.

In the case of diseases such as carpal tunnel or ulnar gutter syndrome, immobilization by rail is often initially provided. In addition, anti-inflammatory drugs are often used in conventional medicine. If symptoms continue to increase, surgery may be the last option.

Naturopathy when hands fall asleep

In the course of the treatment of the various underlying diseases, natural healing methods such as acupuncture, massages or physiotherapy can be used. The same applies to osteopathy, which is intended to alleviate symptoms by releasing existing blockages.

According to the holistic approach of naturopathy, other ailments, such as chest pain, neck tension, upper arm pain and back pain, are associated with the falling asleep hands and their treatment is integrated accordingly in the therapy.

Treatment and prevention of complaints caused by incorrect loading

Whether typing, clicking the mouse or pressing piano keys: there are many areas and professions in which people perform the same monotonous movements every day. Due to the one-sided loading, incorrect loading quickly occurs and consequently typical mouse arm symptoms such as tingling, falling asleep in the hands, finger pain and weakness.

The most common trigger for the so-called RSI syndrome (Repetitive Strain Injury Syndrome, English for: "Injury due to repeated stress") is an unfavorably equipped workplace and the use of the wrong keyboard and mouse. Accordingly, in order to treat or prevent complaints from incorrect loads, it is essential to provide an ergonomic workplace. In addition to a corresponding chair (or sitting ball or knee chair) and desk (or standing desk), this also applies to tools such as mice, pens, mouse pads, etc.

It is also important to ensure the right indoor climate and sufficient fresh air at the workplace and to avoid drafts. Who often e.g. typing and talking on the phone at the same time should definitely use a headset to relieve the head and avoid permanent malposition. (fp, nr)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Marcus Schiltenwolf, Peter Henningsen: Musculoskeletal Pain: Diagnosis and Treatment According to a Biopsychosocial Concept, Deutscher Ă„rzteverlag, 2006
  • Carl D. Reimers, Walter Paulus, Bernhard J. Steinhoff: Patient Information Neurology - Recommendations for Doctors, Springer, 2017
  • Eschle: "Fell asleep hands", in: Praxis, Volume 101, 2012, Hogrefe
  • Hans Assmus, Gregor Antoniadis: Nerve compression syndromes, Springer, 2011
  • "MR neurography for the localization of lesions in the peripheral nervous system", in: Der Nervenarzt, Volume 85 Issue 2, 2014, Springer Link
  • Hans Assmus: The Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: An overview for doctors in all specialties, Springer, 2014

Video: Why do hands and legs fall asleep? Numbness in Limbs. Hindi. Priyank Singhvi (October 2022).