Causes of Numbness in Arms and Legs at Night and What You Can Do to Prevent It

A person may feel numbness in their arms, legs, and feet due to sitting in a position that puts too much pressure on the nerves or reduces blood flow.


When limbs seem to fall asleep, it can feel as if they are going numb, or as if a person has pins and needles. The medical term for this feeling is paresthesia, and it refers to the “pins and needles, numbness, or crawling skin”. This experience can happen at any time, with little to no warning.


Often, this is due to the position the person is sleeping in, where they are lying directly on a nerve in the limb. The idea that this experience occurs because of cut off blood flow does not appear to account for it completely. We’ve heard many people say this happens when they lie on their back with their arms crossed over their chest, and especially if they are a side sleeper.


But beside these positional factors, there are several medical conditions which have paresthesia as a symptom, let’s talk about the most common:

1. Diabetes

People who are struggling with diabetes know that they are at risk for diabetic neuropathy. If your blood sugar levels are high, there are chances of possible damage to the blood vessels that circulate blood to peripheral parts of the body.

Shortage of oxygen in the blood can also lead to nerve damage that causes numbness. But this numbness is first experienced on the feet and then on the hands.

2. Sleeping in a bad posture

When you sleep in a bad posture or sleep resting on one arm for too long, it creates excess pressure on the arm. This pressure compresses the nerves in that area and causes numbness.

3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel syndrome is where you are doing a highly repetitive motion (typing is the most common) where you put too much pressure on a particular nerve (the median nerve), which runs through the wrist. This can cause pain or numbness in the arms and hands, and an early sign is this tingly feeling at night.

4. Toxins and medication

Medical treatment like chemotherapy or medicine used to treat conditions like heart ailments or blood pressure can result in peripheral neuropathy. Being exposed to toxins in insecticides or other toxins such as mercury, arsenic, and lead can damage nerve cells.

5. Deficiency of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 performs the function of nerve signal transmission in the body. People who are deficient in Vitamin B12 can develop anemia, and will often experience numbness in the arms and legs.

It may be worth a blood test or a trip to the supplement aisle in your health food store for sure.

6. Alcohol abuse

Consuming alcohol in excessive amounts can cause numbness in the hands. Alcohol adversely impacts the nervous system. Alcohol abuse for a long period of time can cause permanent damage to nerve cells. This damage can be halted by reducing alcohol intake or giving up on it entirely. Nutritional deficiencies created by alcohol can also lead to peripheral neuropathy.

7. Other diseases

Other health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and lupus can cause peripheral neuropathy.



Ways to treat numbness in hands and legs:


1. Address the underlying cause

Finding out the real reason behind numbness in hands is important to understand what kind of damage there has been to peripheral nerves. Functional loss caused by damage to peripheral nerves can be treated if the damage is not too severe.

2. Live a healthy lifestyle

Sedentary lifestyle and habits like smoking and drinking are some of the leading causes of a condition like peripheral neuropathy. Adopting a healthy lifestyle which involves regular exercising and eating healthy can help in reducing the effects of peripheral neuropathy.

Doing stretching and strengthening exercises like nerve and tendon gliding exercises can help in reducing pressure on the wrists.

3. Try changing your starting sleep position

If you notice there is a particular position (your side) when it happens, then try sleeping on the opposite side, or on your back.

Don’t sleep on your arms at night – wrap a towel around your elbow to prevent you from bending it while you sleep.

Avoid raising your arms above your head while sleeping; this could reduce blood circulation and cause numbness.

4. Change your mattress

There is no other mattress that provides the same kind of even pressure relief as memory foam.

Memory foam mattresses conform perfectly to the shape of your body, totally eliminating the possibility of blocking your pressure points.

Basically, foam mattresses are made of a material that softens in response to heat and pressure. A good quality foam mattress should distribute weight evenly and support the body where it needs it most.

WHISPER’s DNA core provides support throughout the mattress that not only keeps you comfortable but also keeps the body in proper alignment. This means that all the lumpy bits of your body can sink in instead of taking undue pressure. On top of that, the Quantum foam in the WHISPER mattress is hypersensitive like memory foam, minimizing the risk of pressure points being disturbed.

5. Capsaicin Cream

Capsaicin is responsible for the hotness in peppers. The substance is believed to ease down the pain messages sent to your brain. Using a capsaicin cream can help in dealing with numbness in hand and feet. Use the cream cautiously because it may cause irritation and burning initially

6. Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels

Diabetics should regularly monitor their blood sugar levels to avoid numbness in hands and feet. Consuming foods like extracts of jamun, garlic, and fenugreek can help in controlling diabetes.

7. Alternative tips

Apply sesame oil on the wrist at least 3 times a week. Also, soaking hands and wrist in hot water every night before sleeping can help in relaxing muscles and relieving pain.

Applying a mixture of turmeric and honey on sore points can help in dealing with numbness in hands as well. Adding ginger to your diet can help in easing out pain because of ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties.


Ultimately, nothing replaces a visit to your doctor so please take any advice found online with a grain of salt and visit your physician should the symptoms persevere or worsen.

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