What Could Be Causing My Hands to Fall Asleep at Night?

Caregiverinsunnyvale asked...

Every night when I sleep, I get woken up about every 15 minutes by my hands tingling with that "pins and needles" feeling that happens when your hands fall asleep. It's painful, and sometimes it's so bad that I can't move my fingers. I have to shake my hand out until the feeling starts to come back. I sleep on my side, but there doesn't seem to be a pattern about whether it's the top hand or the bottom hand that falls asleep. Sometimes it is both. What could be causing this?

Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

I agree with CaringKrys' answer, that it could be carpal tunnel syndrome. Many people who sleep on their sides will bend their wrists into their chest or under their chin, which irritates the nerves that cause carpal tunnel pain. However, you need to contact your health care provider, so that they can check you out to be sure. I would do this soon, since the pain is really disrupting your sleep. In the meantime, you can try using an extra pillow to hug into your chest when you sleep on your side at night to see if this prevents you from bending your wrists.
Good luck!