Do you wake to fingers tingling? Numbness in hands while sleeping? If so, that’s a scary feeling—on many levels. Could it be your computer’s fault? Let’s explore …
What’s Behind the Reaction?
First of all, it’s frightening to wake up and find no feeling in your hands. Or, maybe there’s tingling, like pins and needles. Understandably, you want to know what’s going on.
Generally, the numb feeling is caused by irritation to nerves. This can be one particular nerve. Or, it could be a branch of one of the nerves in your wrist, arm, or neck. In essence, something is causing compression to the nerve.
Most noteworthy, nerves have their own blood supply. Hence, when pressure is placed on the nerve it cuts off blood flow. Besides, the nerve will shut down when it becomes depleted of nutrients and oxygen. That’s why this is so scary!
Due to pressure on the nerve, you’re experiencing numbness in hands while sleeping. While the tingling goes away quickly, that’s a good thing. Consequently, however, if this happens often, it’s not good. Each time it happens, it weakens the nerve. Eventually, continued compression will cause serious nerve damage.
Reasons for Numbness in Hands
The Mayo Clinic provides a list of possible reasons for numbness in hands while sleeping. Here are some explanations:
– Carpal tunnel syndrome
– Cervical stenosis
– Guillian-Barre syndrome
– Lyme disease
– Raynaud’s disease
– Type-2 diabetes
While the full list is thorough, we’d like to hone in on a couple of specifics. Especially relevant are carpal tunnel and a pinched nerve in the neck. Most significantly, both of those conditions can be caused by loads of computer use.
Is Working on My Computer a Culprit?
First of all, many of us are aware of carpal tunnel syndrome. Probably, however, many don’t understand what creates it. Much as discussed earlier, it’s a compressed nerve. There’s a tunnel where nerves travel from arm, to wrist, to hand.
Usually, it’s the main nerve of the hand that gets pinched inside that tunnel. In addition, inflammation occurs. Because the tunnel is even more narrowed, it places more pressure on the nerve.
How does the nerve get pinched?
In most cases, the cause is repetitive motion. Typing, wrist action, over and over.
Secondly, if you’re on the computer a lot, you’re probably hunched forward a lot. If you don’t mind your posture, chances are you’re creating damage. Nerve compression can occur as the shoulder and head come forward.
A pinched nerve in your shoulder or neck could very well cause numbness in hands while sleeping. This is common for those of us daily computer users.
How Do I Relieve Numbness in Hands While Sleeping?
If you believe the cause is from heavy computer use, there are simple solutions.
1) Use an ergonomic keyboard for your computer. Keeps wrists in a neutral position. You don’t want them moving up and down.
2) Avoid bending your wrists when sleeping. A simple wrist splint can be worn.
3) Keep your elbow straight at night. You can wrap a towel around it and secure with first-aid tape.
4) Be mindful of your posture when on the computer. Straighten your back. Don’t hunch your shoulders over.
5) Wear a cervical collar at night.
If your numbness in hands while sleeping continues, you may want to visit a doctor. Probably you’ll want to get this checked out. You don’t want other problems cropping up.
Without treatment, nerve compression can cause nerve damage. In addition, recent research shows damaged nerves may “leak.” As a result, they may end up putting arthritis-causing toxins in the nearby joints. Regardless, you probably want to put an end to the tingling anyway.
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