Waking up with a tingling or numbness in your arm can be a little alarming, especially if you haven't noticed it before. While it can be caused by underlying health conditions, it may be nothing more than your sleeping position. Being aware of the different reasons behind why your arms go numb while sleeping can help you determine if it's harmless or something you should be talk to your doctor about.
"There may be an assortment of reasons why an arm may go numb during sleep, some benign, while others are more concerning," Keiland Cooper, neuroscientist at the University of California Irvine, tells Bustle. "The general case of this is called paresthesia, more commonly referred to and experienced by the 'pins and needle' in a hand, foot, arm, or leg."
This is what usually happens when there's prolonged pressure on a nerve. When you're sleeping, the way your body is positioned can inhibit yours nerves from doing what they're supposed to do, which is to send signals throughout your body. When it's not working right, it can lead to numbness.
While it's usually harmless, chronic paresthesia may indicate a bigger problem. "In any case, it never hurts to bring it up to your doctor so they can take your specific circumstances into consideration," Cooper says.
So here are some surprising reasons why your arms go numb while sleeping, according to experts.