Finger Numbness at Night

Smita Pandit May 12, 2019
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Numbness, which is medically referred to as paresthesia, is the partial or total loss of sensation in the body. Provided here is some information on the common contributing factors for numbness in fingers at night.
Paresthesia, which is commonly called numbness, is not a disease in itself. However, it might be a symptom of medical conditions associated with nerve damage. In some cases, it might be caused due to poor blood circulation in a part of the body.
For instance, if you have been sitting in an awkward position that affects the blood supply, the part of the body to which the blood supply is restricted becomes numb. Changing the position helps in restoring the blood supply, which helps treat numbness. Numbness in fingers and toes is quite common.
While one might experience numbness in fingers while sleeping due to poor blood circulation, it could also be indicative of certain other medical conditions. Let's learn about the contributing factors for numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers at night and ways to tackle this problem.

Contributing Factors

Here are a variety of factors ranging from medical conditions to lifestyle-related issues, that could be responsible for causing numb fingers at night.

Repetitive Hand Movements

One of the common causes of finger numbness is excessive use of the hands. We use our hands throughout the day. Whether we are eating, typing, or holding objects, the muscles in the hands are always at work.
Such repeated finger movements can put undue pressure on the nerves and tire out the muscles. This can give rise to finger pain and numbness. Construction workers, carpenters, hairdressers, musicians, or those who indulge in playing sports such as golf, tennis, or rowing are quite susceptible to repetitive stress injuries.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the common contributing factors for numbness in fingers. Carpal tunnel is a small space in the wrist through which the median nerve and tendons pass. Not only does this median nerve facilitate the movement of the wrist, it is also responsible for the sensations felt around the wrist and fingers.
When the median nerve gets compressed, one experiences numbness in the index finger or numbness in hands or arms. This could be caused due to repetitive hand movements, wrist injuries, obesity, pregnancy, or conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, or rheumatoid arthritis.

Pinched Ulnar Nerve

Ulnar nerve runs behind the elbow on the inside of one's arm. Compression of this nerve can also be the reason why your fingers become numb while sleeping. This nerve is responsible for giving sensation to the little finger and a part of the ring finger. Sleeping with the elbow bent could lead to a compressed ulnar nerve.

Neuropathy

While nerve damage due to injuries could lead to finger numbness, certain medical conditions could also be responsible for nerve damage. Diabetic neuropathy is one such condition that causes numbness and tingling of extremities. It is a complication of diabetes.
When the blood sugar levels are very high, it can injure the nerve fibers. If it affects the nerves that give sensation to the fingers, one is likely to experience paresthesia in the fingers. Peripheral neuropathy could also be caused due to alcohol abuse.

Other Causes

As mentioned earlier, poor blood circulation is one of the most common causes of numbness. A reduced supply of oxygen to the extremities could be responsible for tingling sensation in fingers. A limited flow of oxygen-enriched blood to the hands could be caused due to various medical conditions.
Poor dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle could also cause poor blood circulation. At times, numbness might be caused due to extreme cold. Exposure to cold can cause the blood vessels in the hands to constrict. This leads to a reduced supply of blood, which in turn, causes finger numbness.
Constriction of blood vessels could also be caused due to Raynaud's syndrome. Thoracic outlet syndrome is another condition wherein the blood vessels or nerves around the thoracic outlet get compressed. This gives to pain and numbness in the fingers and arms. A vitamin deficiency or use of certain drugs could also cause paresthesia in fingers.

Treatment Options

Since paresthesia can be caused due to a wide range of reasons, the treatment will vary depending on its underlying cause. Poor blood circulation commonly causes numbness and tingling in hands, which is why one must try to improve blood circulation. This can be achieved by leading an active life. Following a healthy diet will also help. 
Those affected by carpal tunnel syndrome must try to rest their hands as much as possible. Repetitive strain can cause damage to tissues, muscles, or tendons, which is why one must take breaks. Using a wrist brace at night can help in healing the damaged muscles and tissues. Performing certain exercises can also help.
Numbness in hands or fingers could be attributed to one's sleeping posture. Sleeping with curled arms or bent elbows could lead to compressed nerves, so correct your sleeping posture.
If medical conditions such as diabetes, neuropathy, or peripheral vascular disease is responsible for causing finger numbness, then one must follow the doctor's advice regarding drugs or other treatment options.
If your fingers turn numb at night, it would be best to get yourself medically examined soon. Drug therapy combined with certain lifestyle-related changes will definitely help in treating this condition.
Disclaimer: The information provided is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.