There are many different causes of hands falling asleep, and most of them are the result of some type of nerve damage. Those with carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetes commonly have problems with tingling and numbness in fingers and hands, and in both cases, nerve damage is the probable cause. Hands falling asleep can also be associated with panic disorders and poor blood circulation.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that sometimes develops due to overuse of the wrist. The median nerve is a nerve that travels down the upper arm and into the hand. The nerve can eventually become injured with repetitive wrist movement, which can cause tingling and numbness in the hand. Sometimes people with carpal tunnel syndrome are unable to make a fist or hold onto small objects. Hand exercises can help restore nerve function, but in many cases, surgery is necessary to improve the condition.
Many people with diabetes may have problems with their hands falling asleep. The exact reason why this condition is associated with diabetes is unknown, but research seems to indicate it could be caused by nerve damage resulting from prolonged exposure to high glucose levels in the blood. Another theory is that hands falling asleep in people who suffer diabetes could be the result of damage to blood vessels, which sometimes leads to lowered levels of oxygen in the bloodstream.
Poor circulation can often cause numbness and tingling in different parts of the body, including the hands. Poor blood circulation can be caused by buildup of plaque in the arteries, which causes narrowing that makes it impossible for blood vessels to carry the necessary amounts of blood to different parts of the body. When blood flow is cut off or restricted, numbness and tingling can result. In some cases, numbness can be the temporary result of holding the arm or hand in one position for an extended period. Most of the time, movement of the arm or hand can restore circulation.
Many people who suffer from panic attacks report tingling in the areas of their faces and hands just prior to having an attack. This is believed to be a part of the body’s reaction to the “fight or flight” response when people are experiencing periods of extreme anxiety. This anxiety response can cause changes in blood oxygen levels and circulation that could in some cases lead to tingling and numbness in the extremities.