What if the arm only sleeps at night?
Irritations of the nerves that supply the arm can sometimes only happen at night. If the arm has been unfavourably positioned or has been lying on it for a long time at night, the arm may “fall asleep”. Since it is difficult to completely control and regulate the sleeping position at night, a temporary nocturnal nerve irritation can only be prevented to a limited extent. Sometimes, however, changes to the pillow and mattress are helpful. You can read more detailed information on this topic in the next article: Nocturnal Sleep of the Hand
These therapy options are available
The treatment depends on the cause. If it is only an occasional “falling asleep” of the arm without any disease value, no medical treatment is required. In these cases it should be well observed in which situations the tingling and numbness appear.
These situations should be analysed as well as possible and changes in behaviour, posture and/or movement should be made accordingly. – If the nerve disorders are caused by vitamin deficiency, a medically instructed substitution should be carried out. – If there is an orthopaedic problem, consultation and treatment by an orthopaedic specialist and a physiotherapist is recommended.
In some cases, surgical intervention is necessary. – If there is a neurological problem, such as multiple sclerosis, it is treated with or without medication, depending on its severity and symptoms. In drug therapy, on the one hand, the symptoms, such as pain, are treated and, on the other hand, drugs are used with the aim of delaying both the degradation process of the myelin sheath and the breakdown of the grey matter.
In addition, physiotherapy, speech therapy, ergotherapy and neuropsychotherapy are used with the aim of maintaining quality of life and autonomy. – If causative infections are present, they must be treated with suitable means, depending on the pathogen. – If diseases such as migraine with aura or diabetes mellitus have caused the disorders, adequate drug and non-drug treatment is required. This also includes advice and support for a possibly necessary lifestyle modification.
Length of the arm that has fallen asleep
The duration of the “fallen asleep” arm is tied to the cause. With harmless temporary irritations of the nerves, the condition of the “fallen asleep” arm usually lasts only a few minutes. If the symptoms are recurring and last longer than 30 minutes or are permanent, it is strongly recommended to contact a doctor.
If the cause is of orthopaedic or neurological nature and is not treated, the symptom will recur, persist and worsen in the long run or additional complaints may occur. If a causal vitamin deficiency is not corrected, the symptoms will most likely not improve or worsen. A causal untreated diabetes mellitus can lead to a metabolic derailment up to a diabetic coma, which is fatal if left untreated.