I can’t count the number of times I have woken up in the night with an intense sensation of numbness in my hands and wrist, that steadily develops into painful pins and needles. It’s only after the whole ordeal has subsided that I can turn around and go back to sleep.
As it turns out, this numbness can also be a sign of Carpal Tunnel syndrome, which can put a lot of pressure on the nerves in your wrist and hands and steadily become a more serious condition if untreated. It can be caused by excessive motion of the hands, like constant writing or typing at a laptop. It can also occur as a result of existing conditions like obesity, diabetes and even pregnancy, which tend to put pressure on nerves.
The good news is there are ways to taking care of your hands, and consequently yourself, before Carpal Tunnel Syndrome arises. These tips should help you to avoid that late-night run with hand numbness.
1. Keep Stretching
The best way to keep your wrists and hands healthy is with regular movement. Keep stretching your fingers and rotating your wrists. This keeps all the muscles and tendons surrounding the bones in your hands stay loose and agile. It also helps to avoid build-up of pressure on those nerves.
2. Don’t Sleep on your Hands
An extremely bad habit that many of us pick up is using our hands as pillows, even when we have four pillows on the bed with us. Maybe its just something about the way it cradles my head so perfectly. However, this is actually a major cause of the numbness, and can put pressure on your wrists, making them weak. Make sure to try alternate sleeping positions that don’t put pressure on your hands.
3. Turn the Computer Off
If you have a job that makes you sit at a computer all day, or if you, like me, just have a tendency to get hooked onto the inflow of information that the internet provides, give yourself designated no-computer times. This can help you to avoid putting excessive amounts of pressure on your wrists.
4. Keep your wrists straight
If you absolutely must spend endless hours in front of a computer, it’s advisable to keep your wrist and hands straight while you type or use the mouse. Overextending your wrists, or bending them downwards, so you can rest them on the system or the desk, can be a major risk factor for Carpal Tunnel syndrome, according to a study published in the journal for Safety and Health at Work.
5. Try out a Wrist Splint
Consider this as the last of the last resorts. If you’ve been suffering from this numbness consistently every night for an extended period of time, after making all efforts not to sleep on your hands, doing stretches and keeping your hands straight, it might be time to try a medical solution. The most viable one is a wrist splint, which is available over the counter in most pharmacies. These are especially helpful for keeping your hands healthy while doing aggressively hand-based activities like writing, typing and even some sports.