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Arm circulation...





rainmaker
Hello Everyone!

I have a question pertaining to my sleeping position. Every now and then for several months now I've been waking up in the middle of the night with my arm completely limp from sleeping on it. This is rather frightening, because I don't know how long it's been without circulation in these cases. It also takes me awhile to restore the circulation in this limb. I've tried to refrain from sleeping in these positions, but it seems that my body just seems to adjust to them while I'm asleep.

First of all, is this really a problem? If it is, what can I do to fix it?

I know this is somewhat of an odd topic, but I've already searched the Internet and haven't really found anything pertaining to this problem. If anybody has any suggestions, I (along with my arm) would appreciate them very much. Thanks!

--rainmaker
gtherockgod
That is kind of a weird situation. I'd recommend talking to your doctor- maybe they'd be able to set you up with some sort of sleeping brace to keep you out of that position.

I know Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) slept like that just once and ended up doing some major nerve damage, they said he'd be lucky to get 60% of his arm mobility back. I'd get it checked out before you run into a similar situation.
benjmd
Decreased circulation = painful.

Most likely you are waking up because of the progression to numbness, so it's not likely that your arm has been without blood for hours. (It can only go without blood for a few minutes or so before tissue will start to necrose!).

In some positions, pressure on vessels can decrease blood flow and cause that numbness you speak of.

However, another concern is that the angle of your neck or pressure at another point is causing nerve impingement that produces the numbness.

As the other respondant said, you should go see a doctor to have him/her evaluate your symptoms. Pay attention to your position, the color/warmth of your arm/hand/fingers when this happens, and exactly where you do and do not have sensation. Remember, numbness can be that weird tingly feeling when you cut off circulation or it can be an actual inability to sense touch when nerves are damaged.
ibay
I also get the same arm problem, but not by sleeping over it, but by keeping it at a higher position than the rest of the body, like keeping it on the forehead while sleeping. I lose the feeling of that arm and I cannot move it, its like completely dead. Then I pick it up with other hand and place it at a lower position than my body, then I feel the rush of blood and a feeling of extreme weakness in the affected arm. It takes a minute or two before I am able to move my affected arm.
I would also mention here that I have a 'Cold Hands' syndrome, also called ERD(Early Raynaud's Disease). That may be the cause of this problem. But Im still not sure.
Your problem looks like a circulatory problem. I'll advise you too seek medical help even if it's not bothering you much.
DocWonton
could the bed be uncomfortable? o.o. perhaps a better mattress could work. or you could see if when u were young, you slept in that position. could just be a habit that needs to change quickly.
ibay
I don't think quality of bed or mattress has anything to do with this problem.
Sleeping position could be a probability other than a medical problem.
Captain Fertile
Perhaps laying on your front with your arms hugging the pillow in front of your face will help?

It is very comfortable and relaxing in that position and starting off in this position as you drift off to sleep may prevent you laying on your arm as long during the night.
Drawingguy
Yeah, I really never understood why sometimes sleeping on my side would be painful. Not a lack of blood flow- type painful, but a pain that came from just resting my weight on one arm- type painful. In the end, I found that sleeping on my back really fixed things up.
rainmaker
The problem with the said habit, though, is that it is tough to break if one shifts positions throughout the night. Very Happy
melissareich
I understand what you're saying. It has happened to me before and I do consider it a problem. Not too serious though, I think it happens to a lot of people. It happens to me when I sleep on my side. I also can not sleep with my hand behind my head, because that's what happens.

Maybe try sleeping a different way, see if that works.
rainmaker
I actually saw a specialized pillow online somewhere for people who sleep with their arm outstretched underneath the pillow. It had a special conduit through it so that the arm could go under the pillow without having the circulation disrupted. I'm not sure where I saw this, though. Razz

--rainmaker
riv_
Maybe a weird question, but; how's your back?
If your back or shoulder are out of alignment, it could be compressing a nerve or a blood vessel.
rainmaker
That's a good question. My back doesn't really bother me, but I do work on computers a lot, which has led to issues with my neck. Razz Maybe this could be part of the problem?

--rainmaker
driftingfe3s
This has happend to me a few times. Its no big deal, if circulation stops becuase you are sleeping on your arm, you will wake up before any damage is done. Just move the arm when you wake up to a better position and once circulation is restored just go back to sleep.
silvermesh
most people aren't capable of sleeping through the amount of pain you would have to go through before any serious damage was done.

So long as you don't do a lot of drugs or drink yourself blind on a regular basis, I wouldn't worry about it. If you're that concerned, consider a sleep study or something that might give you insight on how you might go about changing your sleeptime activity.
rainmaker
Just as an update, it doesn't seem like this problem is happening as frequently anymore. I think the problem was my mattress at college. Since I've left college for the summer, I've noticed that my arm does not go to sleep in the middle of the night. Amazing what just a mattress can do.

--rainmaker
rainmaker
Yes, I'm almost positive this is a mattress-specific problem. Now that I'm back in college and have the same room and same bed, the problem is starting all over again. I guess this should serve as an example for others have this issue. It may be the mattress in your case, too. As of right now, I'm not sure how to approach the problem. All the stuff that comes with the room is visibly old and worn, so I don't think the college can really afford to go with new mattresses. I guess I'll just have to tough it out for now. I just hope that no lasting damage is done.

Thanks for all of your advice!

--rainmaker
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