How to Avoid Arms Falling Asleep While Sleeping?

So when I sleep, my arms fall asleep and it wakes me up a couple times a night. I try to sleep on my side, and often the arm on top is the one that falls asleep. It is very annoying for me, as it is often 4X a night this happens.

I have tried back sleeping, and I can’t seem to do it. I think I get sleep apnea when on the back. I used to be a stomach sleeper, but have managed to switch to sleeping on my side or side / stomach.

With the issue being the top arm, I don’t think it is blocked blood flow, and the arm isn’t in an unnatural position, so I think it may be nerve. Maybe in my neck. Would a thicker pillow help?

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Yeah, I would try a thicker pillow. They make some extra thick ones for broad shouldered side sleepers.

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Bro my arms fall asleep so bad at night that I usually can’t turn off my alarm in the morning.

It’s like flailing a salmon at my phone screen hoping it hits the [snooze] button

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My thought is that my neck is just bent to much, and that causes it. I’ll give it a try I think to see how I do.

I’d be okay with that if I stayed asleep during the arms falling asleep. I just gotta think that waking up 3-4 times a night has got to be messing up the quality of sleep.

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You’re correct that it is impeding the quality of sleep. That being said, it’s not necessarily impeding quality significantly, but it can.
I doubt it’s a nerve in the neck (probably in the shoulder/arm IMO), but there’s no definitive way to tell. A good pillow does make a world of difference though

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Tight pec minor or biceps could roll your shoulders forward in the night, kinda pinching up the front of your shoulder. You could try stretching those out with “The Doorway Stretch.”
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Tight muscles behind your shoulder (rear delts and terers minor) can limit you internal rotation, and not let your arm come around into a comfortable position. You can try stretching that out by pulling that arm across your chest.

Tight traps can compress your neck, pinch nerves and jack up your arm. You can do this one to feel for tight traps.
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Or try the “chin tuck” to see if your neck specifically is tight.
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In a more general way, this happens to my girlfriend near the end of her training cycle. Like if she pushed for a 6-8 week “block,” near the end when things are getting strenuous her arms start falling asleep in the night. And its a reliable sign (for her) that it’s time to back off for awhile.

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I’ll give those a try. Seem simple enough. Maybe a few neck stretches too. I try to not get too much in my stretching and muscle massage routine, and only do what’s needed. I have a few friends that just seem to stretch and foam roll for half a workout. I am guessing the first stretch would be the most likely one to benefit me since I press often. I’ll maybe just try that to start to see if that one works. If not, I’ll try a different stretch.

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Yeah, just run through the positions real quick to put a little tension on the muscles and see if you feel tighness/tension that feels like it could be connected to the arms falling asleep.

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The door frame one and the trap one were tight. I’ll do those I think. The arm across the chest one was tight, but not in the rear delts, just the pecs (more like they were going to cramp, than stretch feeling).

My wife picked me up a new pillow today, so I’ll be trying that too. Too many variables at once, but if I solve the issue, I am okay stretching and using a new pillow.

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I have to have a decent-sized pillow to kind of hug to keep my arms from falling asleep, but as long as I have it I’m fine.

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I do similar. I just use my pillow length wise by my side. Keeps me kinda on my side instead of stomach. That may lead to my head being a bit forward though.

Update:. Bigger pillow, didn’t wake up a single time with my arms numb. However this pillow is thicc. It was a bit hard to sleep on. I’m going to try an in between pillow and see if that solves the issue and I’d more comfortable. Also did some of those stretches.

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Hey dude, looks like you’ve got your issue figured out, but this may be able to help someone else suffering from something similar. I used to have the same problem and it ended up being really, really bad at night. My arms would go numb and I’d have shooting pain up my forearms, and not able to move out of the position I was sleeping in. It was terrible. My dad and brother suffered from the same thing.

My dad ended up buying a slightly oversized elbow brace and shoving a tennis ball into it down into the fold between the bicep and forearm to prevent bending his arm inadvertantly during the night. Worked great for him. It seems that keeping our arms straight during the night helped keep circulation through the arm and eventually you teach yourself not to bend your elbow, and can get rid of the brace.

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Yeah, I have more issues if my elbow is bent too. I think the oversized pillow helped with that. It seems like a pretty small problem, but it really sucked.

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We just bought a new tempurpedic adjustable mattress and with it we got a “cool pack” of sheets and bedding…but the pillow is awesome. Thick but quilted on top so its super soft while allowing me to keep may neck straight while on my side. It even has a cool sleep side and a removable inner pad in case its too thick. They arent cheap though!

My shoulders will slip out at night sometimes, other times only partially out. Both usually cut off blood flow and I cannot feel them at all. Either way there have been multiple times where I’ve tried to roll over and an arm unknowingly gets caught under me resulting in some fairly gruesome dislocations. Think arm bent 90 degrees, externally rotated, behind your back, palm out.