Numb Limbs When Sleeping

What can I do to prevent getting numb hands and arms when I'm sleeping in the backcountry?

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When I’m camping, I frequently wake up during the night with my arms and/or hands feeling numb. Is there something I can do to prevent this?

Submitted by – Chris, Minneapolis, MN


My answer is: maybe. Most likely, a nerve or two is getting pinched. Sometimes you can relieve this with a thicker sleeping pad—or two pads. Sometimes packing in a small pillow will do the job—or you can stuff extra clothing layers, like your puffy jacket, into a pillowcase or stuffsack. I’d try both things. Also, is your sleeping bag big enough? A tight bag can put pressure on a few nerves. Finally, you might have an alignment problem that a visit to a healthcare practitioner could possibly alleviate. —Buck