Eli5: Why is grip strength significantly worse when you first wake up? And why do hands feel so stiff in the morning?

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When you sleep, your body turns turns off a lot of movement circuits so you don’t act out everything you’re dreaming. These may take a while to turn back on when you wake up, varying between people and which stage of sleep you woke up from (as others have pointed out, called ‘sleep inertia’).


Its to do with how well your Central Nervous System is functioning. Usually when we first wake up, youre quite tired, and feel sluggish, and thats due to your CNS. But this isnt always the case, if you have a hand gripper nearby, you can give it a little squeeze to test your grip, and that is a good indicator on how well your CNS is functioning at the moment


If you’re experiencing loss of grip strength or especially any tingling/pins-and-needles sensations in your fingers after waking up, get checked out for carpal or cubital tunnel. Your body tends to hold your hands in unhealthy positions while you sleep, and could hurt your wrists if you’re genetically predisposed to those disorders.


I have this sometimes. I always figured it was from one of two neuromuscular disorders in my family, one of which I have been tested for and confirmed to have, and my neurologist has been content with that idea. Maybe see a neuromuscular doctor?