What to know

Why Do Arms & Legs Fall Asleep?

when your arms and legs fall asleep, they’ll become numb or give a sensation of pins and needles

Whether it feels numb, pins and needles, or simply completely paralyzed, there’s a reason arms and legs fall asleep.

Sometimes it happens while you’re asleep, other times when you spend too much time on the toilet; your arms or legs fall asleep. Why does this happen, and is it dangerous? We got the answers.

Before you understand why this happens, you need to understand how your limbs work. You’ve got millions of nerves running from your brain to all points of your body. These nerves act as a direct communications vessel between your brain and muscles, sending information back and forth all the time. The signals could be a command to move, or feedback on conditions such as heat, cold, pain or joy.

So when you sleep on your arm, pressure cuts of the arm’s blood and oxygen supply, and the signals have a hard time reaching. When this happens, you can feel one of two things in your arm: it either falls asleep and you can feel nothing at all, or a weird, numb, yet tingling, sensation.

When the signals from your limbs get scrambled or are reach the brain incomplete, you’ll brain will have a hard time interpreting them and translates them into weird sensations. This is why you feel like your limb is warm, numb and/or tingling.

However, when you stop feeling anything and your limbs can’t move, that means that your nerves have completely stopped sending and receiving information. To solve this, you’ll need to change position and let blood flow back into the limb. You’ll regain sensation gradually, first in the form of uncomfortable pins and needles, but you’ll be fine a minute or two later.

Although annoying, the ‘pins and needles’ effect is actually your body’s very own danger alert system that lets you know that you are in risk of serious nerve damage. For this reason, it is important that you listen to your body and always make sure that blood flow is unobstructed.

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