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Why Do Limbs Fall Asleep

Do you experience the so-called "pins-and-needles" sensation after crossing your legs for too long? Should you worry about it? Read this article and find out.

You may have come to an irritating experience of waking up after a seemingly deep sleep only to find out that one of your legs is “totally asleep”. When you try to revive this poor limb, you would immediately feel the so-called “pins-and needles” sensation, an annoyingly painful tingling and numbness of the limb. As if this suffering is not enough, you still have to experience the embarrassment of dragging your dead leg. So, why do limbs fall asleep? And should you need to be alarmed about it?

The condition responsible as to why do limbs fall asleep is called Paresthesia. It typically happens when you’ve applied pressure to your limbs for a long span of time, like when you’ve been sitting on your feet for too long or resting on your arm while asleep. The nerves in the affected limb are compressed, and thus interrupted in their normal electrochemical communication to the brain. When you start to move your position, the nerve impulses will scramble up to the newly opened nerve pathway, which results to the painful pins-and-needle feeling. With this immediate decompression, the sensory nerves that are sensitive to pain and change in the temperature give the feeling of instant discomfort. It is then followed by the transmission of signals by the nerve fibers responsible for the motor control which allows you to move the limb even if it’s still numb to touch. The pain will only disappear when the nerves become fully simultaneous with the nervous system, so you can’t use the limb until it has fully recovered. Try using your still sleeping hand, and it might only cause you a new injury. Just relax your limb and allow the nerve conduction to go back to normal.

It is important to understand that the nerves are not the only one squeezed as to why do limbs fall asleep. Blood vessels are also affected when you’ve been sitting in the same position and torturing your legs for hours. Only when the blood has return to normal in delivering the needed oxygen and the blood circulation has fully adapted will the nerves send the appropriate signals to the brain, thus fading the painful discomfort, At certain worse scenarios, the brain, after failing to receive the nerve impulses for a lengthy time, alarms you through the tingling sensation in order to avoid any nervous and circulatory problems.

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