Why do limbs fall asleep

Have you ever woken up in the morning and had pins and needles? It’s such a strange sensation and one that a lot of people either love or hate. If you have experienced this pins and needles sensation, the odds are you probably fell asleep lying on your arms, or leg. We always used to wonder why exactly pins and needles were caused, and whether they meant anything serious or not!

Pins and needles are a reasonably common occurrence, and will generally happen when limbs fall asleep, and you struggle to get them to wake up again. So, what does it mean, and why do limbs fall asleep in the way they do? Well, you need wonder no more, we’re going to examine the reasons behind this phenomenon below.

Communication breakdown

We know that in your job, relationships, and daily life, communication is the most important thing, and the same is true when it comes to your body. The brain and the body are in constant communication, and this is done through the nerves. However, when a limb is asleep it is generally because the circulation has been cut off temporarily, and the signal between brain and limb is broken. As such, it takes a while for the communication to reconnect once you start to activate your limbs again.

Nerves are pretty specialized

A further problem is that our limbs are actually pretty specialized and complex, and many of them work differently to one another. Different nerves respond differently, and transmit different information, and, as such, the brain can become confused by various scrambled signals. What happens here is that the brain then releases a number of different sensations in the body, such as numbness or warmth. This is a really interesting factor and tells us a lot about the way in which the body works, as well as why we sometimes wind up with sleeping limbs.

Waking them up

Getting our limbs to wake up and start working again after they’ve gone numb is not something that happens instantly.The blood needs to flow back into the limb, and it needs to reopen communication with the brain via its nerves. This can take several minutes but might be accomplished by switching positions or taking the time to use the limb as much as possible. It will be a few minutes before it returns to normal, and there will be a strange sensation as this happens – but some people actually quite like that!

So, now you know a little bit about how and why your limbs fall asleep, and you get pins and needles. There are so many different elements to the body, and it’s really interesting the way in which it works and communicates with the brain. Pins and needles are nothing to worry about, however, continued pressure on a limb could cause problems, and the limb may never recover. But, the sensation itself reminds us that we need to get the limbs working again, and they are an interesting way of understanding the complexities of limbs, nerves, and the human body as a whole.