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My legs are always falling asleep. Is this a sign of something dangerous?

By March 18, 2014 - 4:57pm
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Legs falling asleep

When I sit too long my legs always fall asleep. Pretty much any time I'm not standing or lying flat sleeping. I'm pretty young still and in good shape, so it kind of worries me that my legs are always falling asleep like this. Is this the sign of something dangerous like low blood pressure or clogged arteries?

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Thanks for the info, Maryann! That is so interesting. It makes sense why my legs fall asleep, because it's usually if I'm sitting for a long time at my desk, especially after my legs are crossed.

When my legs do fall asleep, is there a way to make it go away quicker? Or do I just have to sit and wait it out for a few minutes?

July 17, 2014 - 12:45am
Guide (reply to Erin Kennedy)

Hi Erin,

Avoid crossing your legs. Get up from sitting at your desk every 20 to 30 minutes. Take a short walk, either around your desk, across the room or down the hall. This might prevent the "falling asleep" sensation.


July 17, 2014 - 6:15am

Hello Erin,

The sensation that your legs are "falling asleep" results from being in one position too long. Prolonged pressure, from sitting, actually cuts off communication from your brain to other parts of your body.

The pressure squeezes nerve pathways so that the nerves can't transmit electrochemical impulses properly. Nerve impulses carry sensation information from nerve endings in the body to the brain, as well as instructions from the brain to the parts of the body.

This pressure can also squeeze arteries, stopping them from carrying nutrients to body cells. Without these nutrients, the nerve cells may behave abnormally, which can further interfere with communicating bodily sensations.

Because of both of the above mentioned factors, some nerve cells don't transmit any information and others start sending impulses erratically. This causes you to feel a strange tingling sensation, which actually serves an important function. Your legs falling asleep for 10 minutes doesn't pose any health threat, but if you were to cut off circulation for an extended period of time,like several hours, you could suffer serious nerve damage. The initial tingling sensation tells you that you might want to readjust your position.

Hope this helps,

July 16, 2014 - 1:54pm
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