Why do my arms and legs go numb during sleep

Good sleep is very valuable for our body. But at times, rest can be disturbed by unpleasant sensations when arms and legs become numb in a dream. In medicine, this condition is called paresthesia. In most cases, it is associated with poor circulation in the extremities, but other reasons are also possible. Let’s figure out why this is happening and what the numbness may be associated with, as well as find out how dangerous it is and when to see a doctor.

Associated symptoms

Usually limb numbness is accompanied by other discomfort, including:

  • pain;
  • weakness in an arm or leg;
  • redness of the skin;
  • lower back discomfort;
  • tingling, sometimes so strong that it seems like the skin is being pricked with needles;
  • anxiety;
  • burning sensation;
  • a rash on an arm or leg;
  • vasodilation;
  • swelling of the limb.

If serious disorders have led to paresthesia, the following will be added to the feeling of numbness:

  • coordination problems;
  • impaired speech, vision, or breathing;
  • paralysis;
  • feeling of lethargy;
  • uncontrolled urination.


The condition when numbness of the limbs occurs during sleep can scare anyone. Especially if it is repeated regularly. Let’s consider the possible reasons.

Mechanical reasons

An arm or leg can become numb due to a long stay in an uncomfortable position, when blood vessels and nerve endings are pinched. In difficult cases, a person may completely lose sensitivity in this limb for several minutes. Gradually, after changing the position, the unpleasant sensations disappear and the sensitivity returns.

To relieve numbness more quickly, you can gently massage the affected arm or leg.

It is the uncomfortable position during sound sleep that is the main cause of discomfort in the legs of a child.

Circulatory disorders

The circulatory system delivers oxygen and nutrients to absolutely all tissues of the body. Feeling of numbness is often a sign of a malfunction in her work. It is caused by pathologies associated with circulatory disorders:

  1. Thrombosis. Blood clots appear in the vein, creating an obstacle to its free circulation. An additional sign: the skin changes color and begins to peel off. When fighting the disease, the doctor will prescribe drugs that thin the blood and relieve inflammation. The use of compression garments helps to eliminate wicking.
  2. Endarteritis The limb may become numb or numb due to the narrowing of the lumen of the vessels and the slowing down of blood circulation. In such cases, the man or woman will feel the cooling of the limb. Treatment consists of the use of blood thinners and various antispasmodics.
  3. Powerful vasospasm – Raynaud’s syndrome. It can be treated with vasodilator and spasm-relieving drugs. For topical use, warming compresses and ointments are suitable.
  4. Violation of the heart. Blood circulation deteriorates, it does not flow to the limbs in sufficient quantities.


The limbs may become numb due to a lack of certain vitamins or minerals. Vitamins B6, B12 and zinc are especially important for the body in this regard, which provide metabolic processes in the nervous system. Treatment consists in taking a vitamin and mineral complex.

Spine problems

Sleep can be disturbed by discomfort in the arms or legs, the cause of which is the squeezing of the nerve endings coming out of the spine. This can be a consequence of the development of osteochondrosis, intervertebral hernia, displacement of the vertebrae. Additional symptoms are neck pain, headaches.

For treatment, the doctor may prescribe massage, taking chondroprotectors, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. For complex pathologies, an operation will be required.

Disruption of the nervous system

A numb finger, palm or foot may be evidence of polyneuritis, an infectious disease. Pathology leads to damage to the nerve endings due to intoxication of the body.

Another reason is neuropathy, or damage to nerve fibers associated with degenerative processes in the body. Therapy will consist of taking medications prescribed by a doctor and physiotherapy.

Other reasons

The following pathologies can also provoke numbness and numbness of the limbs:

  • Benign neoplasms. They are accompanied by numbness and tingling in the fingers, most often in the thumb.
  • Lesion of the ulnar nerve (neuropathy, ulnar tunnel syndrome). Typical symptoms are weakening of the right hand, loss of sensitivity in the little finger and ring finger. 
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (carpal tunnel syndrome). With it, the thumb and middle fingers suffer, sometimes numbness, burning sensation extends to the entire hand.  
  • Polyneuropathy. Sign – symmetrical flow of hands, fingers and toes. May be a consequence of diabetes, alcoholism, poisoning.
  • Disorders of the endocrine system.
  • Pancreatic dysfunction.
  • Diseases of the joints.


Many women experience numbness in their limbs for the first time during pregnancy. Doctors associate this with an increase in blood volume, hormonal changes in the body, due to which fluid accumulates in the limbs.

Usually, no treatment is required. After childbirth, the condition should return to normal.

The exceptions are situations when numbness is accompanied by dizziness, pain in the arms and legs, and the limbs are very swollen. Such symptoms should be immediately reported to your gynecologist.

Taking some medications

Reducing limbs at night can be due to the effects of certain drugs. Taxanes used in cancer therapy usually have this side effect. In this case, in addition to numbness, the patient will be disturbed by nausea and stool disturbance.


To understand why the patient’s limbs become numb or even dead, the doctor will prescribe a series of examinations:

  • x-ray of the spine (especially the specialist will be interested in his upper section);
  • Ultrasound;
  • CT or MRI;
  • electromyography.

During the visit, the doctor should find out:

  • are there any accompanying symptoms;
  • when there is a feeling of numbness (whether accompanied by falling asleep or getting up);
  • how often does this happen;
  • where there is discomfort (fingers, palm, pelvis, thigh, foot, or entire leg).

Also, the patient will have to donate blood for a biochemical analysis to determine the level of hormones and other indicators of the body’s work. Angiography is used to diagnose the state of blood vessels.

What to do, the doctor will decide after a comprehensive examination and identification of the main cause of discomfort. It is important to remember that only a specialist can prescribe any medicine.


To sleep well at night, you need to follow simple rules:

  1. Go in for sports regularly, choosing those types that are aimed at developing the muscles of the limbs and spine. Do not forget that not only the muscles should work, but also the joint. In this regard, swimming, cycling, fitness are ideal.
  2. It is advisable to completely eliminate the use of caffeinated beverages, or at least reduce them to a minimum. Caffeine can provoke vasospasm and circulatory disorders.
  3. Pay attention to your food. The diet should contain a sufficient amount of vitamin B12, which is found in meat, dairy products, eggs. You also need to remember about iron, which is rich in buckwheat, nuts and offal.
  4. Start each morning with a contrast shower. The procedure trains the vessels, due to which the limbs will no longer be grabbed at night.
  5. Avoid hypothermia.
  6. Make your bed comfortable. It should be comfortable, with a quality mattress and a low pillow.

If, even after following all the recommendations, discomfort continues to bother, you need to consult a doctor. Numbness of the extremities can be the result of a dangerous disease, so it is important to identify it in time and start treatment.

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