What to Do if Your Leg Is Asleep

Paresthesia is a medical term that refers to the tingling and prickling sensations you experience in some body parts, commonly referred to as “falling asleep.” Although having your leg fall asleep is uncomfortable, it usually is not a sign of a serious medical condition if it happens occasionally. The exact treatment of paresthesia depends on the underlying cause. If you have chronic paresthesia, consult your medical provider for treatment.


Your leg may fall asleep for different reasons, but it most often is due to nerve irritation. If you sleep on your leg a certain way or leave your legs crossed for too long, there may be sustained pressure on the nerve. This can cause the feelings of pins and needles once the pressure from the nerve is relieved. Paresthesia can be transient or chronic. Most people will experience their leg or other parts of their body falling asleep at some point in their life. Chronic paresthesia is usually a sign of a more serious underlying condition.

Treatment for Occasional Paresthesia

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To relieve the numbing and tingling sensations, get your leg moving. Stand up and walk around on your affected leg. It may be difficult to walk at first, but it is the best way to relieve the pressure on your nerves and improve your circulation. Avoid crossing your legs, and you should notice symptoms improving. If your leg falls asleep due to a panic attack, you will have to wait for the anxiety to pass to see an improvement in symptoms.

Chronic Paresthesia Causes

If you often experience your leg falling asleep, you may have a medical condition that requires treatment. Diseases affecting your central nervous system, such as a stroke, encephalitis or multiple sclerosis can cause paresthesia. Tumors that place pressure on your nerves also can cause your leg to fall asleep. Other potential causes include nerve damage, nutrient deficiency, insect bites, shingles or certain medications. To properly treat your leg falling asleep, talk to your doctor to determine the cause.

Chronic Paresthesia Treatment

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The treatment for chronic paresthesia depends on the cause. For some Illnesses, your doctor may place you on medications to help your nerves function properly. Your medical provider will treat any insect bites or shingles with medications, wfor example. In some cases, you may have a vitamin or other nutritional deficiency. Your doctor can recommend that you take supplements or change your diet to help with your leg falling asleep. If a medication is the suspected cause, your doctor can change your prescription to help relieve the symptoms.