You know the feeling. You’ve been sitting doing your homework for half an hour or so, one leg tucked underneath you. You get thirsty and jump up to grab a drink of water. As soon as your foot hits the ground, though…ugh! It feels like you’re walking on pins and needles.

What’s wrong? Your foot has fallen asleep! Was your homework that boring? Or did your foot not get a good night’s sleep last night? What’s the deal?

Some people believe that paresthesia — the heavy, dull, tingling, burning or “weird” pins and needles feeling when your foot falls asleep — is caused by not enough blood circulating to your foot. In reality, though, your foot falling asleep has more to do with your nerves.

Nerves are like tiny wires that run throughout your body. Like the electric wires throughout your house that carry electricity to outlets, your nerves carry messages back and forth between the many parts of your body and your brain.

If you sit on your foot long enough, you compress the nerves in that area. Of course, this can happen to other parts of your body, too. People might experience legs, arms and hands that fall asleep from time to time.

When you compress the nerves in a certain area, communication from that part of the body to the brain is disrupted temporarily. As a result, that part of your body doesn’t feel anything because it’s not communicating with your brain.

If you also happen to be compressing arteries in that area, blood flow to your nerves may be reduced, too. This can contribute to the miscommunication with the brain.

When you change position, the nerves begin to return to normal and start communicating again. While those connections with the brain are being established again, you feel some weird sensations. They usually don’t hurt, though, and they don’t last very long.

Everyone experiences these feelings from time to time, and they’re completely normal. They don’t hurt your body, but they sure can feel really strange for a short time until your brain and your body start “talking” again!

86 Join the Discussion

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    • You’re right about that, “Mrs. Bayko’s!” Thanks for being the very first Wonder Friend to check out today’s Wonder of the Day® and leave us a comment…we appreciate you! :-)

    • Thanks for letting us know you thought the video for today’s Wonder was funny, Caelah! LOTS of Wonder Friends know what the girl in the video is going through with a foot that won’t “wake up!” We think if you move your sleeping foot to get the nerves “talking” to the brain again and get the blood flowing, it will “wake up” pretty quickly! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder, Kamryn! We know that needle-y, tingly feeling, too! Sometimes when our foot has been asleep and we move it and the tingling starts, we try to keep our foot as still as we can until the tingling stops and everything feels normal again. It’s super hard to do that, though! :-)

  1. Cool, when will you do the wonder I nominated, it is “are blue prints really blue?” I really think that this website is great!

    • We’re glad you thought today’s Wonder was cool, Adam! We appreciate hearing that! We also appreciate your nomination of “are blueprints really blue” for a future Wonder of the Day®! We receive LOTS of SUPER Wonder nominations every day from AMAZING Wonder Friends just like YOU! Sometimes it takes a little while to create Wonders for all the WONDERful ideas we receive, but we value every nomination! Thanks for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

    • We like that guess, Ellen! Thanks so much for stopping by today’s Wonder and learning something new with us! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

  2. I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day is about why electricity shocks you or where did electricity come from.

    • That’s an AWESOME guess, Eli! Thanks for sharing it with us today! We think electricity sounds like something really cool to WONDER about! :-)

    • It’s a little inconvenience, we agree, Eli, but it’s something most of have experienced sometime in our lives! Thank you for letting us know what you think about your feet falling asleep! :-)

    • Your comment just made our day, Ms. Beard’s Class! We’re so glad you guys like exploring Wonderopolis together and watching the videos! We agree…today’s Wonder video was super funny! We hope her foot finally “woke up!” :-)

  3. One time when my foot fell asleep, I was squishing it so I could feel it. But it started to hurt. It was tingling. My mom said put water on it. It didn’t work. Then finally it woke up then I went to eat. When I finished it fell asleep again.

    • Thank you for sharing your story with us, Mira! It does feel weird and tingly when your foot finally wakes up, doesn’t it? We guess the nerves in our feet (the ones that talk to our brain) really have a LOT to say after being asleep! :-)

  4. Hi! I thought that wonder number #579 was about horses and I was right! I think tomorrow’s wonder is about electricity. :)

    • We’ll have to wait and see about tomorrow’s Wonder, Rahul, but we think your guess ROCKS! Thanks for stopping by today’s Wonder and leaving us another AMAZING comment! :-)

  5. We thought the video was FUNNY!!!

    All of us have had our foot fall asleep at one time or another.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder could be about a surprise or lightning or electricity or about a sting ray…We can’t decide. We can’t wait to find out!

    • Oooh! All of those ideas for what tomorrow’s Wonder might be sound AWESOME, Miss Kirsten’s Kindergarten GT! We would like to learn more about ALL of those things! We hope you guys have a SUPER rest of the day…thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis with us! :-)

    • Hello, Allan! Thanks for sharing why you think our feet fall asleep! We encourage you to re-explore today’s Wonder to learn that it has more to do with the nerves in our bodies! We think you are an AWESOME Wonder Friend…keep WONDERing! :-)

  6. When my feet fall asleep I feel like there is pins in my feet, and like there is water falling on them. I HATE IT SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much because it hurts so bad!!!!

    • Thanks for sharing how you feel when your feet fall asleep, Haylee! It can hurt in a tingly way, we agree, but just about everyone goes through it at one time or another! We think your comment today ROCKS…thanks so much for leaving it for us! :-)

  7. The video was very funny, but strange! We have all had something fall asleep on our body. Slapping your feet with different objects will not wake them up. We think tomorrow may be about lightning or how you get shocked! See you soon!

    • Hello, Mr. Draper’s Class! Thanks for another GREAT comment! We agree…hitting the part of your body that’s asleep does not help to wake it up. Moving it around carefully would probably work a little better! We really like your guesses for tomorrow’s Wonder…we’ll all have to wait and see what we’ll be WONDERing about! :-)

  8. That was funny because she hit her foot. (Kaidan)

    Thank you for showing that video. I really liked that. (Ellis)

    Happy Day Wonderopolis!

    • It’s always a WONDERful day when we get a message from our KF Dragons friends! Hi, guys! We hope you had as much fun learning why our feet fall asleep as we did today! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about today’s Wonder, Kaidan and Ellis! :-)

    • Hi there, Chris! We encourage you to re-visit today’s Wonder to learn why your feet fall asleep. We had fun learning some GREAT new facts about today’s Wonder topic, and we hope you do, too! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • That “stepping in needles” sensation you feel is actually your brain and your nerves trying to start communicating again after your foot’s been asleep, Gretchen! We’re SUPER happy that you learned something new by exploring today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Emma! It makes us glad that you loved visiting today’s Wonder…YOU ROCK! :-)

    • That’s a super cool guess about the next Wonder of the Day®, “Wonder!” We can’t wait to see if your guess is correct! :-)

  9. Hi wonderopolis! I really liked today’s wonder. I never knew how your foot falls asleep. Anyway, can you please do a wonder on pandas? Pretty pretty please??? I LOVE PANDAS!!! PLEASE???

  10. Hey, Wonderopolis, once during a game in field hockey game, my foot fell asleep and the game had to be stopped so I could get off the feild. And you guys know how much I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!! Anyways, see ya!!



    • Thank you for telling us your story about your foot falling asleep, Mushkale…it was a good personal connection to share! We appreciate all the WONDERful things you say about visiting Wonderopolis. You are a SUPER Wonder Friend! :-)

  11. This wonder of the day is hilarious. I am in the middle of class and I can’t stop laughing while watching the video. I’m cracking up!

    • Hi, Cassidy! We’re glad you like the video for this Wonder of the Day®…thanks for letting us know! Sometimes it’s good to start your day with a smile or a laugh! We do it all the time! We hope you have a GREAT day! :-)

    • Maybe that does have a little something to do with it, Clayton, but it has more to do with the nerves in your feet not being able to “talk” to your brain. Thanks so much for sharing your comment with us and for visiting this Wonder of the Day® today! :-)

  12. I think I also might have a solution to the tingling problem. Try sticking the foot that’s asleep into very warm water

    (Not boiling)

    or very cold water. That would probably speed up the process.

    • Thanks for sharing your idea for waking up feet faster, Clayton! We get your thinking with that…maybe if you give feet something more to “feel” and something (warm or cold water) for the nerves to sense, it might speed up the “talking to the brain” part! Thanks for using your creativity to WONDER more about this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • We’re happy you liked the video for this Wonder, Alyssa! Thanks for letting us know! We thought it was funny, too! We think her foot was asleep for a pretty long time, don’t you? We hope it finally “woke up!” :-)

    • Thanks for sharing that you have experienced the same thing as the girl in the video for this Wonder, Kylie! We appreciate your comment very much! :-)

  13. That was SO funny! My foot has fallen asleep before and it feels like ants crawling on my foot. :)

    • That’s a great way to describe the feeling after your foot has fallen asleep, Maia! We’re so glad you stopped by this Wonder of the Day® and left us this SUPER comment…THANK YOU! :-)

  14. That was so funny. She is a big hit now. She was so funny. She should have just waited and then it would go back to normal. Now I’m sleepy…gotta go to sleep now. BYE!!!!!!!

    • We’re glad you thought the video for this Wonder was funny, Kassy, and we’re glad you stopped by this Wonder of the Day® to learn about what happens when your foot falls asleep! Thanks for being a WONDERful Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder, Sarah! We thought it was really interesting to learn what happens when our feet fall asleep, didn’t you? It’s FUN to WONDER in Wonderopolis! :-)

    • We think it’s SUPER that you enjoyed the video for this Wonder of the Day®, Leah! Thanks for letting us know! :-)

    • Hi, Kiah! Thanks so much for sharing your favorite part of the video for this Wonder of the Day®! We’re glad you stopped by Wonderopolis for a visit and to learn some cool new things! :-)

    • Hi, Olivia! Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

  15. I am laughing vary hard because my foot just fell asleep and all I do is tap it vary slowly and my brother Talon is laughing, too. Thank you for putting this up. :) :(

    • Thanks for sharing that your foot was asleep when you were writing your comment, Morgan! We appreciate that you and Talon visited Wonderopolis together today! :-)

    • We’re glad you liked the video for this Wonder of the Day®, Wonder Guy 4! Thanks for letting us know and THANKS for visiting Wonderopolis! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your favorite part of the video for this Wonder of the Day®, Sleepy! We’re glad you visited Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Thanks so much for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®, Marina! We’re glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • It’s definitely a strange sensation to have your foot fall asleep, Morgan! Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • Thanks so much for letting us know you liked this Wonder of the Day® and that the video made you laugh, Julie! We really appreciate how you always have such a positive attitude and love to WONDER along with us each day! :-)

  16. I was so suprised when I saw this wonder!!!
    It made my brain think about my feet and my body.
    Thanks for the neat wander!

    • We’re glad to hear you enjoyed our sleepy Wonder, Addison! We are glad you’re thinking your feet and body- and how they work together with your brain! NICE WORK! :)

    • This happens to us sometimes, too, Eli! That tingling sensation is sometimes uncomfortable. Thanks for sharing with us today, Wonder Friend! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  •  Why does my foot fall asleep?
  • What do your nerves do?
  • What is paresthesia?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

So your foot falls asleep…big deal! Let it sleep. Put a pillow under it and throw a blanket on it. Let it snooze the day away.

Now that your foot is asleep, let your imagination wander. What might your foot be dreaming about? Can you write a short story or draw a picture of what a foot dream might look like?

Be as creative as you want. Does your foot dream of new socks? Maybe a new pair of shoes? Or does it want to run free and uncovered along a sandy seashore?

Maybe your foot dreams of climbing a mountain. Or maybe it wants to be a hero by kicking the winning goal at the next World Cup!

Keep your feet on the ground…or in bed…but let your mind reach for the stars. Be sure to share your story or your artwork with your other Wonder Friends on Facebook. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Still Wondering

Want to learn more about an animal that sleeps A LOT each winter? Check out ReadWriteThink’s Facts About Brown Bears information sheet to learn more about brown bears (grizzly bears), including their habitat, eating habits and hibernation.

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