Relief for Restless Legs and Sleepless Nights

Sufferers of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) know that few things can get them off track as quickly as the incapability to get a good night’s sleep.  RLS feels unpleasant sensations in your legs and an almost irresistible need to move them. In severe cases, your torso and upper body can also be affected. Symptoms most frequently show up late in the day. When RLS attacks, the only way to get relief is to move the legs. You may need to walk around or keep your legs in motion while you’re lying or sitting down. 

It is easy to see why RLS might lead to sleepless nights. Your partner may also end up having sleepless nights. For several people, RLS can cause a lot of stress. It makes sleep so difficult and RLS leads to daytime fatigue and, possibly, a host of related problems such as work issues to impaired memory, and even depression.

Doctors haven’t identified the exact cause of Restless Legs Syndrome. As it sometimes runs in families, it may have a genetic component. The brain may also play a role. Low iron levels may be a factor, along with a dysfunction in the part of the brain that uses dopamine to create purposeful muscle movement. Even though researchers cannot link them directly, Restless Legs Syndrome seems to have some connection to:   

  • Diabetes, Kidney failure, and peripheral neuropathy 
  • Medicines that might worsen symptoms such as antipsychotics, anti-nausea drugs, and certain cold and allergy remedies
  • Alcohol use and sleep deprivation
  • Pregnancy, particularly during the last trimester
  • Gender and age can also be a factor. Women are more likely to get the condition, especially as they get older.

How To Treat Restless Legs Syndrome

There is currently no cure for RLS, but a variety of treatments and therapies can help to relieve symptoms so you can get a better night’s sleep. Talk with your doctor about these options: 

  • Lifestyle changes: If your symptoms are mild, it is recommended to exercise, stretch, and have a warm bath before bedtime. You may also need to cut back on alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco. Supplements may address mineral and vitamin deficiencies. Try to keep to a regular sleep schedule and avoid or limit naps.
  • Prescriptions: Medications can help, but no medication does the trick for each person with Restless Legs Syndrome. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a variety of medications for the treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome, and other medicines that are not exactly designed to treat the condition can sometimes help. Ask your doctor about possible medical treatments.

There are various offers of several coping strategies that could make life with Restless Legs Syndrome more bearable. Among other things, it is recommended to talk with others about the condition, keeping a sleep diary and tracking your daily doings, keeping your mind active and engaged, and starting and finishing each day with a gentle massage or stretching. You may also consider joining or starting a support group. There are lots of RLS groups throughout the United States.

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