Restless Leg Syndrome: Tips for Better Sleep for Sufferers

The effects of Restless Leg Syndrome frequently extend well beyond the acute sensations in a patient’s limbs. When dealing with persistent attacks, sufferers are typically robbed of a full night’s sleep.

When exploring tips for better sleep, people with Restless Leg Syndrome will likely come across a wealth of information and advice about insomnia, but what works for insomnia may not work for Restless Leg Syndrome. The following tips from doctors and Restless Leg Syndrome patients might help you get more rest.

Tips from doctors and patients:

  • Take a hot bath using a particular salt bath that contains magnesium. Soaking magnesium into your muscles before bed will relax them.
  • Eat a protein snack before bedtimes, such as a bit of chicken, a hard-boiled egg, or meat to maintain your blood sugar stable. Low blood sugar is a trigger for Restless Leg Syndrome, and protein stabilizes it. Avoid sweets or carbohydrates before bedtime, which cause a spike and then a crash in blood sugar.
  • Take the amino acid L-tryptophan. Some reports have suggested works as a sleep aid for Restless Leg Syndrome. You may also try the related compound, 5-HTP which is a natural sleep aid. However, it is hard to get L-tryptophan without a prescription.
  • Check your over-the-counter and prescription medications. Anti-nausea and antihistamines compounds can make Restless Leg Syndrome worse. Also, medications used for the treatment of heart conditions, high blood pressure, allergies, colds, and depression can make your restless legs worse.
  • Drink a lot of water and eat bananas. Dehydration and low potassium trigger Restless Leg Syndrome.
  • Keep the temperature cool in the room, raise your legs, and do deep-breathing exercises. Restless Leg Syndrome sufferers and fitness experts use these strategies instead of taking medication.
  • Get tested for sleep apnea if you’re over 40 and overweight.  Some individuals found that their Restless Leg Syndrome mostly disappeared when they started CPAP therapy for sleep apnea.
  • Do a calf stretch. An exercise instructor suggested that getting out of bed when your legs feel restless, stretches your calves. Also, the bottom of your feet by kneeling with your hands in front and your toes turned under. Gradually raise your hands to your thighs and extend your spine over your sit bones.
  • Focus on something creative. This will help you get distracted and might stop the symptoms, at least temporarily.
  • You may use a leg-raising pillow. It allows your legs to sit on top raised while sleeping.

Other tips:

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Change your temperature. Occasionally, a switch from cold to hot or vice versa may help. Try changing cold and warm packs.
  • Take pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Motrin may help if you have mild symptoms.
  • Exercise, but not too much. Exercise to fatigue your muscles is helpful, but too much exercise might trigger your Restless Leg Syndrome.
  • Put a bar of soap under the sheets. For strange reasons, this home remedy seems to work for many people who have Restless Leg Syndrome.
  • Keep a sleep diary to recognize your triggers.

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