As many as 12 million Americans are affected by Restless Legs Syndrome, or RLS. RLS is an itching, burning, aching, or tingling sensation accompanied by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs. This can affect quality of sleep, and add to anxiety and depression for millions of people. RLS can come by itself, or as an accompaniment to diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, kidney failure, heart problems, and many other disorders. It has been related also to excess caffeine consumption and lack of exercise.
This is one health area where all doctors agree home remedies are the best option, so here are a few ideas to help calm the savage beast:
Walk around – often this will quell your legs urge to move, by moving them, it may quiet the muscles enough to relax and sleep, this can even be accomplished by a short walk around your house in the middle of the night.
A warm bath – taking a bit of a soak can relax the muscles and nerves as well, try a gentle massage while you’re in there, and maybe try some lavender essential oil and epsom salts to detox and help relax.
Reduce your caffeine consumption – try it for a few weeks, see if your symptoms improve, if so you can then make lifestyle changes accordingly
Hot and Cold Therapy – try alternating with heat and cold packs
Take a second look at your medications – some stimulants can increase the jitters, this includes in your legs, pay special attention to your OTC allergy meds
Meditation and/or Deep Breathing – it’s hard to say enough good things about these tricks, they help in almost every area of life, and may help you to relax everywhere
Vitamins and Minerals – make sure you are getting enough, calcium and magnesium deficiency are especially detrimental to RLS
Bedtime routine – keeping yourself on a standard routine may help your body to know it’s time to relax and sleep, this is highly beneficial with insomnia as well
Alternative medicine – acupuncture and massage therapy have shown high success levels with people suffering from RLS
Leg stretches – stretching your legs well about half an hour before bed may relax the muscles and nerves enough to still them once in bed
Socks – for some reason people with RLS often have cold feet, put socks on at bedtime, or place an extra blanket over the foot of your bed, if you use the blanket make sure it is soft and light weight as excess pressure may make it worse instead of better
Quality sleep is essential to our well-being, as humans we are hard-wired to need it. Most of these tips are easy and cheap or free, here’s to legs sleeping so we can too!