Restless leg syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease, is a neurological disorder affecting millions of Americans yearly. Individuals suffering from this disorder usually have restless sensations, pains, or aches when sitting or lying in bed.
Restless leg syndrome makes you feel like your legs want to exercise even when your brain and body are ready to sleep. Since these symptoms typically occur at night or when lying down, people with RLS face difficulties staying or falling asleep. This phenomenon can considerably retard the patient’s quality of life.
RLS is relatively more common in women than in men. Although it can occur at any age, the National Institute of Health says that restless leg syndrome is more common in adults than children. The symptoms can vary in severity and duration for each individual. Some people may experience mild, intermittent symptoms, whereas others may suffer from more severe symptoms with each passing episode.
However, certain restless leg syndrome treatments and home remedies can help treat your condition. You can also consult a restless leg syndrome specialist, avail of sleep care online, or undertake an at-home sleep study if your symptoms persist.
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Eating a balanced and healthy diet can help promote good sleep. You must also limit the quantity of caffeine and alcohol you consume and steer clear of them, especially before bedtime. Apart from these, avoid other foods and drinks that can keep you awake at night.
Smoking can have an adverse impact on your sleep by making you feel jittery and restless. You can try to cut down on smoking or quit altogether.
Certain medications can make it hard for your muscles to relax, thereby causing insomnia. If you suffer from RLS and are on drugs, consulting with a restless leg syndrome specialist is a good idea to check if any of them can contribute to your condition.
According to the Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation, individuals with RLS who exercise consistently report a 40% reduction in their symptoms. You do not have to indulge in overly strenuous exercise; jogging, walking, or any other kind of exhaustion can enhance your chances of good sleep.
Yoga, in particular, has shown considerable benefits for people with RLS. Research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported that women with restless leg syndrome who practiced yoga experienced a reduction in their stress and RLS symptoms.
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Cold or Warm Compresses
Cooled or heated pads, which can often relieve swelling caused by injuries or other conditions, have long been used to alleviate restless leg syndrome. Research shows that these pads can create a new sensation for the brain to interpret, decreasing the uncomfortable sensation caused by restless leg syndrome.
Although various inexpensive warm and cold presses are available in the market, you can easily make one by soaking some fabric in warm or cold water and placing it against your legs.
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Hot Shower or Bath
A hot bath or shower can help reduce symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Since the primary reason behind this syndrome is the impulses that originate in the brain, the primary treatment is distracting these impulses.
Stimulating your legs can help reduce or shut down the feedback loop in the brain. Hot water can, thus, open your blood vessels and help circulation. But the cold air that hits you when you step out of the water lowers your body’s core temperature, helping with sleep onset.
Since all kinds of stimulation are beneficial, massaging and rubbing the legs can also offer temporary relief.
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Compression wraps are another suitable way of focusing your brain on other sensations. Relaxers or leg wraps apply pressure to particular muscles that, as theorized, send signals to the overactive nerves in the brain that can calm the muscles and the nerves, relieving RLS symptoms.
Compression wraps, however, require a doctor’s prescription, and you can get yours from a restless leg syndrome specialist.
Inculcate More Iron in Your Diet
Iron supplements and reducing iron deficiency can play a vital role in alleviating restless leg syndrome symptoms. You can either opt for iron supplements or change your meal plan to add in more iron-rich options such as spinach, lentils, tofu, legumes, red meat, and others.
However, it is crucial to consult with a medical professional before opting for the former and getting your iron tested before taking any medications.
If you are looking to consult with a restless leg syndrome specialist, SleepRx is the place for you. Head to SleepRx to book an appointment with an experienced medical professional of your choice within minutes and get first-class medical attention at your doorstep.