About restless legs syndrome
Sometimes described as “pins and needles”, Restless Legs Syndrome creates a hopeless situation when you’re also trying to fall asleep at the same time. It affects up to 10% of the adult population and is more common among middle-aged women. In most cases, no cause is known to affect RLS, but it is suspected that genes do play a role and that RLS is hereditary.
Restless Legs Syndrome generates an uncomfortable sensation in the legs, creating an irresistible urge to move. It can affect other body parts as well, but the legs are to the most common area to be affected. In general, symptoms of RLS get worse in the evening, resulting in severe sleep deprivation. Additionally, symptoms can also come and go over time, along with the severity of the problem.
Treatment of RLS is generally targeted at easing symptoms. At home treatment options include:
- Maintaining good sleeping habits. If you know the problem is more likely to start at a given time, try and fall asleep before then. Getting enough good quality sleep can be tricky when you can’t lie still but is crucial to treat the disorder.
- Hot baths or heating pads. Ice packs can also help. Try out what works best for you. Support stockings during the day can help too, especially if you’re pregnant.
- Leg massages. If you can’t reach, try and seek professional help, or have someone in the family help you out. There are also plenty of great massage devices, such as chairs and pads, that can be used. Chair covers meant for back massages work great under your legs as well.
- Eliminating or decreasing caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol intake. Especially in the hours close to when you need to fall asleep.
- Up your water intake. Staying hydrated can help cut the symptoms.