Approximately 10% of the population in North American suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS, or Willis-Ekbom disease), which causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs – such as tingling, crawling/creeping feelings, most often felt during nighttime) which can only be relieved by movement or pressure.
RLS can be aggravated by use of caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, sugar consumption, lack of daytime movement and exercise, medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, lithium, antipsychotic drugs), and certain health conditions such as varicose veins, stress, kidney issues, diabetes, anemia. Researchers say RLS runs in families and may also have a genetic component.
More exercise/movement during the day, more rest and relaxation at night. This will adjust your acadian rhythm and melatonin levels, sending clear differential signals between day and night to your brain and body.
Keep a regular sleep schedule. Even if some nights you’re not sleepy, follow a ritual to prepare for bed, and relax by reading a good book before turning lights out.
Cooler bedroom temperature, complete darkness. If you need a night-light for bathroom trips, get a motion sensor one that will turn on only when you’re up and need the extra light for vision.
No use of cell phones or tablets two hours before bedtime
Plenty of water during the day; stop drinking 3 hours before bedtime
Speak with your health care practitioner to review and adjust your supplement intake. Studies show RLS can most often occur when iron and Vitamin D are deficient in the body
Stretching exercises can be highly beneficial for those suffering with RLS, as can be leg massages before bedtime.
If female, drink plenty of herbal tea during the day (nettle tea, oatstraw, parsley leaf tea) to regulate estrogen levels. Have your doctor check and monitor your hormone levels.
Try sleeping with a pillow or heavy blanket over your feet, which works well for many RLS sufferers.
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Article originally appeared in our Silver and Gold magazine Winter 2017 issue. Click for more articles! www.silvergoldmagazine.ca
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