You’ve had an exhausting day at work. You come home tired and all you can think about is getting a good night’s rest. You eat your dinner, watch your favorite TV show and decide it’s time to hit the bed. While you’re lying motionless in bed, trying to get some sleep, your legs seem uncontrollably restless and uneasy. You toss and turn, try to stretch your legs but you can’t shake off that feeling. If this scenario sounds awfully familiar, you may be suffering from something called Restless Leg Syndrome.
What is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), also called Willis-Ekbom Disease, is a neurological disorder that causes an urge to move the legs. As it interferes with sleep, it is also considered a sleeping disorder. People with RLS complain about having uncomfortable sensations in their legs which may range from mild discomfort to a crawling, burning or itchy feeling. The sensations are much worse in the evening and at night.
RLS is often unrecognized or misdiagnosed. The causes of RLS aren’t clear as they could be genetic, they may arise from chronic diseases, medical conditions or certain medication. Fortunately despite the cause, there are natural ways to deal with the restless leg syndrome.
Here are a few ways you can alleviate your RLS at home.
Try Hot or Cold Packs.
Applying warm and cold packs to your legs relaxes your muscles and can ease a lot of the pain and achiness associated with RLS. You can also relax your muscles by soaking them in hot water or using homemade ice packs.
Massage with essential oils.
Giving your legs a good massage with essential oils like vetiver before bed can help treat the RLS. Applying peppermint or lavender oil on your legs at night can alleviate the pain and irritation associated with this disease and aid in sleeping better.
Exercise and Relax!
Performing easy to moderate exercises every day can help not just your legs but your overall health too. Leg stretches, lunges and sit-ups can make a huge difference to ease the restless legs syndrome. If you’re not into exercising, do a 30-minute brisk walk. Before bed, you can try some relaxing activities like tai-chi, meditation or yoga. There are several asanas designed to relax the muscles around the legs.
Create a Sleep Schedule
As RLS interferes with sleep and causes fatigue, try creating a sleep schedule. Sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Creating a bedtime routine like reading or meditating makes it easier to fall asleep. Making your bedroom a comfortable, relaxing space by removing things that glow, digital clocks, etc. also improves sleep.
Take the Right Vitamins and Minerals
In some cases, RLS is caused by the lack of certain minerals and vitamins such as iron, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin B and vitamin D. Before packing supplements, it would be fairly wise to speak to your doctor as the use of supplements may interfere with medication or may make the condition worse. Know which minerals or vitamins you lack before taking them. Alternatively, eat food that is rich in these vitamins and minerals.
If you have RLS, avoid sitting in one position for too long and walk more often. Getting active is your ally in the fight against RLS. Avoid food and drinks that contain caffeine, including coffee, tea, soft drinks/energy drinks or chocolates. Consumption of tobacco and alcohol can trigger RLS or make it much worse. Making a few lifestyle changes can improve the condition but it would be wise to consult your doctor before you do so.
Do you have any home remedies you recommend to treat RLS? Do share them with us in the comments below.