Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS), causes unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them.The condition also causes leg pain and cramps. This discomfort in the legs, usually occurs after going to bed. As this can lead to insomnia, it is considered a sleep disorder. Restless legs syndrome may be classed as mild or severe, depending on the frequency and severity of the symptoms, how well the symptoms can be relieved by moving around, and how much disturbance they cause. People of any age, including children, can have RLS. However, the syndrome typically strikes older adults and affects women more often than men. Pregnant women can also develop RLS. Symptoms usually start in the third trimester. The reason pregnant women are particularly susceptible to RLS isn’t clear, but it may be related to

  • hormonal fluctuations

  • mineral deficiencies

  • an imbalance in the neurotransmitter dopamine

The good news is that in most pregnancy-related cases of RLS, symptoms disappear within days or weeks of the baby being born.

 

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) may happen because of mental or physical problems, or it may be an adverse effect of some medications. A problem with iron metabolism may also be a contributor, and genetics are thought to play a role. Our brains require iron to help produce dopamine, a chemical that helps the brain control movement.

 

You may be able to ease the symptoms, and improve your sleep, by:

  • Having hot baths, heat pads, ice packs and leg massages

  • Up your iron level intake

  • Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake

  • If you smoke, cutting back or quitting

  • Having healthy sleep habits

  • Managing stress

  • Supplementing with folic acid

  • Walking before going to bed

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
— Winston Churchill...

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill