Restless legs is an uncomfortable feeling in the legs usually happening at night when people try to fall asleep. Some people experience restless legs during the day when they lie down or remain seated for too long.
For those who suffer from restless legs, treatment is something they seek aggressively. Not all treatments work, so finding the one that works can be quite frustrating. This is especially true since lack of sleep can increase stress making restless legs even harder to deal with at night and during the day.
Most people try to treat restless legs at home before seeing the doctor. It’s better to see the doctor before trying to treat restless legs at home, though. Sometimes, the condition can be the sign of another more serious health condition. It’s good to make sure there isn’t anything else that could be the cause, so that can be treated first.
Hot and Cold Compresses and Massage
If the doctor finds you suffer from restless legs, you may want to try hot and cold compresses and massage. It’s best to alternate between hot and cold, and then massage the legs. Some people find relaxing in a hot tub before bed helps them get to sleep faster without dealing with the restless legs.
Light to moderate exercise can decrease restless legs intensity and frequency. Don’t overdo it, though. When you overdo exercise, it could make restless legs worse. A brisk walk for a half hour is good enough to help the condition.
It may also help to practice some relaxation techniques. Praying, meditation, and yoga can lower stress levels, which can help the condition.
Restless legs syndrome may be caused by not having the right amounts of certain vitamins and minerals. Speak to your doctor about a blood test that can help identify if you’re deficient in a vitamin or mineral, and then you can use supplements to get what you need.
Improve Sleep Environment
It’s important to improve your sleep environment by making sure it’s a place where you can relax and get ready for sleep. This means there shouldn’t be anything work-related in the bedroom. You should not have a television inside your bedroom. This can be a sacrifice, but it’s worth it for better sleep. Digital clocks and any electronics that glow should also be removed.
Your linens make a difference. Invest in comfortable sheets, blankets and pillows. They should be cleaned regularly.
Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature. Experts say that 68 degrees is the perfect temperature, but you should set it at a temperature you’re most comfortable.
Medications – Over-the-Counter
Over-the-counter medications can help with the uncomfortableness and pain of restless legs. You can take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. It’s not a good idea to take these medications for a long time because they can lead to stomach problems, internal bleeding and heart problems.
Medications – Prescriptions
If restless legs gets to the point where you can’t get a good night’s sleep for many nights no matter what you try, you may want to talk to the doctor about prescription medication. Some doctors will prescribe muscle relaxants or sleep aids.
Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant medication, treats seizures and can help restless legs. It helps lower excitement in the brain, which is what can cause the restless legs. The trust is that researchers still have been unable to identify what causes restless legs syndrome, but it seems to be connected to what causes seizures or epilepsy.
What to Avoid
Caffeine can make restless legs worse. Try to avoid coffee, tea, sodas, and chocolate. Tobacco and alcohol can make restless legs worse, so try to stay away from those as well. For those who have these in their diet, it may take a week or more before the symptoms of restless legs subside.
The best choice is to speak to your doctor about your restless legs symptoms. If it’s nothing to worry about, you can discuss some of the treatments mentioned here to see which one is best for you. If you find the home remedies don’t work, you can then step up to the over-the-counter medication or prescriptions. With time and adjustments to your lifestyle, you may just find something that works to relief the uncomfortableness you are feeling in your legs, so you can sleep better at night.