Restless Legs At Night (2021)

Updated March, 2021
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Restless legs syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes the uncontrollable urge to move your legs at night. It's caused by a variety of factors, including genes, gender, and vitamin deficiency. There are a few things you can do to help manage your RLS, such as nightly leg massages, supplements, and over-the-counter medication.

What is restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

Restless legs syndrome is a sleep disorder suffered by approximately 10% percent of the adult population. The main symptom is the sudden, recurring sensation to move your legs. The disorder peaks at night, and the sensation can be described as an urge, a pain, or twitch. It can significantly reduce sleep quality, causing impairments in daily routine.

What causes restless legs?

Like other conditions characterized as a "syndrome," RLS doesn't have a single, definable cause. However, there are a few factors known to increase the risk of suffering from RLS.

  • Genes. Evidence suggests there's a genetic component to RLS. It's currently classified as "partially heritable," meaning that other factors determine if you have this disorder. However, it's more likely your RLS is genetic if you develop the syndrome before 40.
  • Gender. In general, women are more likely to develop RLS. Symptoms have been known to worsen during pregnancy, specifically in the third trimester. A study also found that 69% of women self-reported their RLS symptoms worsened during menopause.
  • Iron. One of RLS's most promising scientific links suggests that the illness can materialize due to low iron levels in the blood.

What are things I can do to relieve my restless legs?

If you suffer from RLS, there are some helpful home remedies you could try to alleviate your symptoms. Here are just a few:

  • Leg massages before bed are one of the easiest and most efficient ways to soothe and even prevent RLS sensations during the night. Experts suggest approximately 30 minutes of leg stimulation per night can be enough to address your symptoms and help achieve better quality sleep.
  • Supplements like iron tablets can also help correct any vitamin imbalance that may be contributing to your RLS. Other possible supplements include vitamins C, D, and E.
  • Over-the-counter medications from your local pharmacy may be able to help. Of course, ask your doctor before starting any course of treatment.
  • Change your sleep environment. Making alterations like new bedding, different curtains, or keeping the air conditioner on low at night improves your sleep quality. You should also consider replacing your old, uncomfortable mattress with a newer, more comfortable model.

Will a new mattress help with restless legs?

No single treatment will resolve this condition. However, a new mattress helps you find the comfort you need to sleep more deeply and reduce the number of times your RLS wakes you in the night. If you're suffering from this condition, there are several things you could, and should, do to minimize your symptoms and work toward a better night's sleep. Choosing to replace your mattress is a decisive step in the right direction toward taking back your quality sleep.

When can I expect my restless legs syndrome to end?

Remember, this is a chronic condition. Any steps you take to resolve it requires a commitment to take your health into your own hands. However, if you find a course of treatment that works and integrate it into your daily routine, you can expect to find some relief within, at the latest, a few weeks.

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