How restless legs syndrome can affect your sleep

How restless legs syndrome can affect your sleep

How restless legs syndrome can affect your sleep

Are you a victim of Restless Legs Syndrome or have you heard about it?

It’s possible that you have felt an irresistible urge or strong desire to move your legs or kick your legs while you lay in bed. This is especially true if it keeps you awake at night or wakes you up. This urge may be accompanied by an uncomfortable or itchy feeling. Restless Legs Syndrome is a condition that causes you to feel tired or restless.

Although Restless Legs Syndrome is not dangerous, it could be a sign that you have a more severe condition. If left untreated, Restless Legs Syndrome can make it difficult for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. It can cause daytime sleepiness and sleep disorders such as insomnia. In fact, nearly 90 percent of those with Restless Legs Syndrome also have at least one sleep-related condition.

What is Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is also known as Willis Ekbom Disease. It is a neurological disorder in which a person feels an uncontrollable urge or feeling to move their legs.

RLS is most commonly characterized by a painful sensation in the lower limbs. This can be described as an uncomfortable, itching, creeping or throbbing feeling. RLS sufferers often move their legs constantly to relieve or prevent the discomfort. This is why Restless Legs Syndrome’s “restless” name was created.

RLS can cause a painful sensation and subsequent movement that can make it difficult to get a good night of sleep. The symptoms usually appear when the body is relaxed or after a long period of time. Nighttime is when symptoms tend to get worse.

Your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep can be negatively affected by the compulsion to move your legs. Restless Legs Syndrome can be associated with other serious conditions such as:

People with RLS often also suffer from PLMD, which is a condition known as Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. This condition is similar to RLS in that a patient will compulsively move limbs while sleeping, but it doesn’t cause the pain associated with Restless Legs Syndrome. Many PLMD patients don’t realize they’re moving at night. However, they may be awakened by their movements.

What causes restless legs syndrome?

Although most people with Restless Legs Syndrome experience the symptoms, it is more common in adults. Primary RLS is a term that describes cases of RLS without a known cause. Restless Legs Syndrome may also be a result of a genetic factor. Patients with a history of RLS have a higher likelihood of RLS developing at an earlier age, 45 years or less.

Secondary RLS is a term for cases of Restless Legs Syndrome with an identifiable cause. Secondary RLS can be caused by conditions such as iron deficiency, peripheral neuropathy or nerve damage beyond the brain and spinal chord.

RLS can also be caused by pregnancy. However, these symptoms don’t last and usually disappear after delivery.


Treatment options for Restless Legs Syndrome

RLS sufferers can receive a variety of medications. These include iron or magnesium supplements and anti-seizure medication, Gabapentin, enacarbil, and other benzodiazepines. Although medication is sometimes necessary for more severe cases, you can also make lifestyle changes to improve your chances of getting the restful sleep you desire.

1. Reduce your intake of Caffeine and Alcohol

You’ve probably been around for a while and know that alcohol or caffeine taken too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep. Caffeine’s stimulant effect keeps us awake while alcohol can cause snoring and more serious sleep disorders such as insomnia, circadian rhythm abnormalities, short sleep duration, and other sleep disorders.

The Essentials of Sleep

There are many lifestyle factors that can be modified to reduce your risk of developing RLS. For example, you may consume caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.

Lifestyle choices that promote a healthy lifestyle have an effect on RLS, and the likelihood of developing it. Participants who exercised regularly, maintained a healthy weight and drank alcohol were less likely to develop Restless Legs Syndrome. There was actually a correlation between healthy lifestyle choices and lower RLS risk.

2. 2. Proper sleep hygiene

A good sleep hygiene routine can make a big difference in your quality of sleep and help you to manage your RLS symptoms. There are a few things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene:

  • Every day, wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
  • Make sure your bedroom is comfortable and makes positive changes if necessary. Comfortable, supportive mattresses should be a priority. You might want to replace your mattress every ten years.
  • You should turn off all electronic devices (including phones and computers) at least one hour before you go to bed.
  • Relax before you go to bed. A warm bath or a shower can help relieve Restless Legs Syndrome symptoms.

3. Exercise

Regular, moderate exercise can not only make you look great but can also help you sleep well.

A study divided 28 people suffering from RLS into two groups. One group received an exercise program, while the control group did not. The exercise group saw significant improvement in their symptoms after 12 weeks, as compared to the controls, who did not see any improvement.

It is important to avoid exercising too close to bedtime. This can make it more difficult to fall asleep. To get your body moving and feeling energized, exercise earlier in the morning or in the early hours of the morning.

You should consult your doctor if you suspect that your RLS symptoms may be contributing to a sleeping disorder or worsening a underlying condition such as sleep apnea. These specialists can help you arrange a sleep study to determine your treatment options. This tool from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine can help you find accredited sleep specialists near you.

Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself fidgeting at your bedside every now and again. Fidgeting is an acceptable and temporary response to daily stimuli. RLS can make it difficult to get a good night of sleep, but it doesn’t have to. Restlessness can be easily replaced if you’re able to identify the problem and treat it properly.


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