To the 10 percent of Americans who suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS), it is difficult to describe and difficult to live with. This uncomfortable condition is defined by an irresistible urge to move or stretch the legs - those who have RLS (also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease) describe it as a crawling, creeping and aching feeling.
Although it can occur at all hours of the day, it is particularly noticeable at night when one is trying to rest, relax and settle in to go to sleep. What can you do to help reduce the crawling feeling in your leg and go to sleep? Is there a way to avoid restless legs in bed?
Practice Good Sleep Habits
Best sleep practices always include going to bed at the same time each night, keeping your bedroom dark, cool and quiet as well as avoiding distractions - such as smart phones, electronics and other screens two to three hours before bed time.
Get up off that couch and move during the day! Exercise has shown to improve the discomfort of RLS - one study found that aerobic exercise and lower body resistance training consistently performed three times per week for 12 weeks significantly helped reduce the symptoms in those who suffered from RLS.
Eliminate the Bad
Smoking has detrimental health effects on everything from your pulmonary system to your circulatory system. Smoking also affects your nervous system. If you haven't already done so, kick that nicotine habit. And, although a glass of wine is relaxing before bedtime, it can exacerbate RLS symptoms.
Compression Socks and Foam Rollers
These are relatively easy solutions to help your RLS symptoms. Some studies have shown that the use of compression stockings an hour before bed may ease RLS discomfort. Additionally, a nightly leg rub-down with a foam roller for five to 10 minutes will help get the blood circulating in your leg muscles.
Soak in Epson Salts
It has been proven by studies that a hot bath taken one to two hours before bedtime will help regulate your body temperature. Adding some Epsom salts and soaking your legs may help your RLS, too.
Restless leg syndrome is an uncomfortable condition that can be almost unbearable at night. It is always important to rule out any medical conditions, such as vitamin deficiencies, before resorting to other methods. If relentless RLS continues to haunt you, it is important to see your doctor for underlying causes.