Updated: Aug 2, 2019
10% of Americans suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).
That’s over 12 million people who have an uncomfortable crawling or tingling sensation in their legs as they’re laying down to sleep. With restless legs at night comes insomnia. And with insomnia comes day-time exhaustion. It’s a vicious cycle that can negatively impact your quality of life. (1)
If you’re in that group of folks who feels the uncontrollable urge to jiggle or move your legs when you’re sitting or lying down, you’re not alone.
As with most health concerns, every person is different, and it may take a bit of trial and error to find relief for your RLS symptoms. Try out a combination of the suggestions below to see what works best for you.
4 Pillars To Restless Leg Syndrome Relief
1 - Create a sleep routine.
Since your RLS symptoms will do their best to disrupt your sleep cycle, try to do everything else in your power to prime your body for sleep. Going to bed and waking up around the same time each day will help your body become accustomed to a sleep routine. Try limiting screen time, sipping on a warm caffeine-free herbal tea, and focusing on deep breathing exercises to help your mind and body unwind and prepare to rest. (2)
2 - Exercise.
There’s a careful balance to consider here. Not enough exercise can worsen symptoms, and too much can worsen symptoms. So what’s the sweet spot? A study conducted in 2006 concluded that moderate exercise performed three times a week helped reduce the severity of symptoms associated with Restless Leg Syndrome. (3)
Lower body exercises that help stretch and strengthen the legs can also be helpful, including walking, lunges, and stretches that focus on the hamstrings, calves and hips. Stretching can also do wonders for when your symptoms do flare up. Try a stretching sequence that activates your leg muscles to help burn off some of the restlessness. (1)
3 - Warm magnesium soaks.
Magnesium deficiencies can cause a calcium imbalance that makes it difficult for muscles to relax. Soaking in a tub with magnesium flakes can help restore proper magnesium levels in the body, the heat helps relax muscles, and the combination can help calm down any tingling or pain that you’re experiencing. If you don’t have time for a bath, try just soaking your legs and feet to really concentrate the treatment where it matters most. (1)
4 - Clean up your diet
Sometimes a deficiency can cause those pesky RLS symptoms. An easy first line of defense is to make sure that you’re diet is nutrient dense.
Do’s. Make sure that you’re eating plenty of foods packed with iron, magnesium, B-vitamins and folate. Grass-fed beef, sardines, beans, lentils, and dark leafy greens can help you get more iron. (1) Magnesium is found in foods like dark greens, pumpkin seeds, nuts and legumes. Adding in a high-quality B-vitamin that is easily absorbed by the body can make sure that your bases are covered. If an underlying nutrient or mineral deficiency is causing your symptoms, adjusting your diet or supplementing can help.
Don’ts. Avoid highly processed foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol and smoking. All of these can all make your RLS worse. (1)
You may feel like you’ve heard it before, but a balanced diet, exercise and sleep can go a long way towards improving your health. Let us know which of these tips work best at relieving your RLS…