Restless Leg Syndrome; How To Protect Against It
Restless Leg Syndrome is a type of sleep problem resulting from a nervous system disorder, known to cause severe discomfort and affect sleep quality.
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Restless Leg Syndrome Explained
Have you heard of Willis-Ekbom disease? It’s more commonly known as Restless leg syndrome. A nervous system disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move your legs.
Likewise, we consider RLS a sleep disorder because it intensifies at night and prevents you from sleeping peacefully. Also, the condition worsens in the evening when you are sitting or watching TV.
Additionally, according to WebMD, RLS affects 10% of the U.S population, anyone is susceptible to contracting it.
Recognizing Restless Leg Syndrome
- Firstly, you may experience a throbbing, itching, crawling, pins and needles, pulling, or an aching feeling so strong you want to move your legs to shake it off.
- Secondly, you will notice it gets worse when you are sitting down or inactive. Further making you feel like walking or moving about to ease the pain.
- Thirdly, you may feel moving helps reduce the pressure, but it gets worse at night while you try to sleep.
- Fourthly, there is no way to explain it as a result of another behavior or medical condition.
- Above all, these symptoms are anywhere between mild to unbearable.
Restless Leg Syndrome or Willis-Ekbom disease and its causes
Subsequently, studies found that more than 40% of the people suffering from the disease have a family history. For example, it usually starts before the age of 40. Further suggesting that family genetics play a role in whether or not you are affected by RLS.
Additionally, researchers have also found a connection between RLS and iron deficiency in your brain. Likewise, even if blood test results show enough iron in your blood. Kidney failure or iron deficiency is also known to cause RLS.
However, scientists have also found that RLS could disrupt the brain’s dopamine pathways. In other words, the body’s reward system. They found patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease show symptoms of RLS. For instance, this disease is also connected with the disruption of dopamine levels. Although more studies are necessary to come to reliable conclusions about this.
Restless Leg Syndrome and Vitamin D deficiency
For example, a survey by Dove Medical Press examines the connection between Vitamin D deficiency and RLS.
Firstly, they divided 155 participants into two groups and administered Vitamin D only to one. To clarify, they were all patients at the Department Of Internal Medicine and suffered from musculoskeletal problems. Subsequently, they monitored the groups for RLS or other associated diseases. As a result, they found that the group with Vitamin D deficiency showed a higher RLS presence than the other. While more research is necessary to establish Vitamin D as a treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome. They could establish a link between the two.
In the same vein, 1 in 5 pregnant women suffers from RLS in the last three months of their pregnancy. Researchers are still trying to figure out why this happens.
Treating Restless Leg Syndrome
Similarly, if you experience some of the above symptoms, visit a neurologist for diagnosis and avoid self-treatment.
Treating RLS requires regular sleeping hours, abstaining from alcohol and caffeine before bedtime.
Also, you will need to exercise regularly and quit smoking if you are a smoker.
Home Treatment For Restless Leg Syndrome
You still need a consultation before beginning any self-diagnosis. However, you can always treat it at home after visiting your doctor.
Adjust your sleep timing.
For instance, research has found adjusting your sleep timing. For example, sleeping waking up earlier can help combat restless leg syndrome. Chiefly, low cortisol levels in the evening have been connected with an increase in the symptoms. Cortisol is a hormone that responds to stress by regulating blood sugar and fighting infection. Similarly, read more about how healthy sleep patterns are affected by your circadian rhythm in our blog post.
Reduce the consumption of caffeine
Consequently, caffeine is a trigger for restless leg syndrome, it is best to avoid drinking too much coffee. In short, caffeine in the morning can stay in your bloodstream for 12 hours. Therefore hindering your sleep quality at night.
However, coffee is not the only drink with caffeine you should avoid, like tea, cola, energy drinks, chocolate, etc.
Meanwhile, experiments found that warm baths before bed help better sleep if you suffer from RLS. You can try essential oils like lavender that are soothing while taking a bath.
Get Lots Of Vitamin D
My colleague’s daughter began showing symptoms of RLS. She would kick a lot during the night time and have trouble sleeping as a baby. As a result, she suspected that sunlight exposure might have something to do with her daughter’s condition. She subsequently noticed that the symptoms disappeared after her daughter spent more time in the sun. Moreover, Sunlight is an excellent source of Vitamin D and essential for our health.
While RLS can affect people of any age, it is often seen to occur to middle-aged persons. Women are also more likely to develop it.
However, in severe conditions, doctors may prescribe medication to treat Restless Leg Syndrome. It’s best to consult a physician before taking any medicine for this condition.