Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS is a creepy crawly weird sensation typically that occurs in the legs that’s associated with an uncontrollable urge to move. This occurs at night when we’re getting into bed so we can’t fall asleep. In addition, you can twitch or jerk during sleep which can affect our bed partners. Both of these things can drive you and your bed partner crazy.
A good portion of people with insomnia wind up with RLS. It’s easy to diagnose. It’s just through a conversation with your doctor. You don’t need a lot of elaborate testing and you don’t need in most cases to spend the night at the center. Restless legs can occur in any age group but it is typically seen in middle-aged women as it’s likely to occur in women much more frequently than men.
So what causes restless legs? For the longest time it presumed as a psychiatric problem because it is so weird. How could it be anything else, but it is now known that it’s a brain chemistry problem. One problem is the lack of iron into our brain. This is why a lot of pregnant women tend to have Restless Leg because they are anemic and they run with low iron levels. But there is also a problem with a brain chemical. An important one called dopamine. Dopamine is needed for smooth muscle movement. If you don’t have dopamine firing the right way, you’re going to have weird movement just like you can see with Restless Legs.
Treatment for RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome)
The good news is it almost always works. Doctors can offer iron if you’re deficient or perhaps a medication that boosts dopamine in the brain. These drugs are very effective and generally well-tolerated. Behavioral changes that are likely to help might include some light exercise in the early evening, hot or cold packs on the legs or warm or cool baths. Maybe massage, little yoga stretching all this stuff really helps. Together with your doctors, doctors can easily to treat the restless legs and make you more comfortable.
Restless Leg Syndrome is one of the most common physical reasons why people can’t sleep, but sadly enough it is often not diagnosed. Patients either think it’s too weird to bring up or are not aware of the effective treatments that their doctors have to offer them. So you need to speak up and get that conversation going with your doctor in order to get some relief. And then both you and your bed partner are going to get a much better night’s sleep.