It’s nighttime. You are comfortable and relax in your bed. Then it begins- that crawling feeling in your legs. You cannot ignore it. The only way to find relief is to get up and move around. Walking helps, but when you lie down again, the same sensation returns. You want to sleep, but you cannot. If theses sound like something you experience, you are not alone. It is known as Restless leg syndrome (RLS).
Though many doctors today fail to diagnose or properly treat this disorder, it is not new. In 1685 a doctor wrote of those who after going to bed feel “so great a Restlessness” in their arms and legs that they “are no more able to sleep, than if they were in a place of the greatest torture.”
Part of the problem in recognizing this disorder is that there is no laboratory test that can determine if a person has it. It is identified by the symptoms it produces.
For some, RLS is a mild disorder with occasional symptoms. For others, it is much more serious, causing chronic insomnia (check my blogg at to read more on insomnia), resulting in daytime fatigue that interferes significantly with everyday life. It affects both sexes and is most common and more severe in older people. Most often it is diagnosed in people in their 50’s, though often the symptoms can be traced back to childhood. Because they can’t sit still or are constantly fidgeting, young people with RLS are frequently labeled as “hyperactive.”
Though experts recognize RLS to be a neurological disorder, its cause is difficult to pinpoint. In most of those who have it, the case is unknown. RLS has, however, been linked to certain factors. For example, RLS runs in families, passing genetically from parents to their children. Some pregnant women experience RLS symptoms, especially during the last months of pregnancy. After delivery, the disorder usually disappears. Sometimes medical disorders, such as low iron levels or a lack of certain vitamins, trigger RLS discomfort. Chronic diseases may also cause RLS symptoms – particularly kidney failure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and peripheral neuropathy, damage to the nerves in the hands and the feet
Sadly, there is no cure for RLS and the symptoms often worsen over the years. However, the good news is that RLS can be treated effectively, often without drugs. There is no one solution; what works for one person may not work for another a first step in treatment is to decide if there is some correctable medical condition that is causing RLS symptoms. A regular exercise program will help you get a good night’s sleep. However, vigorous exercise within the six hours before you go to bed may have the opposite effect. Some with RLS find that moderate exercise immediately before bed-time helps them sleep. Experiment with various exercise to discover what is best for you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s