Not long after going to bed, your mind wants to slip off into nirvana, however your legs take part in a ritual of their own. You suddenly find your self with an irresistible urge to pull off the covers and walk the floor. Walking seems to be the only way to lessen that tickling feeling deep inside. You are not alone. The night is chock full of folks who attempt to walk off that frustrating tickling, burning irritation that comes with restless leg syndrome.
Just about ten percent of the populace suffer from this condition, also known as Ekbom’s syndrome, which strikes when it’s time for bed or within half an hour of resting. On occasion the thighs and arms get that tingly, tickling feeling as well. Both genders come down with the syndrome, but women who are pregnant make up a large amount of likely sufferers. After deliver the problem typically goes away.
It is not known for certain what causes the annoying sensations but the syndrome does tend to run in families. It maybe a brain chemistry malfunction that could affect signals from nerves to the arms and legs. Caffeine may be a culprit in giving your legs that twitchy feeling as well. A number of studies have shown that in some folks caffeine can change the chemical balance in the brain, which in turn will overly stimulate the nerves which send signals to the legs.
An overexposure to cold, stress, anxiety, iron-deficiency anemia, nicotine, and fatigue have all been linked to restless leg syndrome. If for example it’s accompanied by other symptoms such as tingling, cramping or numbness, it might be a sign of a thyroid disorder, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. In the majority of cases having restless leg syndrome seems to be more of an annoyance than a serious health concern. The symptoms are often temporary and tend to vanish on their own.
You should see your doctor however if you frequently have leg irritation that seriously interferes with sleeping. Also if your legs jerk suddenly and often with a frustrating crawling sensation under the skin.
Finding Symptom Relief
In addition to walking about, here are a few other tips to help your tingling legs:
- Try a nice lukewarm foot soak. Keeping your feet warm and toasty will help lesson the lactic acid buildup in the muscles which can add to your discomfort and will also boost blood flow.
- Try giving your calves a rubdown. Slowly stroke your calves from knee to ankle for a relaxing rubdown. It may help stimulate blood flow and help reduce restlessness in the lower leg. Also massaging your legs with a menthol containing product like Ben-Gay has been shown to help in suppression of nerve activity.
- Try an over-the-counter medicine that contains vitamin E and quinine. Taking two capsules seems to help quell restless legs. It also diminishes accompanying leg cramping.
- Take two Tylenol or aspirin right before sleep. It seems to help folks with restless leg syndrome get a better night’s sleep.
- Skip drinking caffeine in the evening. Obviously you’ll sleep better without the stimulating effects of caffeine whether or not you suffer from restless leg syndrome. For that matter trying to slash your caffeinated beverage intake during the day as well.
- Forget that after dinner cigar and nightcap. Alcohol and nicotine are chemicals that can hinder a deep, relaxing slumber. Drink some non caffeinated herbal tea instead.
- Taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement. There is a connection with having a deficiency in folate and zinc to restless leg syndrome, although the exact connection is vague. Make sure your diet includes fish, poultry, and lean meat in addition to supplements if you find that restless leg syndrome runs in your family.
- Take up exercise. Just 30 minutes of vigorous exercise like walking may help to eliminate stress and help relax the whole nervous system.
If these tips and tricks fail to help relieve your restless leg symptoms then it might be time to talk with your doctor about getting a prescription. Potential choices may include narcotics, sedatives, and dopa-minergic drugs. As with all prescriptions each may have its own complications and should be discussed in depth with your medical professional.
Restless Legs Syndrome: Relief and Hope for Sleepless Victims of a Hidden Epidemic, Yoakum, Robert, Touchstone 2006