When it comes to Restless Legs Syndrome, there are a number of home remedies available, including having sex, reducing caffeine consumption, walking regularly, drinking tea, getting a massage, and adding valerian to your herbal diet, among others.
Restless Legs Syndrome
If you’ve ever shaken yourself awake with a jerk of your leg or arm, then you’ve experienced the symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome. The disorder is mainly characterized by sudden or unpredictable twitches or jerks by the body’s limbs. While this primarily occurs in the legs, as the name implies, it can also affect the torso, head, and arms. Restless Legs Syndrome is considered a spectrum condition, as the range of severity may be quite drastic, ranging from mild annoyance to constant disruptions of sleep and a serious impact on quality of life. The twitching is actually the secondary symptom, as most people who suffer from RLS complain of itching, buzzing in the muscles, electrical impulses, or even the feeling of something crawling on the body, which results in the twitching, even when “asleep”.
These spasms most commonly occur in a resting wakefulness state, which often precedes sleep, or when the body is relaxed and stationary. There are many causes to RLS, but the most common explanation relates to the body’s iron stores. Basically, if you have an iron deficiency or have too much iron stored in your system, then RLS is much more likely to affect you. That being said, research has shown that RLS affects many other people suffering from other possibly causative conditions, such as sleep apnea, ADHD, thyroid disease, Parkinson’s disease, and magnesium deficiency, among others. While many physicians recommend everything from anti-emetics and antidepressants to dopamine agonists and anticonvulsants, there are also many natural ways for you to improve or eliminate the symptoms of restless legs syndrome. That being said, let’s take a closer look at the best home remedies for Restless Legs Syndrome.
11 Home Remedies for Restless Legs Syndrome
- Having Sex – One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to moderate your symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome is to have sex! The strong release of endorphins and the subsequent period of relaxation that follows intercourse is connected to a lower occurrence of RLS symptoms, so you can finally have a restful night sleep. As far as home remedies go, there’s few that are more fun to try!
- Lowering Caffeine Levels – As everyone knows, caffeine is known as an energy booster (or an essential part of every morning), but it is also a strong stimulant. If you consume high levels of caffeine, your body can remain stimulated by that “drug” all day, and well into the night. Stimulants affect the nervous system, which is the main system that is involved in Restless Legs Syndrome. If you’re suffering from RLS, one of the first ways to stop the symptoms is to pass on that last afternoon espresso – let your body calm down!
- Getting a Massage – A relaxing massage is a wonderful way to moderate or eliminate the symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome. Not only are you releasing toxins and working out painful muscle knots, you are also allowing your body and mind to slow down and unwind. Chronic stress and tension in the muscles can lead to RLS, and one of the best ways to beat stress and feel great is to dive into a massage once a month or so.
- Drinking Tea – Tea of all varieties contain soothing and beneficial compounds, including catechins, vitamins, polyphenols, flavonoids, and other anti-inflammatory substances. These can calm your mind and soothe the body, and are highly recommended for people suffering from RLS. Green tea and chamomile tea are two great places to start, and these are also great replacements for coffee in terms of high caffeine consumption.
- Add Valerian to Your Herbal Regimen – Valerian root is a highly respected herb and is widely known as a muscle-relaxing and sleep-inducing substance. Essentially, valerian herb can “kill two birds with one stone” – not only soothing the muscles so the spasms and tremors do not occur, but also deepening your sleep so those RLS symptoms that do occur aren’t strong enough to disrupt your rest.
- Taking Regular Walks – Keeping the blood flowing is important for health in general, but is also a key part of your home remedies for RLS. By ensuring that your circulation is in good shape, and that your metabolism is operating at a normal level, your body is going to be a more efficient machine from top to bottom, including iron absorption in your gut and your nervous system, which will prevent tremors and jerks in the night.
- Occupy Your Mind – You can compare Restless Legs Syndrome to your body being bored; essentially, your muscles start to spasm because they have been left still for too long, and various chemical and compound build-ups cause a spasm to occur. It’s hard to ignore, but the body could have something else to focus on. Some research has shown that occupying the mind before bed can help re-direct focus, and encourage sleep, rather than lying with your mind racing and your eyes closed. Try doing a crossword puzzle, Soduku, or reading a book, as this might just keep your legs in place!
- Stretch Regularly – Stretching is a key to our muscle health, and not only prevents injuries, but also reduces the occurrence of RLS. This is particularly true if you stretch before and after exercise, and before you go to sleep. The tension and pressure built up in the muscles can be released and won’t pop out in the form of an arm twitch in the middle of the night.
- Set a Schedule and Stick to It – Altering your bedtime ritual or not having a regular schedule for when and where you sleep can exacerbate RLS symptoms. If you are suffering from a more serious or chronic case, try to regulate your sleep patterns and get your body’s Circadian rhythms to a comfortable and normal level. This will help you get to sleep and stay that way, without unexpected distractions from your nervous system.
- Wear Socks – While the science behind this particular remedy isn’t fully understood, anecdotal evidence from people who have suffered from RLS say that wearing socks can reduce the symptoms. This may be due to the many nerve endings on the feet, which are more easily stimulated when barefoot.
- Modify Your Diet – Your diet can have a significant impact on your nervous system, just as it has on every aspect of your body. Depending on what condition is causing your RLS (iron deficiency, magnesium deficiency, diabetes, etc.), you will want to modify your diet accordingly. Boosting your iron intake is easy – just add red meat, beans, spinach and cereal – but every person will be different. Speak to a doctor about what the likely cause of your RLS is and then adjust your diet from there!