RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME
Moving your legs is great exercise, but most people do it during the day. For those with restless leg syndrome, however, their legs really get moving at night, and that can be real problem.
Doctors aren’t sure what causes restless leg syndrome, but the symptoms are well known. Shortly after going to bed, people with this condition will begin having aches in their legs. Some people describe a pins and needles sensation. Others say they feel as though bugs are running around underneath the skin. The sensations can be maddening, and the only way to get relief is to twitch or kick the legs, or get up and walk around. And this can go on all night.
To keep your legs a little calmer, here’s what doctors advise.
Move your legs during the day. Probably the beset strategy for easing restless legs at night is to move your legs during the day. Doctors have found that people who walk, jog, or cycle daily often have fewer problems with restless legs than those who are more sedentary. Don’t exercise immediately before bedtime, though, because that can make it harder to get to sleep.
Give your muscles a rub . When your legs tingle at night, reach down and give them a vigorous massage. It won’t prevent the problem, but it may ease the discomfort.
Teach your legs to relax . Some people have found that a technique called progressive relaxation, in which each of the body’s muscles are relaxed one at a time, can help ease restless legs. Here’s how it works. While you’re lying in bed, breathe deeply for a few minutes. Then, starting at your feet and working upward to your head, tense each muscles for a few seconds, then relax slowly. Take your time. By the time you’ve reached the top of your head, your whole body will feel warm and relaxed – and your legs may be less restless, as well.
Take a warm bath. Taking a warm bath before bedtime can help ease the discomfort of restless legs. In fact, anything you can do to relax your body and mind may help your legs stay calmer.
Slow down on the stimulants. Drinking coffee or alcohol near bedtime can rev up your entire body, including the muscles and nerves in the legs. Doctors have found that some people with restless legs get significant relief when they give up coffee, cola and other caffeine containing foods and drinks.