Have you ever dealt with restless leg syndrome?
If you have, you know that it’s no fun! It’s one of those things, like a lot of health conditions, that can be a little hard to describe to someone who has never felt it. I get it during pregnancy, and it’s awful, so I felt inspired to collect some helpful tips for anyone else dealing with it.
It keeps you up at night.
In this post, I’m going to talk about what triggers restless leg syndrome symptoms, and what you can do to find relief (even if you’re pregnant). Keep reading if you’re one of the many that suffer!
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Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with depression and anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.
What triggers restless leg syndrome?
Restless leg syndrome symptoms can be very hard to live with. So, as with any health issues, it’s important to educate yourself as to the causes and ways to find relief. MayoClinic says:
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation. It typically happens in the evening or nighttime hours when you’re sitting or lying down. Moving eases the unpleasant feeling temporarily. Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, can begin at any age and generally worsens as you age. It can disrupt sleep, which interferes with daily activities.Restless leg syndrome
Here are some of the most common causes and risk factors that you need to be aware of (according to the same article linked above):
- Getting older
- Being female
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Iron deficiency
- Kidney failure
- Spinal conditions
As always, make sure to consult with your doctor if you are experiencing restless leg syndrome symptoms. This post should not be taken as a medical diagnosis.
11 restless leg syndrome symptoms
MayoClinic says that there are 11 common restless leg syndrome symptoms to be aware of. (See the above link for more info) You might not experience all of these, and might only deal with a couple. If you think you might have restless leg syndrome, consult with your primary care physician.
- A sensation in your leg that starts after lying down
- It feels better with movement
- The symptoms get worse in the evening
- Legs twitching at night
- An “electric” sensation
It is definitely not a pleasant condition and can affect your quality of life, keeping you tired during the day. Luckily, there are some things you can do to find relief.
What you can do to find relief
Healthline recommends the following solutions for dealing with your restless leg syndrome symptoms.
Reduce or eliminate your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
Strive for a regular sleep schedule, with the same bedtime and wake-up time every day of the week.
Get some exercise every day, such as walking or swimming.
Massage or stretch your leg muscles in the evening.
Soak in a hot bath before bed.
Use a heating pad or ice pack when you experience symptoms.
Practice yoga or meditation.
Along with these helping with RLS, these are also really great forms of self care anyway! They can also help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression, so they’re definitely worth a shot.
Personally, I also take magnesium every evening and iron multiple times a week. If you think your RLS issues could be caused by a vitamin/nutritional issues, ask your doctor for more info before you start a supplement regimen.
Dealing with restless leg syndrome in pregnancy
A lot of women (myself included) experience restless leg syndrome while pregnant. The above recommendations can still be applicable! Pace yourself, and focus on one of these at a time. No one wants to overwhelm their bodies more while they’re already overwhelmed to begin with.
- Reduce or eliminate your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. This is something you should be doing anyway! As far as caffeine, most healthcare providers say you can have up to 200mg (unless you have another medical condition that prohibits it). I find limiting my caffeine to the morning hours helps with the restless leg syndrome symptoms as well.
- Strive for a regular sleep schedule, with the same bedtime and wake-up time every day of the week. This can get complicated with those middle of the night bathroom breaks, but try your best!
- Get some exercise every day, such as walking or swimming. I know this can be hard during pregnancy when you’re tired and everything hurts, but give it a try. Even just vacuuming the house can help!
- Massage or stretch your leg muscles in the evening. Massage during pregnancy comes with a bit of controversy, so consult with your OB before engaging in a rigorous massage routine. But a simple rub down of your leg muscles and a good stretch can be really helpful!
- Soak in a WARM bath before bed. It is not advised for pregnant women to take hot baths, but you can certainly enjoy a warm bath with a bit of epsom salt to help soothe achy muscles.
- Use a heating pad or ice pack when you experience symptoms. Heating pads are another source of controversy during pregnancy. So definitely consult your doctor. But you can try icing any muscles that need some relief.
- Practice yoga or meditation. This is a great self care practice in general! There are a lot of great pregnancy related yoga or meditation videos on Youtube to try that don’t take a ton of time.
It can be hard to deal with restless leg syndrome in pregnancy, but there are ways to manage!
Restless leg syndrome does not have to ruin your night
If you live with restless leg syndrome symptoms, have no fear. It’s very manageable with the right self care and guidance from your doctor. You deserve a good night’s sleep!
Have you ever dealt with RLS? How did you manage? I would love to hear about it in the comments! Also, make sure to share this post if you found it helpful.