Restless Leg Syndrome can be hard to deal with, even more so in the middle of the night. If your Restless Leg Syndrome is not linked to an underlying health condition, it can be managed a lot easier with just a few simple lifestyle changes.
If you are finding that your Restless Leg Syndrome is associated with pregnancy, it usually disappears on its own within four weeks of the birth.
- Avoid stimulants in the evening, such as caffeine, tobacco and alcohol.
- Don’t smoke.
- Take regular daily exercise, but avoid exercising near bedtime.
- Practise good sleep habits – for example, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, not napping during the day, taking time to relax before going to bed, and avoiding caffeine close to bedtime.
- Avoid medicines that trigger the symptoms or make them worse – if you think medication is causing your symptoms, continue to take it and make an appointment to see your GP
- Massaging your legs.
- Taking a hot bath in the evening.
- Applying a hot or cold compress to your leg muscles.
- Doing activities that distract your mind, such as reading or watching television.
- Relaxation exercises, such as yoga or tai chi.
- Walking and stretching.
Simple stretches you can try
- Calf stretch – Stretch out your arms so that your palms are flat against a wall and your elbows are nearly straight. Slightly bend your right knee and step your left leg back a foot or two, positioning its heel and foot flat on the floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Now, bend your left knee while still keeping its heel and foot flat on the floor. For a deeper stretch, move your foot back a bit farther. Switch legs and repeat.
- Front thigh stretch – Standing parallel to a wall for balance, grab and pull one of your ankles toward your buttock while keeping the other leg straight. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
- Hip stretch – Place the back of a chair against the wall for support and stand facing the chair. Raise your left foot up and rest it flat on the chair, with your knee bent. (Or try placing your foot on a stair while holding the railing for balance.) Keeping your spine as neutral as possible, press your pelvis forward gently until you feel a stretch at the top of your right thigh. Your pelvis will move forward only a little. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
There are different medications that may help to ease the discomfort of Restless Leg Syndrome, but we would recommend that you contact your GP before trying out any of these medications to see what is best suited for you.