Living With Restless Legs Syndrome: What Does This Mean for You?

Do you know that feeling when you’ve been sitting too long and you have the urge to get up and stretch your legs? That’s what people with restless leg syndrome feel every day. You can imagine what that must feel like when trying to get some sleep. If you or a loved one has RLS, you understand how frustrating it can be with not only relaxed daytime activities but when you are trying to get some much-needed rest at night. It’s important to have an understanding of what this is and how it can impact you or those you love in order to not let it completely interrupt your life. 

What is RLS?

RLS is a neurologic sensorimotor disorder. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling in the legs that patients often describe as feeling like they have something crawling under their skin. Many have also likened it to a pins and needles feeling, pain or even itching. It happens when they are at rest, so people often find relief from movement or physical pressure on the legs. However, it usually is at its worst at night so finding relief isn’t always as easy.

Who is impacted by Restless Leg Syndrome?

Around ten percent of adults have RLS and two percent of children have it as well. Women are more likely to have the disorder but it can start at any age. Most often, middle-aged people and older are impacted with RLS. 

The cause of the syndrome is still not completely known. There has been evidence1 to suggest it is genetic. Many women develop it in pregnancy. It can also be attributed to low levels of iron in the brain. Some diseases may increase the likelihood of developing RLS such as Parkinson’s and Diabetes.

How to Cope

Anyone with restless leg syndrome will tell you how frustrating it is. While there isn’t a cure for it, there are some ways to manage the feelings. 

Some at-home relief can include:

  • Massage: Before bedtime, take a warm bath to relax your muscles and then follow it with some leg stretching and a massage. 
  • Activity: Keeping a consistent activity level during the day will help you at night. It’s important to keep the body moving and the blood flowing throughout the daytime. Be sure you are not overdoing it, but setting a pace for yourself that is manageable and repeatable every day. 
  • Cutting Out Caffeine & Alcohol: Having caffeine or alcohol before bed is going to make anyone’s sleep worse. Be sure to stay away from it before bed to not make the situation any worse. 
  • Develop Good Sleep Hygiene: Set yourself up for success by having a consistent sleep schedule, limiting caffeine, having a dark and relaxing bedroom and allowing yourself at least an hour of electronic-free relaxation before hitting the bed. 

Your doctor may suggest:

  • Iron Supplements
  • Anticonvulsants (typically prescribed for persons with seizures)
  • Similar medications prescribed to those with Parkinson’s Disease

Restless Leg Syndrome & Your Sleep

Restless Leg Syndrome itself is categorized as a sleep disorder because of how it impacts sleep. Those who have it are either up and walking around at night to relieve the discomfort or may have involuntary jolts that wake them at night. This constant state of awake time can lead to extreme exhaustion and other negative side effects associated with inadequate sleep2


It’s important to find ways to cope with RLS in order to have overall better health and rest. Not getting an appropriate amount of sleep can cause a host of other problems such as heart disease, memory issues, depression, weight gain and a higher risk of diabetes. 


If you have questions about RLS or sleep in general, reach out to us. We’d be happy to connect you with resources. 


  1. Genetic aspects of restless legs syndrome. V Dhawan, M Ali, K R Chaudhuri, Postgrad Med J. 2006 Oct; 82(972): 626–629. doi: 10.1136/pgmj.2006.045690 PMCID: PMC2653903
  2. Effects of restless legs syndrome (RLS) on sleep. Richard K Bogan, Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2006 Dec; 2(4): 513–519. PMCID: PMC2671944


  1. Vishal Kaushik Reply

    Great information. Thanks for sharing. Keep it up.

  2. Jimmy Mack Reply

    RLS is a nightmare.
    Been suffering since youth.
    I get it not only in knees, cut elbows and shoulders. My limbs jump my right out of a deep sleep. For what ever reason, vicodin helps. Its horrible. I tried the Parkinson’s med. Didn’t like the side effects.

  3. Chill F Reply

    I used to have it for so many years that I was not aware of (? too sleepy to realize it??). Every time I passed out and shut down the last second(s) into sleep, my leg twitched. Just like someone experience falling down a building or cliff right after fallen asleep. Then I realized that the strange feeling was so unbearable and I have insomnia since then. Days ago, I went to see my family doctor and was prescribed Klonopin? ( Clonazepam ) and it works miraculously!!! Now I can finally sleep soundly and comfortably. Thank God for doctor and modern medicine.

  4. John Reply

    I’m 90 this year-RLS a problem for many years evenings worst–I go to bed, being horizontal brings peace. If another time it starts in bed, I run up and down the stairs half a dozen times, then march round indoors——these opposites work for me.
    Travel is a nightmare, I’ve stood for over half the 11hr flight from family in California.

  5. Catherine Kraning Reply

    I find that Epsom salt soaks help relieve the jumpiness in my legs. Magnesium is the key.

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  8. Stephen Lingeman Reply

    If you suffer from severe RLS try this trick.
    Drink some water with 1-2g of baking soda mixed in right before bedtime. This is about the amount in 2 caplets, not a lot, a small amount on the tip of a butterknife is all it takes. This cures my RLS like a light switch.

    My RLS was connected to activity in my gut during the overnight. It is worse when I eat sugar. The baking soda reduces the acidity in my gut overnight which disrupts the cycle. I sleep like a baby now.

    Note that you can also buy 600 mg / 0.6 g baking soda tablets on Amazon. Two cures it for me. Best of luck.

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    Drink a lot of water and exercise would be good. Thank you for sharing this information.

  10. Cathy Pearson Reply

    Clonazepam is a Benzo and not good for you long-term. It’s also causes terrible withdraw symptoms. Magnesium works great when you take it at bedtime. Drinking pickle juice or swallowing a Tsp of yellow mustard works too.

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    Getting the kids out of bed in the morning is always a challenge. Thank you for providing this data.

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  29. Peter Nguyen Fitness Reply

    Personal training can play a crucial role in alleviating the symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). This neurological disorder, characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them, often disrupts sleep and daily activities. As a personal trainer I have been able to customize exercise routines tailored to the specific needs and limitations of my clients with RLS, promoting both physical fitness and symptom management.

    Exercise has improved their circulation and blood flow, reducing the discomfort associated with RLS. A well-rounded fitness program has also improve muscle strength and flexibility, minimizing the intensity and frequency of RLS sensations. Their workouts incorporate stretches and low-impact aerobic exercises, such as swimming or stationary cycling, which are often better tolerated with clients who have RLS.

    Also, exercise has heled them improved sleep quality, which is beneficial for RLS sufferers who frequently experience sleep disturbances. As a personal trainer, I educate my clients on the timing and type of exercise that may aid in better sleep patterns, ultimately enhancing their overall well-being.

    Personal training can provide individuals with RLS valuable guidance and motivation to engage in physical activity, manage their symptoms, and achieve a better quality of life by improving sleep and reducing discomfort in their legs.

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    Restless legs syndrome causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs which can create an overwhelming urge to move them.

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    Numerous others have also described it as hurting, itching, or even as pins and needles.

  36. heardle Reply

    Managing RLS typically involves lifestyle changes, addressing underlying medical conditions, and sometimes medication. Lifestyle changes may include adopting good sleep hygiene practices, regular exercise, and avoiding substances like caffeine and tobacco that can worsen symptoms. Iron supplements may be recommended if iron deficiency is identified as a contributing factor.

  37. Kelly Reply

    Baking soda helps because it lowers ammonia which has been found to be elevated in some people with RLS.

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