treating restless legs

Where do you start?

Here is my top advice if you are trying to tackle RLS


1. Firstly, work out whether you have RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome) or PLMD (Periodic Limb Movement Disorder) or both. Treatments for one condition might also be successful for the other but my advice is when you’re trialling treatments, track each disorder separately.

2. Go into detective mode. Keep a daily journal of your symptoms and any triggers that you think might have had an impact.

3. Consult your doctor. It is very important you are able to talk to your doctor about this. Even though some doctors are unfamiliar with RLS and treatments, they need to take it seriously and research possible options for you. They should be open to arranging further testing, for example testing on mineral deficiencies or nerve function, if that’s what you would like to do. In short, your doctor should be your detective partner in helping you manage RLS. This is a pretty mysterious illness so if you’re getting anything short of absolute dedication then you might need a new medical partner, even if just for RLS.

4. Trial treatments objectively. Give each treatment enough time to determine whether it has been effective. I recommend 4-6 weeks for nutritional changes and at least 2 weeks for other treatments. Take notes of the impact they have.

5. Implement best sleep practices. Do everything you can to give yourself the best chance of a great night’s sleep. This might mean changes to your bedroom, sleep timing, foods, exercise etc.

6. Get support. Share your frustrations with a friend or family member. Join the online forums to discuss your issues and see how other people are solving their problems.

7. Before you consider prescribed medication, make sure you have all the facts. Are there several different options available? What are the likely side effects? Will they become less effective over time?

8. Your intuition will go a long way in deciding which treatments or remedies to try. Despite the advice you might receive, you should make the important decisions. 

9. Keep trying new things, even if you don’t feel like it. If you can improve your comfort levels by just 10-20%, that could be whole lot more sleep.