Many of us have been there: You snuggle into bed, all comfy and cozy, exhausted after a long day, then — BAM — your legs start to twitch and ache, keeping you from getting much-needed slumber. Sound familiar? You may suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS), a frustrating condition that sabotages sleep. Learn more about this condition and ways to find relief so you can have sweet dreams.
The unbearable feeling of RLS affects a large percentage of people. And while the risk of developing RLS climbs by 63 percent in our 50s and beyond, German scientists found that drugs prescribed to treat the condition can actually worsen symptoms within two years. Luckily, these natural strategies offer reliable relief.
Or crunch on crudités. Orange juice, grapefruit juice, bell peppers, and broccoli are packed with vitamin C. That’s key since a study in the journal Sleep Medicine determined that folks who increased their daily intake of the vitamin cut their RLS symptoms by 44 percent within eight weeks. Study authors note that C combats oxidative stress, a cell-damaging process that can set RLS in motion.
Sleep with soap.
Placing a bar of soap under the top sheet of your bed near your bare feet calms RLS symptoms for 42 percent of folks. It allows soap’s muscle-relaxing magnesium to stay in contact with skin as you sleep.
Spruce up your space.
Whether you’re toting a turkey or setting out decor, the exercise you get while preparing for the holidays cuts RLS severity by 39 percent in six weeks, Penn State scientists say. Moderate physical activity (about 30 minutes of movement three times weekly) spurs the release of dopamine, which eases muscle spasms and involuntary movements.
Slip on socks.
Sleeping in compression socks puts gentle pressure on leg muscles that send RLS-easing signals to the brain. And a study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found it was more effective than drugs, helping folks sleep significantly better in eight weeks.
Consider pine bark.
A new Italian study found that taking 150 mg. of the pine bark extract Pycnogenol daily cuts RLS symptoms like itching, throbbing and aching by up to 72 percent in four weeks. Bioflavonoids curb inflammation and boost circulation. Try: Swanson Pycnogenol® Super Strength, (Buy from SwansonVitamins. com, $24.29).
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman's World.