11 Best Home Remedies for Restless Legs Syndrome

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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When it comes to restless legs syndrome, there are a number of home remedies available, including having sex, reducing caffeine consumption, walking regularly, drinking tea, getting a massage, and adding valerian to your herbal diet, among others.

What is Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome is a disorder mainly characterized by sudden or unpredictable twitches or jerks by the body’s limbs. While this primarily occurs in the legs, as the name implies, it can also affect the torso, head, and arms. These spasms most commonly occur in a resting wakefulness state, which often precedes sleep, or when the body is relaxed and stationary. There are many causes of RLS, but the most common explanation relates to the body’s iron stores. Basically, if you have an iron deficiency or have too much iron stored in your system, then RLS is much more likely to affect you. RLS affects many other people suffering from other possible causative conditions, such as sleep apnea, ADHD, thyroid disease, Parkinson’s disease, and magnesium deficiency, among others.



Home Remedies for Restless Legs Syndrome

While many physicians recommend everything from anti-emetics and antidepressants to dopamine agonists and anticonvulsants, there are also many natural ways for you to improve or eliminate the symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Let’s look at the best home remedies:

Having Sex

One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to moderate your symptoms of restless legs syndrome is to have sex! The strong release of endorphins and the subsequent period of relaxation that follows intercourse is connected to a lower occurrence of RLS symptoms, so you can finally have a restful night sleep.

Lowering Caffeine Levels

Caffeine is known as an energy booster, but it is also a strong stimulant. If you consume high levels of caffeine, your body can remain stimulated by that “drug” all day, and well into the night. Stimulants affect the nervous system, which is the main system that is involved in restless legs syndrome. If you’re suffering from RLS, one of the first ways to stop the symptoms is to pass on that last afternoon espresso – let your body calm down!

Getting a Massage

A relaxing massage is a wonderful way to moderate or eliminate the symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Not only are you releasing toxins and working out painful muscle knots, you are also allowing your body and mind to slow down and unwind. Chronic stress and tension in the muscles can lead to RLS, and one of the best ways to beat stress and feel great is to dive into a massage once a month or so.

Drinking Tea

Tea of all varieties contains soothing and beneficial compounds, including catechins, vitamins, polyphenols, flavonoids, and other anti-inflammatory substances. These can calm your mind and soothe the body and are highly recommended for people suffering from RLS. Green tea and chamomile tea are two great replacements for coffee in terms of high caffeine consumption.

Add Valerian to your Herbal Regimen

Valerian root is a highly respected herb and is widely known as a muscle-relaxing and sleep-inducing substance. Essentially, valerian herb can “kill two birds with one stone” – not only soothing the muscles so the spasms and tremors do not occur but also deepening your sleep so those RLS symptoms that do occur aren’t strong enough to disrupt your rest.

Home remedies for restless legs syndrome - infographic

Taking Regular Walks

Keeping the blood flowing is important for health in general, but is also a key part of your home remedies for RLS. By ensuring that your circulation is in good shape and that your metabolism is operating at a normal level, your body is going to be a more efficient machine from top to bottom, including iron absorption in your gut and your nervous system, which will prevent tremors and jerks in the night.

Occupying your Mind

You can compare restless legs syndrome to your body being bored; essentially, your muscles start to spasm because they have been left still for too long, and various chemical and compound build-ups cause a spasm to occur. It’s hard to ignore, but the body could have something else to focus on. Some research has shown that occupying the mind before bed can help re-direct focus, and encourage sleep, rather than lying with your mind racing and your eyes closed. Try doing a crossword puzzle, Soduku, or reading a book, as this might just keep your legs in place!

Stretching Regularly

Stretching is a key to our muscle health, and not only prevents injuries but also reduces the occurrence of RLS. This is particularly true if you stretch before and after exercise, and before you go to sleep. The tension and pressure built up in the muscles can be released and won’t pop out in the form of an arm twitch in the middle of the night.

Sticking to a Set Schedule

Altering your bedtime ritual or not having a regular schedule for when and where you sleep can exacerbate RLS symptoms. If you are suffering from a more serious or chronic case, try to regulate your sleep patterns and get your body’s Circadian rhythms to a comfortable and normal level. This will help you get to sleep and stay that way, without unexpected distractions from your nervous system.

Wearing Socks

While the science behind this particular remedy isn’t fully understood, people who have suffered from RLS says that wearing socks can reduce the symptoms. This may be due to the many nerve endings on the feet, which are more easily stimulated when barefoot.

Modifying your Diet

Your diet can have a significant impact on your nervous system, just as it has on every aspect of your body. Depending on what condition is causing your RLS (iron deficiency, magnesium deficiency, diabetes, etc.), you will want to modify your diet accordingly. Boosting your iron intake is easy – just add red meat, beans, spinach, and cereal – but every person will be different. Speak to a doctor about what the likely cause of your RLS is and then adjust your diet from there!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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