The restless leg syndrome (RLS) is the desire to move the legs usually because of a feeling of intense discomfort. This condition generally appears in the evening or when we go to bed at night. Moving the legs relieve the unpleasant feeling temporarily.
About 5% to 10% of the U.S. population has this syndrome. Although restless leg syndrome appears at any age, it is more common in middle aged and elderly individuals. Also it affects women more often than men.
Restless Leg has been found to be a genetic syndrome in some cases. In 50% of the patients with this condition, one parent has restless leg syndrome.
Hormonal changes also affect this syndrome during pregnancy. Fortunately, the symptoms disappear after delivery.
Majority of the cases with restless leg disappear after making some life style changes . Now let’s take a look at what we can do to relieve RLS:
1. Rule out the potential causes
To get rid of the restless leg syndrome, we should first detect the actual cause of the problem .RLS can be related to things that are largely out of your control, such as genetics or pregnancy. However, we can address some other factors that may be triggering this condition.
These factors include daily habits, an unbalanced diet, medications and some health conditions. Caffeine, tobacco products and alcohol are the factors increasing the symptoms of RLS.
Furthermore, some diseases such as anemia, iron deficiency and kidney failure may lead to RLS. Additionally, some medications are known to trigger the restless leg syndrome.
Avoiding unhealthy habits, being aware of the side effects of our medications and changing them after consulting our doctor may be helpful.
2. Apply massage with lavender oil.
Massaging the leg muscles reduces the effects of restless leg syndrome. American National Health and Sleep Foundation recommends the massage as a practicable treatment at home.
Lavender oil is used as a relaxant. It has many health benefits for various diseases.
Fill one fifth of a small spray bottle with lavender oil and fill the rest with water. Spray the mixture onto your legs and apply massage for 10 minutes before going to bed. Massaging increases blood circulation while lavender relaxes you and increases sleep quality.
You can also add 10 or 11 drops of lavender oil into a bucket filled with warm water and rest your feet in it for 10 minutes.
3. Use black mustard seed
A Turkish Professor, Dr. İbrahim Saraçoğlu has a research which shows that black mustard seed is a natural remedy for this condition. His recipe is as follows:
Swallow 1 tea spoon of black mustard seeds with water without chewing every morning and evening for 15 days. Then eat a half slice of bread.
After two weeks, continue swallowing the seeds only once per day. Go on for 2 weeks in this way and stop taking the seeds after one month.
Which nutrients are useful against the restless leg syndrome?
Magnesium is the best supplement that may be taken against restless leg syndrome. Magnesium deficiency is common in our modern society due to soil depletion. Moreover, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, medications and even stress can deplete the magnesium reserves of the body.
Studies reveal that certain leg muscles function differently in the individuals with restless leg syndrome. If the magnesium level of the body is normal, these muscle fibers relax and nervous system operates regularly.
Therefore, eating foods which contain magnesium or taking dietary supplements by consulting the doctor would be useful.
Iron is necessary for dopamine function in the body. Iron deficiency in the brain is detected in majority of the individuals with restless leg syndrome.
30% of RLS patients can reduce their symptoms by using iron supplements. In a study, iron deficient subjects saw a significant improvement in RLS symptoms after 12 weeks of using iron supplements.
However it would be wise to consult a physician and take iron supplements in accordance with your blood analysis results. Excessive iron intake may reduce the magnesium in the body. Furthermore, iron may cause an increase in certain pathogenic bacteria in the individuals with digestion disorders.
Selenium increases dopamine in the body. Dopamine is a hormone which is good for restless leg syndrome.
In a clinical experiment conducted in Iran, it was found that a daily intake of 50 micrograms of selenium is useful. This quantity may be easily obtained from foods. For instance, one Brazilian nut contains 77 microgram of selenium.
Fish, cheese, spinach, mushrooms, sunflower seeds and eggs also contain selenium.
4. Take Vitamin D
Vitamin D is known as feel happy hormone and it plays a vital role in restless legs syndrome.
Vitamin D increases dopamine levels of the body and protects the dopamine associated neurons from the toxins. In several studies, RLS has been associated with vitamin D deficiency .This means the more vitamin D deficient we are, the more severe RLS symptoms will be.
Vitamin D deficiency has a negative effect on our sleep. Restless leg syndrome also causes insomnia. Therefore intake of vitamin D can improve your sleep caused by restless leg syndrome.