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Restless Legs Syndrome: What You Can Do

Symptoms of restless leg syndrome (RLS) can be treated. Together, you and your healthcare provider can work on your treatment plan. If needed, medicines may be prescribed. Also learn what you can do to ease your discomfort. Good sleep habits and a healthy lifestyle will help you rest better at night and have more energy during the day.

Working with your healthcare provider

RLS may occur on its own and may be passed on in families. It's sometimes linked to other medical problems. Low iron may cause some RLS symptoms. Your healthcare provider may order a lab test to check your iron level. You may be tested for other medical problems linked to RLS. These include heart disease, arterial hypertension, kidney disease, diabetes, Parkinson disease, and multiple sclerosis. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines to reduce your symptoms and help you sleep better. Most of these medicines are unlikely to provide long-term relief.

A doctor handing a patient medication bottle.

Tips for short-term relief

To reduce your discomfort, try the following:

  • Walking or stretching

  • Rubbing your legs

  • Having a massage

  • Taking a hot or cold bath

  • Doing activities that make muscles in your hands or legs work

  • Relaxing with yoga or meditation

Good sleep habits

Even though you have RLS, you can still have restful sleep. Try these good sleeping habits:

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.

  • Don't take naps or limit napping.

  • Make sure the bedroom is quiet, dark, and not too hot or too cold.

  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex.

Healthy lifestyle

Your lifestyle affects your health and your sleep. Here are some healthy habits:

  • Eat a balanced diet. To get enough vitamins and minerals, you may also need to take supplements.

  • Manage stress and learn ways to relax. Deep breathing techniques and visualization can help to relax your muscles and calm your mind.

  • Exercise regularly. It can help reduce stress. You will also have more energy during the day and be more tired at bedtime. Afternoon exercise is best. Nighttime exercise may affect how well you sleep.

© 2000-2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.