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9 Ways to Help Alleviate Restless Leg Syndrome & Get Better Sleep

by Ann Ferguson

Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS, consists of an uncontrollable urge to move your legs at night because of discomfort, which makes trying to sleep tricky. Some nights you sleep alright, but other nights you toss and turn all night and constantly wake up.

While RLS is often a symptom of other medical issues like iron deficiency or obesity, you don't have to deal with lousy sleep forever; there are ways to alleviate the pain of RLS and get the better sleep you deserve! See if any of these nine methods will work for you!

Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We encourage you to consult your physician if you are experiencing numbing pain in your body or other severe symptoms.

1. Reduce Your Stress

Person meditating on the couch

When it comes to RLS flare-ups, stress can be a massive trigger. So scheduling some "me time" every day to do things you enjoy is essential. Whether that means reading, taking a bath, or going for a walk, taking some time to disconnect will help your symptoms.

You can also try relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, meditation, or massage to help ease your tension.

2. Better Sleep Hygiene

Bad sleep is often the result of Restless Leg Syndrome, but did you know that constant fatigue can also worsen your symptoms? But don't worry; you can counteract the fatigue with better sleep hygiene.

This means establishing regular sleep patterns and sticking to them as much as possible. Make sure to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, avoid naps, keep your bedroom cool and quiet, and create a relaxing bedtime routine. You should also include a winding down routine for 30 minutes before you go to sleep.

Pro Tip: Aim for 7 hours of sleep a night!

3. Exercise

Person wearing sports shoes going up stairs/jogging

Another way to alleviate your symptoms is by exercising. With regular physical activity, you can help relieve the tension and pain in your legs. So be sure to try something like:

  • Go walking after your lunch.
  • Jogging in place to boost circulation.
  • Get up and walk around for 5 minutes every hour (if you sit down a lot for your job).
  • Stretching your legs when you get out of bed and during your bedtime routine.

Make sure you don't overdo it or work out too late in the day, as it could intensify your symptoms.

4. Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant and can make RLS symptoms worse. Try to avoid it after lunchtime if possible, and remove caffeine-containing products such as chocolate, coffee, tea, and soft drinks from your diet.

Give this a try for a whole week to see if you have any positive results!

5. Footwrap/Vibrating Pad

Other ways to alleviate symptoms include wearing a footwrap or using a vibrating pad. A footwrap will put pressure under the foot to help alleviate symptoms. But a vibrating pad will gently massage the back of the leg and promote better blood flow. You can even try using a combination of both!

6. Upgrade Your Mattress

Hands testing the feel of a new mattress

A comfortable, supportive mattress can make a world of difference when trying to sleep with RLS. First, you'll want to look for one that has a medium-level firmness to accommodate all your sleeping positions as you toss and turn. And then, you'll want to shop for specific mattress types that can alleviate your symptoms:

  • Memory Foam: has responsive material that molds to your body for pressure-free support and pain relief, which lets your muscles relax and heal. Memory foam mattresses also have excellent motion isolation.
  • Latex: the rubber tree sap material has a natural elasticity, reduces sinkage, and provides a slight lift. Heavy-set people will find better sleep on latex mattresses.
  • Hybrid: require a 2 to 3-inch foam comfort layer at the top to provide relief, while the pocketed spring coils offer better contouring and slight bounce. The type of foam is also essential, whether it's made of memory foam or latex.

Pro Tip: Avoid innerspring mattresses if you have RLS because the firmer feel and buoyancy create an uncomfortable surface to sleep on.

7. Sleeping Position

Woman lying spread out on her back

Along with a new mattress, how you sleep is essential to alleviating RLS symptoms. For instance, sleeping on your back is ideal because it evenly distributes your body weight and lets your back muscles relax. But you can also sleep on your side; just add a pillow between your legs from the knees to the thighs for extra support and improved circulation.

You can also try elevating your legs to a 45-degree angle to better increase blood flow to your legs and make sleeping more comfortable.

8. Weighted Blanket

Woman sleeping with a weighted blanket

Weighted blankets are becoming increasingly popular for people with various conditions, including RLS. The gentle pressure provides a soothing and comforting effect on the parts of your body that hurt. And it holds your legs down as you sleep and calms any movement.

What's even more beneficial is that the added weight makes your body release more serotonin, the "happiness" hormone, to help you relax. And since serotonin is the precursor hormone for melatonin, you'll also produce more of your body's natural sleep aid and rest deeper.

9. Adjustable Bed

Adjustable bed with the head elevated

Last but certainly not least — an adjustable bed works wonders for people who suffer from RLS. With an adjustable base, you can move the head and foot portion of your mattress by pressing a button. You can easily elevate your legs without extra pillows and stay comfortable the whole time.

Some models even have built-in massage and heating features, relieving RLS-related pain.

Pro Tip: Look for a heated mattress pad to apply heat to your sore muscles and provide a similar calming effect to a bath, so you can relax and drift easier into sleep.

Better Sleep is Here!

Of course, everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. But if you're struggling with RLS, it's worth trying out some of these methods to see if they help you get the better sleep you need. And what better place to start than with a new mattress from Westco Home Furnishings!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to stop by or give us a call! We'll help you find the mattress you need to sleep pain-free!