Is Restless Legs Syndrome Affecting Your Sleep?
You may know it as the urge to move or jerk your legs when you’re sitting or lying still, especially at night. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) occurs when brain cells send false signals of pain, discomfort, tingling and itchiness to nerve endings in the legs (and vice versa). Moving your legs turns off these signals, but the creepy-crawly sensations return as soon as you’re still again.
The syndrome is thought to result from an overproduction of the brain chemical dopamine during the day, which leads to an underproduction at night. Here’s what to do if your itchy, jerking legs keep you awake at night.
1. Get Up and Walk
Get out of bed and walk for 10 minutes. Walking stimulates the nerves in your legs, turning off the itching signals to your brain. Why only 10 minutes? Research has found that moderate exercise can improve symptoms, but excessive exercise makes them worse.