Are you tired despite getting a good night’s sleep? Do you kick your blankets or bed partner around all night? If so, you may have restless legs syndrome (RLS), where your legs are running a marathon all night while you sleep. The good news is that in many this will go away by simply treating even mild iron deficiency (where the iron labs are normal).
People with restless legs syndrome continually move their legs while sleeping. Although some people may have a disagreeable leg sensation and sense of restlessness, it is not uncommon for only your bed partner to be aware that your legs are kicking much of the night or are constantly moving.
Although the cause of RLS is not clear, it can be aggravated by iron and other nutritional deficiencies, hypothyroidism, and low blood sugars while sleeping. If you have daytime fatigue and your blankets are scattered around when you wake up or your bed partner notes that your legs move a lot during the night, restless legs syndrome may well be a problem for you.
Although a sleep study can make the diagnosis, it usually runs approximately $2,000 and you may simply choose to videotape yourself for an hour or two while sleeping, instead, to see if this is a problem.
There are both natural and prescription approaches to treatment. Natural remedies focus on diet and nutritional supplementation:
• Check a ferritin blood test and see the results yourself. Take iron till the ferritin level is at least 60 (even though the test is considered "normal" if it is over 9). In addition, the iron percent saturation should be over 22%.
• Avoiding caffeine is important. Because RLS may be associated with hypoglycemia, eating a sugar-free, high-protein diet with a protein snack at night may be helpful.
• In addition, vitamin C, tryptophan, and folic acid may also be helpful.
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