I never really had an issue with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) until more recently. It probably started within the past 2 years. All of the sudden I would wake up in the middle of the night with this feeling that my legs wouldn't be still. Like, if I didn't move them I might explode. At times it would get worse and I wouldn't even be able to fall asleep at night because of this feeling.
I would end up walking around the house, kicking my legs on the bed, tossing and turning, going to get a snack, trying to run in place, jumping jacks, you name it...I tried it. RLS ended up causing many sleepless nights and lots of stress. I became so frustrated.
According to the RLS.org website ( a whole site dedicated just to understanding RLS!):
- Willis-Ekbom disease (WED), also known as restless legs syndrome or RLS, is a common and treatable neurologic disorder. WED/RLS results in an irresistible urge to move the legs or other parts of the body, often accompanied by unusual or unpleasant sensations that may be described as creeping, tugging or pulling. Because symptoms most often occurs in the evening, they can severely disrupt sleep and reduce quality of life.
- If you have WED/RLS, you are not alone. Up to 7–10 percent of the U.S. population is living with the disease. Although many people have a mild form, WED/RLS severely affects the lives of millions of individuals.
- You have a strong urge to move your legs (sometimes arms and trunk), usually accompanied or caused by uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations in the legs.
- Your symptoms begin or become worse when you are resting or inactive, such as when lying down or sitting.
- Your symptoms get better when you move, such as when you walk or stretch, at least as long as the activity continues.
- Your symptoms are worse in the evening or night than during the day, or only occur in the evening or nighttime hours.
- Your symptoms are not solely accounted for by another condition such as leg cramps, positional discomfort, leg swelling or arthritis. WED/RLS often causes difficulty in falling or staying asleep, one of the chief complaints of the syndrome. Many people who have the disease also have periodic limb movements (PLMs)—jerking of the arms or legs that is often associated with sleep disruption.
- Checking to see if you have an iron deficiency, and possibly supplementing your diet with iron.
- Examining other prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies you may be taking. For example, drugs commonly used to treat high blood pressure, nausea, colds, allergies and depression can trigger WED/RLS symptoms.
- Identifying any habits or activities that worsen your symptoms.
- Reviewing your diet to ensure it is healthy and balanced.
- Eliminating your alcohol intake after 6:00 p.m.
- Finding activities that help you cope. These might include walking, stretching, taking hot or cold baths, massage, acupressure or relaxation techniques.
- Finding ways to keep your mind engaged while you are sitting, with activities like discussions, needlework or video games.
- Eliminating caffeine from your diet to help you sleep better.
- Implementing a program of good sleep habits and coping strategies.
Now I usually try home remedies, but in my case, nothing usually works. I get to the point where I'll try anything, but usually with no luck. But, would you believe I found a weird but true remedy for RLS!? It's SOAP! I was reading the other day about RLS and some stuff to try. One remedy that got rave reviews was to put some soap under your sheets. Just pull up your fitted sheet and place a bar of soap at your toes. Place it in a spot where you can touch it with your feet. Re-make your bed and you are on your way!
Ok, so my husband, the kids, and I were at Trader Joe's the other day. My husband remembered I mentioned this soap idea, and when he came across a bar of lavender soap he put it in the cart. We got home, put the kids to bed, put the soap at my toes (under the sheets) and went to sleep. 5 days later...NO PROBLEMS! I have been sleeping so well! I seriously am astonished and excited! It's not often that random home remedies work, let alone consistently. I seriously have had no RLS signs or symptoms since we've put the soap at my feet. Who knows, it may be chalked up to the placebo effect. But, you know, I'll take it! Sometimes your mind can play tricks on you, you kind of have to find a way to reset your brain. Like I said, I did try other things, and this was the only one that worked for me. It's ridiculous, but true!
There's different reasons to hypothesize why the soap would work, but nothing really concrete. Don't worry about it! It's not harmful to you, it makes your bed smell good, and you are only out $3 if it doesn't work!