Having a sleepless night now and then can be annoying. But when you have restless legs syndrome (RLS), going without sleep night after night can make life miserable. You may be so tired that you just feel like crying.
If restless legs are robbing you of sleep, you're not alone. But there may be some things you can do for yourself to make it easier to get a good night's sleep, especially if your symptoms are mild.
How can you make changes to sleep better?
If your RLS symptoms are mild, you may be able to get a good night's sleep most nights by making some changes in your lifestyle. Make sure to follow these general sleep tips:
During the day
Don't drink liquids that have caffeine (coffee, tea, some sodas), especially 4 to 6 hours before bedtime.
Don't use tobacco, especially near bedtime or if you wake up during the night. Nicotine is a stimulant, which means it makes you more alert and more awake.
Don't drink alcohol late in the evening.
Get regular exercise, but don't exercise within 3 or 4 hours of bedtime.
Get plenty of sunlight in the outdoors, especially in late afternoon.
Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime. A light snack may help you sleep.
Don't go to bed thirsty, but don't drink so much that you have to keep getting up to go to the bathroom.
Set aside time for solving problems earlier in the day so you don't carry anxious thoughts to bed. Try writing down your worries in a "worry book," and then set it aside well before bedtime.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.