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Restless Legs Syndrome: What You Can Do

Symptoms of restless leg syndrome (RLS) can be treated. Together, you and your health care provider can work on your treatment plan. If needed, medications may be prescribed. Also learn what you can do to ease your discomfort. Good sleep habits and a healthy lifestyle will help you rest better at night and have more energy during the day.

A doctor handing a patient medication bottle.

Working with your health care provider

RLS may occur on its own and may be passed on in families. It is sometimes linked to other medical problems. Low iron may cause some RLS symptoms. Your health care provider may order a lab test to check your iron level. Other medical problems associated with RLS are kidney disease, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce your symptoms and help you sleep better.

Tips for temporary relief

To reduce your discomfort, try the following:

  • Walking or stretching

  • Rubbing your legs

  • Having a massage

  • Taking a hot or cold bath

  • Doing activities that make muscles in your hands or legs work

  • Relaxing with yoga or meditation

Good sleep habits

Even though you have RLS, you can still have restful sleep. Try these good sleeping habits:

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.

  • Avoid or limit naps.

  • Make sure the bedroom is quiet, dark, and not too hot or too cold.

  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex.

Healthy lifestyle

Your lifestyle affects your health and your sleep. Here are some healthy habits:

  • Eat a balanced diet. To get enough vitamins and minerals, you may also need to take supplements.

  • Manage stress and learn ways to relax. Deep breathing techniques and visualization can help to relax your muscles and calm your mind.

  • Exercise regularly. It can help reduce stress. Also, you will have more energy during the day and be more tired at bedtime. Afternoon exercise is best. Nighttime exercise may affect how well you sleep.

  • Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine.


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