Wakey-Wakey! Caffeine and RLS

Last updated: April 2021

This just happens to be the name of the morning alarm on my phone. Just enough emphasis on "Get your body out of bed!" without being too forceful. But what when it's not your phone calling?

A symptom of one of my other conditions is sleep. I don't just oversleep or sleep odd hours, oh no! I sleep for roughly 12 hours at night and 4 to 6 hours during the day. In other words, I have to try very hard to stay awake!

My new Nespresso machine

Recently, I purchased a Nespresso (enter George Clooney, I thought! Funnily enough, he doesn't come with one!! Talk about false advertising!).

When you first open your new machine, you are given a selection of pods for free, varying in the range of strength from 4 (mild and fruity) to 12 (blow your head off, don't sit down for a week!).

No rest for the weary

As our DVR was groaning from the amount of TV we had recorded recently, I decided to test my reaction to caffeine by drinking the espresso sized pod at 12:00 midday. Oh, my good lord! By 4:00 PM, I was still awake! No napping for me!

In the back of my head, a thought was shouting at me and jumping up and down, waving. "Remember what caffeine does!!" Wafting it away with my imaginary hand, I sat down to watch more television, surprised by the fact I actually wasn't asleep.

The familiar creep of restless legs syndrome

8:00 PM ticked round. I was being hassled by Belle, the bulldog, as she wanted her bedtime banana with her medication in. Standing in the kitchen cutting up a banana, I felt a familiar creepy leg. The restless legs syndrome (RLS) creepy leg. But with a tweak.

After feeding Belle her supper, I went to bed, lying there on my phone with a dog snuggling herself into my thigh. The RLS creep reared its ugly head again. It still didn't feel like the usual sensation. Initiating a relaxation technique, I hoped to ward it off for another hour or so. Taking my CBD spray, I wriggled around, got as comfy as I ever do, and drifted off to sleep.

Caffeine makes my RLS worse

WAKEY-WAKEY!!! I was channeling Michael Flatley again! Legs going like the clappers with the creepy feeling ramped up to 100. It was then I realised what "The Thought" was trying to tell me...Caffeine ramps RLS up to maximum and then some.

Two days it took. Two days of practically non-stop RLS in all my limbs. Waving my arms around as if I was a fledgling learning to fly, doing laps of the house! It was utterly relentless. By the time I had managed to shake off the mega-creepy feeling, I had drunk 6 litres of water, trying to purge my body of the tiny, minuscule amount of espresso coffee I had drunk 2 days prior.

Lesson learned

Needless to say, I learned something that day. These are the days that will stick with you forever if you suffer from RLS. The memories of the worst symptoms, or reactions to something eaten or drunk, you can end up with a list as long as your arm of items that must be avoided at all cost.

I still drink coffee, mind you. Now, it is the largest size you can dispense from a Clooney machine. Diluted with a little more boiled water to ensure I never have an espresso day ever again!

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