a woman experiencing RLS symptoms while stepping from the sun to the moon

Early Evening RLS Onset Problems

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is pretty much considered a sleep disorder. Don’t get me wrong – it is seriously severe at night. It drives me up the wall at night.

However, it has begun to start earlier and earlier, and that is really getting on my nerves. For me, it definitely has gotten worse with time, so there is that.

However, recently it has been occurring at an earlier time for no apparent reason, and I was pretty determined to figure out why that was.

Restless legs in the early evening

I now get RLS in one leg, or sometimes both, right around 6:30 PM, and sometimes earlier. Just about after dinner when I want to relax. Nope, no relaxing for me.

Generally, I would get it just when I went to bed. It would be quite severe and in my arms and legs. Sometimes even my torso. There were times I would get it during the daytime or evening when at long periods of rest, but it wasn’t the norm. I could manage that by walking about or doing stretches. It wasn’t my typical pattern, maybe from a long car ride or something.

Things I do to cope

When RLS comes on during the early evening, it just seems to start in only the legs and milder than when I get it at night. Annoyingly persistent, though. I can’t ignore it.

Things I try to do when RLS starts in the early evening:

  • Ignore it. This causes the intense urge to jerk my legs.
  • Shake my legs.
  • Rock on the couch.
  • Get up and walk around.
  • Do some stretches.
  • I take my magnesium earlier.

Persistent symptoms

And yet, it persists. It even gets worse. I don’t like to take my levodopa medication earlier than I need to. And certainly, I do not like to take it every day either.

Yet, it definitely has been the case that I am needing so much more often because I can’t alleviate the symptoms early, let alone later on.

Seeking distractions

It wouldn’t be a problem if I could distract myself from it, which sometimes I can. The main problem is it gets so much worse and ends up at that severe stage before I even get to go to sleep.

So I have to take my medication and wait for it to kick in before I can even attempt to go to relax or sleep. All the while, I hold off on taking the medication, it drives me to distraction.

What I have done so far

I talked to my doctor about it and this is what we did:

I went off my depression medication, which we believed was aggravating my RLS. It was. Now it is something else that is aggravating it.

I started to exercise during the day and do stretches. It doesn’t seem to make much of a difference at this point.

I did get a sleep study done, and it found that I have mild sleep apnea. I think that and my RLS are the cause of my extremely disruptive sleep pattern lately, which is making me very sleep-deprived.

The effects of sleep deprivation

I am so tired during the day now; it is insane. Sleep deprivation may actually make restless legs syndrome worse for me. And if sleep deprivation is an RLS trigger, then that might be why it is occurring so much earlier and so aggressively when I had been making some progress in reducing its intensity and frequency.

Unfortunately, that does mean finding a way to treat and manage yet another sleep disorder to manage my RLS. Or find alternative ways to manage it during the day.

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