First panel shows two broken wedding bands. The next two are of a woman cooking and sleeping, self care, routine, independence, divorce,

Embracing Changes in Lifestyle and Habits 

I have just separated from my common-law spouse of 25 years. It is a new beginning in many ways for me. A new place to live — a wee studio apartment. A new city. A new community. I don’t love change a whole lot, but sometimes I embrace these fresh starts in my life. They leave you open to a whole lot of possibilities.

New improvements to my sleep health

One thing about being single in my own space is that I am sleeping alone. I set my own routines and habits in my new space as well. When you entirely control your environment, that leaves you a whole lot of space for helping your health in various ways.

Making changes to my diet and eating habits

I am not the best cook in the world, and on my own I have already forgotten I was cooking, thus burning said thing and setting off the fire alarm. So that was interesting. But I find when it is simple meals, I am a pretty decent cook. I have to make sure I do not waste anything as well, because food these days isn’t exactly cheap, so I eat based a lot on what I have and how to use what I have.

It also means a whole lot less sugar. My former spouse used to buy cookies, treats, and donuts on a regular basis. And if it was there, I didn’t really resist it. But on my own, I have no desire to buy those things in the first place, unless it is a treat I am craving for whatever reason. Less sugar means better control over my restless legs syndrome (RLS). It gets highly aggravated by sugar, especially anywhere in the evening.

My medication no longer triggers my RLS

I have noticed this change making a difference such that I have been taking a daily antihistamine to manage my allergies, and this also is not triggering my RLS — so decreasing one thing enabled me to effectively manage my allergies and asthma. Managing both of those helps with sleep because I can breathe easier.

I am getting better quality sleep

I have heard numerous times in various places that people sleep better by themselves because we are not bothered by or tuned into our partner's movements or sounds. I’m not sure I entirely believed it, since my sleep has always been so poor and my insomnia so invasive.

Now, I think I may just believe that. I still have erratic sleep. I am still an insomniac. And I still have RLS. However, I have been adjusting my sleep pattern, and I feel that is helping slowly. I have also been sleeping well — "well" in the sense that I am not constantly waking up and tossing and turning all night. I must be getting slightly better quality sleep, if not quantity.

Being on my own allows for habit changes and tweaks

I think this because my RLS hasn’t been nearly as severe. Tramadol wasn’t helping like I thought it would initially. But now I reduced to 1 pill (due to cost factors) and it is helping a whole lot better than it was. I need the occasional RLS medication now and again, but I know when I do because I will get all antsy around 8 PM if I need a medication boost; but it isn’t every day, and it certainly isn’t the dosage I was on before.

I find being on my own allows for a lot of habit changes and tweaks — how I eat and what I choose to eat, when I sleep, and the amount of restlessness when I do. I think as time passes, this will be even more true as I consciously choose the diet I want and the go-to things I will make, and the more I tweak my sleep habits and winding-down process. So far, just these 2 changes have had a notable impact.

Have you found that any lifestyle changes to your sleep habits, diet, or living arrangements have improved your RLS symptoms? Share with us in the comments below!

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