Adult female lays sleepless in bed with a stuffed animal dog and fox next to her. Children, exhaustion

Family Co-Sleeping With RLS

My 5-year-old son came bursting into my room at 3:30 in the morning, hopping mad. He slammed my door and yelled at me, “You messed up my coloring book!”

I tried, in my daze, to suss out what was upsetting him and finally figured out that he’d had a dream that was so close to reality, he was still mad (at me) about it.

Settling in with my restless sleeper

I got him settled down and he curled up next to me in bed. He likely has restless legs syndrome (RLS) and periodic limb movement and, as I desperately tried to get back to sleep after the loud uproar, my son wiggled next to me. His arm, almost independently of his brain, moved back and forth over my torso, keeping me from fully embracing sleep.

Another restless child climbs in the bed

At 6 AM, he woke up again and asked me, “Why do dogs have more legs than we do?”

“Because they don’t have arms. It’s too early. Go to sleep.” I said.

He tried but had the wiggles again. “I’m hungry!” he declared, and I tried to stall.

“Who are foxes’ predators?” He asked. I sighed.

“Here comes the other one!” My 7-year-old daughter yelled and jumped into bed like a TV action star jumping into a convertible. She pulled the blanket up to her chin and said, “What are we talking about?”

“Foxes,” said my son.

“Go to sleep,” I said. It was Sunday, the day we could sleep in if we wanted to.

After my daughter told us some fun facts about foxes, we all tried to go back to bed, but now it was her turn to have restless legs. She kicked under the shared blanket and upset the dog, who we all forgot had been dozing at the foot of the bed.

A tough day ahead

The dog moved up to try to sleep on my legs and my RLS started telling her off. I wiggled my legs to get her to move and felt the familiar creeping of an exhausted body filled with restlessness.

I was going to have a hard day, both in terms of parenting these tired kids but also because I was now sleep deprived and likely to be in a bad bout of RLS symptoms until I could reset my sleep.

I tried to take a nap during movie time later that day, but I was too overtired and my legs wouldn’t let me rest. I tried to relax on the couch while reading to the kids before their bedtime, but my restless legs told me it was time to take off my leggings and go lie in a cool bed, in starfish position, all alone.

Stretching out – alone – with my restless legs

Fortunately, my exhausted children went down without a hitch and me and my restless legs got their wish. I stretched out in my queen-sized bed all alone. The dog was sleeping with my daughter and my son had been passed out for a couple hours in his room. I hoped my RLS would let me wiggle my way to sleep tonight without interruption.

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