Christmas Delight, RLS Fright

I’m not a crazy, over-the-top Christmas type of person, but I do love the holiday. I love the feeling of nostalgia it brings with it of all the childhood gatherings and Christmases and that childhood delight. I like gathering with friends and family, sharing meals and conversation, and gifts. The very best part of winter, really.

It is hard to be consistent with habits over the holiday season, though. Diet habits. Sleep habits. Any routine sort of gets out of whack.

'Visions of sugarplums danced in their heads'

I’m not entirely sure what sugarplums are, but they sure do dance in my head over the holiday season. I know sugar can really throw my restless legs syndrome (RLS) for a loop, most definitely if I have a lot of it in the evening. I know that from many a snack-attack experience. And I regret it every time — not while snacking, but definitely shortly after and at night.

And, of course, Christmas comes with a whole lot of yummy treats. People put out displays of candies, chocolates, and cookies. And it would totally be rude to say no, right? So, I have to have 1... or 2... or 4.

Sugar's effect on my RLS symptoms

Even if I say no to 4 offers, I am saying yes to 10 others. So in the weeks leading up to Christmas, it ends up being that the entire holiday season outside and inside of the house has an abundance of treats around to tempt me. And I do indulge more than usual. I definitely notice the RLS consequences of that as well. I have been noticing it, for sure.

So, once again, I am trying to not overdose on sugar in the late afternoon or beyond, because I really do not like the consequences, and I only have myself to blame when that happens.

And it happens. So much for my self-control. Darn holiday treats! Yummy, yummy holiday treats. Resistance is futile.

'Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse'

Another holiday woe is the disruption to my already insanely disrupted sleep cycle, mostly for entirely conscious choices. It is the time to visit friends and family, to go to events and gatherings.

A lot of these holiday parties are not exactly close, so by the time you get home it can be already quite late. Sometimes, my RLS has already kicked in. It definitely does if said travel requires a whole lot of sitting still.

I need downtime before bed as well, so if I get home late, then I stay up even later. Then, if my RLS kicks in while I am awake and overtired, I will take an extra pill and stay up until it kicks in. Inevitably, I get only a couple of hours of sleep. Because my brain doesn’t actually care when I go to sleep, or the quality of that sleep, it will wake me up around 4 or 5 AM no matter what.

I manage as best I can during the holidays

So, essentially, I coast through the holidays on sugar and sleep deprivation, apparently.

Although, really, that is something I try to manage as best I can, because there is not 1 inch of my body that agrees with that idea. Not my RLS, and not my chronic pain.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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