a person in a night gown with hearts on it while they push a pair of jeans and a pair of pajama pants away

Sleepwear to Help With RLS

My restless legs do not like jeans. Really, every fiber of my being hates jeans except my sense of socially-appropriate fashion. As a result, I own several pairs of jeans. But, the moment I get home, I must shed the jeans.

I cannot lounge about watching TV at night in jeans. I can barely make it through a work day in jeans. My restless legs hate nothing more than trying to watch a boring historical movie in a movie theatre while wearing jeans. I have never napped in jeans.

Pajama pants and boxer shorts

My restless legs aren’t too keen on pajama pants of any kind, either. The loose flannel style that was popular in college gets tangled up under the covers, twisting my legs like they’re trying to wring out some water, and making my restlessness even worse. I wake up with deep indentations on the skin of my legs from where I finally let myself sleep on a fold or seam.

My restless legs cannot abide boxer shorts. They twist around my torso, giving me a wedgie, and refusing to keep from strangling my thighs. They itch and make me kick my restless legs, disturbing any sleep partners I might have.

No socks or leggings

My restless legs really hate being the incorrect temperature and therefore do not like socks. Socks start out okay and then, partway through the night, my restless legs throw them off. In the morning, I find bunched-up, sweaty balls of socks flung to the far reaches of my bedroom.

A lot of people with restless legs sleep in compression leggings. My restless legs love compression leggings...during the day. At night, they fight against the pressure, wishing to be free from the suffocation of fabric.

Cozy sleep shirts and bare legs

After my divorce, I donated all of my pajamas. Most of them belonged to my ex and I wore them to lounge around the house on lazy Sunday mornings. Some of them were ill-fitting or getting ratty. I bought all new sleepwear.

What I found to be most successful was keeping my legs totally bare. I bought some cozy sleep shirts which I wore with underwear and slippers. When it was time to sleep, my bare legs didn’t feel quite so restless when they were feeling free.

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What is your favorite sleepwear?

Nothing holding me back

If you’re feeling metaphorical, you might say that my legs were the manifestation of my emotional state. I didn’t want to be bound up in bed anymore with someone else’s pajamas.

I wanted to feel my skin on my sheets, to stretch out into the “full starfish” sleep position, as I call it, and to feel nothing holding me back from a peaceful slumber.

Freedom for my restless legs and mind

If you’re feeling practical, you might just say my bare legs are what work for my particular iteration of restless legs syndrome. I change my mind about which version of the story feels most true to me on any given day. I will say this, though: taking ownership of my own sleep and getting to enjoy freedom while in bed has helped my restless legs and my restless mind immensely.

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