Standing Start: Do the Stresses of Sleep Aggravate RLS Symptoms?

Today I thought I would talk about the stresses of sleep and how they might aggravate the symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS).

Is technology a friend or foe?

You read a lot today about blue light issues and how they are affecting our sleep patterns. When you suffer from a sleep disorder, quite often, your tech is your friend. It gives you access to music, audiobooks, and other human beings – contact that we need when we are awake during the wee small hours.


How do you feel about technology and your sleep?

Calming the mind

Counting sheep didn't work for me. I found 2 things, as silly as they sound, help calm my head to the point of dropping off to sleep. The first is a game on my phone called Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. As it is the same action repeatedly, I seem to enter sleep mode quite quickly.

The second is YouTube. Fundamentally, pedicures and cooking. When you see a 25-minute video of a poor podiatrist sanding callouses off a diabetic patient's feet, the peace just washes over me! Whereas toenail removal has the opposite reaction!

Trying not to stress

Easier said than done!

If you have taken any prescribed medication to help combat your uncontrollable leg movements, you may find that occasionally it does not seem to work. I tend to find this is caused by stress regarding sleeping.

Several years ago, I found myself getting more and more distressed at bedtime. In the end, I was having panic attacks as my partner was stressing over the fact I did not have a regular sleeping pattern. He was making me so stressed that I couldn't sleep once I got to bed because I was so worried about not sleeping!

So sometimes, worrying about something can be counter-intuitive. The more you worry, you worry more (does that make sense?!). RLS makes you worry anyway. Unfortunately, the symptoms of RLS can also be symptoms of other conditions. It's good to receive your diagnosis from your doctor or specialist, so you can have more assurance that it is correct.

Don't let knowledge consume you

We are warned within every prescribed medication we receive that these medications have side effects of their own. Read the pamphlet and store the information away in a minimally used filing cabinet in your memory. I say this because the brain is a highly suggestible thing.

On more than one occasion, upon reading the side effects section, I have found myself experiencing a side effect within a matter of days. Sometimes I am sure my doctor is a hairsbreadth away from diagnosing me as a hypochondriac!

Try not to worry, is what I am getting at. RLS is enough of a pain in the first place. Our sleep-addled brain can easily make a mountain out of a molehill on a regular basis.

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