three beds in a row

Goldilocks and the 3 Beds

Once again, my life has experienced some upheaval.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, they say! Saying that, it has helped me prove — or disprove — a theory that I had been pondering recently: Does the type of bed/sleeping restrictions affect my restless legs syndrome (RLS) symptoms?

A test of the 3 beds: My experimental design

Over the last 3 weeks, I have been staying in a few hotels. While not ideal, it's definitely great for taking a break from laundry!

My options in the bed test stakes are: 1) a twin bed (2 single beds pushed together) resulting in the length-long divot along the edges of the 2 beds; 2) a single bed, shorter and more compact, less room to flail around; and 3) my final destination, a 2-seater sofa of questionable design.

Test #1: 2 twin beds pushed together

Conditions were not favourable for this, as the hotel seemed to forget that their swanky faux wooden floor — although easy to clean for hygiene purposes — does not hold much purchase for a bed that has coasters on the bottom of the legs. I found myself, more than once, chasing the adjoining bed across the room! Lord knows what my temporary neighbours thought I was doing in there!

As for RLS test conditions, it actually proved to help! As I started experiencing symptoms I would extend myself over the width of both beds only to feel 1 slip and start wandering off across the floor. This facilitated my needing to get up and lasso it, so I never had a chance to obsess over my limbs.

This also caused me to feel increasingly tired. When the time arrived to finally stop playing curling with the beds, I fell asleep straight away.

Test #2: A single bed

Since my teenage years, I have shared my bed space with my partners (albeit not currently, due to the RLS and snoring). I'm now finding it almost 30 years since my last night in a single bed.

Initially I was most shocked at how much they had shrunk in size over that time (or maybe I had grown?!). Shoehorning myself in between the wall and a side table, I daren’t move as I was going to knock something flying!

Laying there watching TV to pass the evening, the restrictions of the bed seemed to help somewhat when I felt the oh-so-familiar creeping of bugs up my legs. (Not bed bugs! The precursor to an RLS attack.) Being able to exert a little pressure on both arms and legs helped stifle the feeling for quite some while.

In reflection, being able to lay on my front, with my arms tucked under my hefty weight, and legs crossed to avoid any movement from outside the duvet (as it was snowing outside at this time), once again I slept really well without a hint of RLS all night.

Test #3: The 2-seater sofa

Whilst I wouldn’t recommend this as a long-term solution, as a temporary respite it has proven very effective.

When I arrived at my destination, my only choice for an area to sleep was a 2-seater sofa. Dusky pink in its colour, and while its design brief could be called "elderly with a touch of faux wood," I had to call it bed for a fair few nights.

Sleep tip number 1 when considering a sofa as an area to snooze: Ensure your body fits the length of the aforementioned sofa. Mine did not. This proved very fortuitous when it came to RLS and sleep-related issues, however. Whilst laying down, my torso did, in fact, fit the entirety of the seated area, leaving my legs to hang over the end of the chair.

This, dear readers, is where you find me currently, legs hanging in the ether. But, funnily enough, no sign of RLS! Very painful knees and body, but at least I have experienced a few nights' decent sleep.

A comfortable place to sleep is essential

All joking aside, RLS can have a devastating impact on nighttime sleep, virtually obliterating any sense of normality. Having a comfortable bed is the least we can do for ourselves.

Have you tried multiple sleeping arrangements, mattresses, or bed sizes to help minimize your RLS symptoms? Which ones have worked for you, and which haven't? Share with us in the comments below!

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