a woman with restless legs syndrome sitting with her legs up on a crossword puzzle which is in a thought bubble

Code Breaking: Writing Your Own RLS Guide

Living with restless legs syndrome can feel like deciphering a code at times. There are some common tricks that seem to help large numbers of RLS sufferers. There are also many common RLS triggers.

While doctors and fellow RLS sufferers can offer suggestions on ways to manage our RLS, there are always going to be some things that are unique to each of us.

Trying all the tricks in the book

I'm sure we've all tried a trick that we've heard has worked for others with RLS. We go in with high hopes and great expectations. And then it doesn't help at all.

Or even more confusing, we have great luck the first night. Voila! I've found the answer! And then it never works again. Was it coincidence? Placebo?

Many factors affect RLS

First, let me say I think a good night's sleep is always a success, whatever the reason. There can be so many factors involved on any given day. Stress, other health issues, and any changes going on in our lives can affect our symptoms.

Giving things a chance, even if we don't see any benefits right away, might be a good way to approach trying something new.

Knowing the reason for a particularly bad night of RLS can sometimes be simple. For me, a wonky knee flaring up is an obvious suspect. Other times it can take years to get to the bottom of it, as I found out recently. My grandson likes to go to a certain large buffet-style restaurant on his birthday each year. It took 3 birthday dinners for me to realize MSG was not my friend.

Tracking symptoms

When a random flare-up happens it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause. If you have RLS to some degree every night, it can be near impossible.

Keeping a detailed journal can be a great way of tracking your symptoms and looking for any culprits. Repeated negative experiences with the same thing are the best indicators that this is something to avoid.

Prioritizing our health

It isn't always possible to avoid some of our RLS triggers. Sometimes we have to make unpleasant or unpopular decisions that others may not understand. We have all likely found ourselves in a situation where we have to weigh the benefits and consequences.

For me, it usually depends on how important something might be or how brave I feel that day. I know this has been a horrible year for many, and I hope everyone takes some time to care for themselves. Stay safe.

Do you know your RLS triggers? How did you discover them? We would love to know any tips you have for avoiding or managing triggers? Please share with the community in the comments below!

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