a woman awake in bed under her blankets with her feet sticking out and pill bottles sitting on the nightstand

Waking Up in the Middle of the Night With RLS Symptoms

I remember a time when managing my restless legs syndrome (RLS) was actually fairly easy. Now it is like trying to catch a fish with my hands; it always seems to slip away as soon as I think I have it. I think it has a pattern, and I start to adapt to that, and then it switches.

I think I have some sort of alternative treatment that affects the RLS, and then the RLS spontaneously gets worse again. It seems very adaptive to anything I am doing.

Patterns of aggravation

I can get RLS early in the evening, and that has been its recent pattern and aggravation for me. Since nothing seems to work aside from my medication, I have been trying to use the least amount of medication to manage it and still get to sleep when it is time to sleep.

When I have severe bouts of RLS, it tends to have a later onset at night and affect more than just my legs. That requires a full dose of my medication or I will simply not sleep. But now, it has a new disruptive time to get to me.

Waking frequently during the night

Lately, it has changed it up yet again. Perhaps because I do not sleep through the night often. I wake up frequently. Sometimes because of my chronic pain. Sometimes because people with fibromyalgia can have problems with frequent waking due to sleep dysfunction.

It is something I am used to as I have had chronic pain and fibromyalgia for decades. Sleeping through the night is just not a thing I actually do. I feel the passage of time at night. I imagine people who sleep well don’t. They go to sleep, and in a blink, it is morning.

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My RLS make middle-of-the-night appearances

Even though I am used to frequent sleep interruptions, I am not used to the RLS deciding to show up again when I wake up well into the middle of the night. I usually try to get comfortable again, relax, and try to settle down to sleep again. Now when I settle down to do that, I become aware of the sensations in my legs and sometimes, also, my arms.

I try to ignore it. When it started in the middle of the night, I mistook it for paresthesia from my fibromyalgia, like an intense tingling that was very uncomfortable. I do have an issue with that ongoing in my legs. It doesn’t take long to realize it is RLS, though. Not with that pulling sensation and crawling sensation. Not when it hits my arms as well.

I am forced to get up

I waste time tossing and turning, trying to just see if I can ignore it. I try stretching my legs out and arching my feet. Or shake my legs and fall asleep doing that.

In the end, usually, I have to get up. I have to take at least a minimal dosage of my medication. Then I am awake while I wait for the medication to kick in before going back to bed. When I go back to bed, it takes time to fall back to sleep.

Disruption on top of disruption

It is such a disruption to my sleep when I already have such disruptive sleep. I wouldn’t think it would be an issue once I am already asleep. When I already managed the RLS enough to get to sleep. I should be fine. Apparently, not always the case.

Do you wake up and have problems getting back to sleep because of RLS symptoms?

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