Having restless legs can make it very difficult to get a goodnight’s sleep, or even to enjoy watching a movie with your family.
There are millions of people across the country who life with restless leg syndrome, however there isn’t much knowledge about this condition or how to make it easier to live with.
While restless leg syndrome is actually a sleep disorder, but what causes it and how can you remedy some of the symptoms so that you can sleep better at night?
One of the things that has been recommended as helping with restless leg syndrome is getting a weighted blanket.
Do they really help, though? In short – yes they can help people living with restless syndrome and here’s what you need to know about them.
What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?
This condition is most often characterized as the undeniable urge to move our legs when we’re in a resting position – especially when we’ve already gone to bed.
Many people who live with this condition report that it feels like a tingle or twitch in their legs. This tingle or twitch is most often relieved by moving, stretching your legs or getting out of bed to walk around for a little while.
In some extreme cases, people can report restless leg syndrome as feeling like an electric shock or a burning sensation.
No matter what your symptoms with restless leg syndrome feel like, it’s difficult to live with and can be very uncomfortable.
In order to relieve the feelings or sensations we get, our natural reaction is to get up and move around – which is why it’s called restless leg syndrome.
For most people, they experience the worst symptoms during the evening when they’re trying to relax.
For some people, though, they can experience these symptoms any time they are not actively moving around.
Due to the differences in symptoms experienced, many people often don’t even know that they have this condition.
If you have difficulty sitting in the same position for long hours at a time, or it’s even painful, then you may have restless leg syndrome.
If you know that you have it, though, you can much more easily address it and take care of the symptoms so you’re more comfortable and able to sleep well at night.
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What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome to Happen?
The cause of this condition doesn’t have any really definite causes that everyone experiences.
It happens mostly to people who are over the age of 45 years old, but it can happen to anyone at any time really.
Women are about twice as likely as men to have this condition. In most cases there isn’t a direct and apparent cause of the condition. However, there are some underlying factors that can contribute to someone having it.
There has been a genetic link found in people who have restless leg syndrome, so it can be inherited from your relatives.
If your legs are painful when you’re not active, there is a small chance that it was inherited and nothing you can do about it.
For people who have an obvious and direct cause of restless less syndrome, many of them have a dopamine imbalance.
Dopamine is a chemical that occurs naturally in our bodies, and the right amount of dopamine is crucial for us to maintain a physically health body. This chemical is responsible for carrying signals from various parts of our bodies to our brains, and it’s important for controlling physical movements.
If you have a dopamine imbalance then it could lead to restless leg syndrome.
Sometimes temporary restless leg syndrome can be a by-product of being pregnant.
Pregnancy can bring hormonal fluctuations, sleep deprivation, and also heightened sensitivity in certain areas of your body. So with all of those body changes, sometimes women who are pregnant experience restless legs.
If your restless leg syndrome is brought on by pregnancy, the symptoms of it will usually resolve once you have delivered your little one.
Other Health Conditions
Sometimes restless leg syndrome can be a result of having other medical conditions – whether they are under control or not.
This can sometimes be known as secondary restless leg syndrome. Some conditions that can cause restless leg syndrome are kidney failure, diabetes, or even an iron deficiency.
Using a weighted blanket to help with the symptoms of restless leg syndrome
Weighted blankets have been shown to positively impact the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Why do they help?
There is a type of therapy known as deep touch pressure therapy. This kind of therapy involves placing weight over your body, evenly distributed. When you do this, some of your pressure points will be triggered and they will release or kick up production of relaxation and sleep hormones.
These blankets will create a hugging effect when you place them on your body. The hugging effect helps to ramp up serotonin production in your body. Serotonin is a stress-relieving hormone, so it can help us feel much more physically relaxed.
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Increased serotonin will give you feelings of calmness, and it can also help in your body’s production of melatonin – which is also known as the sleep hormone.
This flood, essentially, of hormones can help you – and your legs – calm down so you can easily go to sleep.
While you sleep, weighted blankets have been shown to reduce the amount of cortisol in our bodies. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, and high levels of cortisol has been shown to appear in people who are living with restless leg syndrome.
Giving You a Distraction
One of the other reasons weighted blankets work so well is that they give you a little bit of distraction from dealing with your restless legs.
This condition might seem like it’s worse at night because you are trying to calm down and relax, so you don’t have other distractions around you.
The blanket will apply the pressure to your legs so that you are not thinking about the uncomfortable or painful symptoms happening in your legs.
Increase Your Quality of Sleep
Many people who live with restless leg syndrome do not have a really great quality of sleep. Their legs acting up just do not allow for them to truly relax at night and sleep through the night.
Boost Your Mood
Getting a good night’s sleep can really do wonders for your mood, and so weighted blankets can help give you a better qualify of sleep every night.
You might like to read: Simple Tips to Prevent Restless Legs in Seniors
Whether you use it every day or just when your legs are really bothering you, weighted blankets to help with the symptoms of restless leg syndrome can really help alleviate them.
With a better sleep at night, you will have more energy during the day and you may be able to – over time – have less severe symptoms than you previously experienced.
How Heavy of a Weighted Blanket Should You Get?
Well, the answer to that is that it’s really up to you and what you feel like you’re comfortable with.
If you’re a very petite person, you may not want to purchase a heavier weighted blanket, and start somewhere around the 10lbs mark.
For people who have more experience with weighted blankets or for people who want a little more pressure, you can get blankets up for 20 or 30 lbs.
It might take a little bit of trial and error to find the right blanket for you, so maybe so a little research before making a purchase.
If a friend or family member has already been using a weighted blanket then you might want to have a little chat with them to see what they like about it, maybe you can try it out or they will have recommendations for you.
You might like to read: Will a Tens Unit Help Restless Leg Syndrome?
Weighted blankets can be very helpful when it comes to alleviating the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
It’s a natural way to help you out, without taking any kind of medication for it.
You can sleep with a little extra pressure on your legs, which can help relieve the symptoms you’re feeling and take your mind off of it.
With a weighted blanket, it can help you get a really good night’s sleep and help boost your overall mood.
With the pressure of the weight on your body, the tingling sensation – or even burning pain – can go away and you won’t be getting up to move around every few minutes.
Weighted blankets are widely available, and many companies make them. With a little research you find the right one for you. As mentioned it might take a little bit getting used to as sleeping with a weight on you can give interesting sensations at first.
The bonus is that weighted blankets look just like a regular blanket so you can keep it on your bed all the time and it won’t look like it’s out of place.
Give a weighted blanket a try and see if it helps with the symptoms of your restless leg syndrome!