Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a condition where the body has an uncontrollable urge to move the legs. It can range from mild to severe, and rarely indicates any other serious health condition. But it can completely wreck a good night’s sleep.
RLS usually happens at night or during periods of inactivity (such as watching a movie or riding on an airplane). Many people who struggle with it have difficulty explaining what it’s like. If your loved one struggles with RLS, she might describe it to you or her home care provider as a crawling or creeping sensation in her legs, or perhaps a pulling or aching. Each person uses different ways to describe it. They feel the need to move their legs, and the sensation goes away when they do.
That need to move the legs is why RLS causes sleep problems for sufferers. If your loved one seems unrested, it may be RLS, which makes it difficult to fall or stay asleep. Consistent nights of poor sleep can interfere with daily functioning, as well as create other health issues. Therefore, helping your loved one find a solution to her RLS is important.
If your loved one has intense RLS that affects all sleep, medication may be prescribed. However, many RLS sufferers find they can live with the condition by taking precautionary care before laying down in the evening. Here are a few suggestions you and your loved one might want to try.
- Avoid stimulants in the evening hours. To help your loved one sleep better, avoid offering caffeinated drinks, alcohol, or tobacco in the evening. Having any of these may compound her restless leg syndrome and make for an unpleasant night of getting up often to move her legs.
- Get regular exercise. When children are little, parents like to let them run around to “get the wiggles out.” It’s kind of the same for those with RLS. Getting exercise that uses their legs (such as walking or swimming) during the day can help “get the wiggles out” so they sleep better at night. Have your home care provider plan for a daily walk with your loved one to help her stay motivated. Just keep the exercise during that day, not in the evening.
- Don’t take long naps. While your loved one may feel tired during the day, especially after a rough night of RLS, encourage her not to take a long nap to catch up on sleep. Maintaining a routine sleep schedule with good sleep habits is the best way to keep RLS to a minimum.
Symptoms for RLS can fluctuate in severity, and can also simply come and go on their own. By making some of the changes listed above, your senior loved one might help reduce the severity of the occurrence and how often it happens.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Home Care in Sun City, AZ, please contact the caring staff at Blessings for Seniors Companion Care at (623) 594-0819.
- Is There a Connection Between Poor Kidney Function and Dementia Risk? - February 22, 2024
- What Contributes to a Seniors’ Insomnia? - February 6, 2024
- Helping Seniors With Technology: Smart Phones and E-Readers - January 29, 2024