Restless legs syndrome: AKA the “wiggly legs”

20120918-171742.jpgRestless legs syndrome (RLS) otherwise known as the “wiggly legs”, plagues thousands of people each and every night. Most of us have experienced this at least a couple times in our lifetime. You’re laying there in bed trying to go to sleep, but your legs have a completely different agenda – sound familiar? Your legs may feel wiggly, itchy, or a tickling sensation, and you may feel this overwhelming need to move them. This is Restless legs syndrome. Well, if you’re bothered by this problem and you’ve happened to have stumbled across this article, you’re in luck; I’m going to fix it for you! Or even if you don’t suffer from RLS, but you find that you have trouble sleeping for what ever reason, the following tips will work wonders for you as well!

Magnesium is a natural mineral found in lots of the foods we eat. Magnesium is what I rely on to give me my restful night’s sleep. Simply put, magnesium relaxes muscles! (Note: therefore, if your muscles are relaxed your brain will follow. Equally, the opposite will usually hold true as well. If your brain is relaxed, your muscles will follow). Adversely, calcium contracts muscles. Therefore, when taking either it’s always a good idea to take them in conjunction with one another, and at a ratio of 2 to 1. That is, 2 parts calcium and 1 part magnesium. That’s why, when purchasing either of these minerals at the store you will usually find this ratio. It’s common to see them somewhere in the neighborhood of 500mg calcium to 250mg magnesium. I’ve been told by a nutritionist that you could actually give yourself a heart attack by taking too much of one and not the other over a long period of time (remember, your heart is a muscle too). I don’t know if this is true or not, but either way – don’t do that!

OK… enough with the science lesson, on to how it works and the dosages required! I take 400mg of magnesium oxide in pill form about a half hour to an hour before bedtime every night. Therefore, that is the amount that I would suggest taking. You can take up to 800mg, but I would advise against it. Or if you feel more comfortable taking it in conjunction with calcium because of the information provided above, then take it with calcium at a ratio of 1 to 1 – 400mg magnesium with 400mg calcium. I should note that for the most part I don’t take magnesium for RLS, I simply take it as a way to help relax my mind and body before bedtime. There are a couple different forms of magnesium; however, they all provide the same benefit. So which ever you choose is up to you. If I remember correctly, I started taking the oxide version because it did not make me break-out (with zits that is) like the others forms of magnesium did. (Note: also don’t ever underestimate the power of the placebo effect. If your mind believes it to be true, then it will become true). Magnesium worked wonders for me, and I bet it will do the same for you!

Additionally, here are a few tricks, tips, and suggestions that I have found helpful concerning RLS and sleeping problems in general.

1) If your legs are exceptionally wiggly – position yourself in a squatting position, with your knees and legs at a ninety degree angle, and while leaning up against the wall. Hold that position for as long as your legs will hold it. The goal here is to make your legs start to “feel the burn” and to tire them out. (Note: this is a very useful trick).

2) lf you work-out, run, or etc, don’t do it too close to bed-time. More than anything, this will fore surely give you the “wiggly legs”. Adversely, working out at a more normal time of the day, like in the morning to late afternoon will produce the opposite effect, and help your muscles to relax.

3) This should go without saying, but of course refrain from all stimulants and alcohol anywhere close to bed-time.

4) Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga. Stress can aggravate RLS. Learn to relax, especially before going to bed at night.

5) Soaking in a warm bath and/or a massage will work wonders to help your muscles relax. You should also try Epsom Salts – you’ve heard of this right? You put it in your warm bath, and it is supposed to help you relax. Well… do you know why it helps you relax? Magnesium! Epsom salts are high in the mineral magnesium, and putting this into your bath helps the magnesium find their way into your muscles.

6) Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!


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