Adopt a relaxation routine
Symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS) tend to flare up in the evening, leaving you tossing and turning throughout the night, says Brian Koo, MD, associate professor of neurology at Yale School of Medicine and director of the Yale Center for Restless Legs Syndrome, in New Haven, Connecticut. “We don’t really know why RLS occurs during these periods.” Luckily, though, home remedies for RLS can ease those uncomfortable sensations. (But first see a doctor, who can make a diagnosis rule out other potential issues like kidney and thyroid problems.) Try a relaxation ritual (such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation) before bed. Another calming exercise, called progressive muscle relaxation, has been shown to alleviate pain in older people. Here’s how it works: After you get into bed, take a few minutes to concentrate on deep breathing. Then, tense the muscles in your feet, holding for a few seconds before releasing. Next, tense your calf muscles, hold, and then release. Do the same for your thigh muscles, repeating the pattern as you make your way up your body, and finishing with your neck and face muscles. After completing the exercise, your whole body should be relaxed and ready for a restful night’s sleep.
Create a dark and cool environment
“A relaxing sleep environment is crucial to get a good night’s sleep, but that’s particularly so for people with RLS,” says Dr. Koo. Plus, it makes other home remedies for restless legs syndrome even more effective. “A non-relaxing sleep environment may lead to poor sleep and subsequently RLS will get worse, making sleep even more discontinuous.” That means removing digital clocks and other electronics that glow, such as cell phones and laptops. Even if you don’t wake up in the middle of the night, pings from your cellphone or email can sneakily disrupt your sleep cycle. Make sure your shades are tightly drawn against any outdoor lights. And for maximum comfort, the National Sleep Foundation recommends a room temperature between 60 and 67 degrees. (Here are more health conditions that could be messing with your sleep.)