That unbearably twitchy feeling known as restless legs syndrome (RLS) disrupts sleep for nearly a third of us nightly. Yet 75 percent of RLS cases go undiagnosed. Good news: These fixes calm your legs for deeper Zzzs!
Savor strawberry crisp
Indulge in warm strawberry crisp, and you’ll tamp down the odds of RLS with every bite. The berries brim with fisetin, a compound that works similarly to a class of drugs called “dopamine agonists,” which research in American Family Physician finds tamps down RLS symptoms by up to 50 percent. Restless legs syndrome is caused by a shortage of dopamine in the brain, but fisetin mimics the feel-good hormone your body’s low on, calming restless legs in the process. For extra insurance: Supplement with fisetin at least two hours before bed. Try: Life Extension Bio-Fisetin (LifeExtension.com)
Snooze with soap
Sounds wacky, but sleeping with a bar of soap near the foot of the bed calms symptoms for 42 percent of folks. Experts suspect credit goes to soap’s magnesium, which remains in close contact with skin as you sleep. Indeed, German scientists say the natural muscle relaxant calms excessive neurological firing that causes jumpiness, curbing RLS symptoms 41%. Tip: Use lavender soap. “Research shows inhaling the scent of lavender for 10 minutes calms the nervous system,” says Be Your Own Herbalist author Michelle Schoffro Cook, Ph.D. Just tuck lavender soap containing magnesium sulfate into a sachet and place it under the covers (by your legs) before bed.
‘Squeeze’ your feet
Slipping on compression socks before bed eases the “gotta move” feeling 140 percent better than standard drug treatments. Research in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that wrapping feet was so effective, it helped folks sleep 82 percent more soundly. Putting pressure on two key muscles in the foot calms the nervous system and deactivates the body’s uncontrollable impulse to move the legs.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.