Great news for the 47 million women affected by sleep-robbing restless leg syndrome (RLS). These study-backed remedies soothe symptoms even better than an Rx:
Upgrade Your Soak
If your legs jerk you awake overnight, it may be RLS, a nervous system disorder that affects 35 percent of folks at some point.
One remedy: a nightly soak infused with 2 cups of magnesium-rich Epsom salts. ″Magnesium settles down excessive nerve signal firings, which cause that feeling of jumpiness,″ explains Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Buy on Amazon, $21.40). What’s more, many postmenopausal women lack sufficient magnesium, and German research shows that boosting low levels of the nutrient cuts RLS for 41 percent of folks. Plus, warm water calms muscles for sleep.
Wrap Your Feet
A study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that a targeted foot wrap tamps down that ″gotta move″ feeling 140 percent better than standard drug treatments, helping study participants sleep 82 percent more soundly. The special wrap, called Restiffic, puts light pressure on two key muscles in the foot, which deactivates the body’s uncontrollable impulse to move the legs. ″The basic concept is like swaddling a baby to soothe it,″ explains Dr. Teitelbaum. ″This sense of being ‘contained’ has a calming effect on the nervous system.″ (Some insurance plans cover the device.) Tip: A toeless arch-supporting compression sock works just as well.
Try a Strawberry Compound
New science suggests a compound in strawberries called fisetin may ease restless leg syndrome. Turns out, RLS can be caused by a shortage of dopamine, and fisetin works similarly to dopamineboosting drugs that doctors prescribe for RLS (minus the side effects). Consider supplementing with up to 500 mg. at least 2 hours before bed. Note: Talk to your doctor before supplementing.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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