Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Making simple lifestyle changes can play an important role in alleviating symptoms of RLS. These steps may help reduce the extra activity in your legs:

  • Take pain relievers. For very mild symptoms, taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) when symptoms begin may relieve the twitching and the sensations.
  • Try baths and massages. Soaking in a warm bath and massaging your legs can relax your muscles.
  • Apply warm or cool packs. You may find that the use of heat or cold, or alternating use of the two, lessens the sensations in your limbs.
  • Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga. Stress can aggravate RLS. Learn to relax, especially before going to bed at night.
  • Establish good sleep hygiene. Fatigue tends to worsen symptoms of RLS, so it's important that you practice good sleep hygiene. Ideally, sleep hygiene involves having a cool, quiet and comfortable sleeping environment, going to bed at the same time, rising at the same time, and getting enough sleep to feel well rested. Some people with RLS find that going to bed later and rising later in the day helps in getting enough sleep.
  • Exercise. Getting moderate, regular exercise may relieve symptoms of RLS, but overdoing it at the gym or working out too late in the day may intensify symptoms.
  • Avoid caffeine. Sometimes cutting back on caffeine may help restless legs. It's worth trying to avoid caffeine-containing products, including chocolate and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea and soft drinks, for a few weeks to see if this helps.
  • Cut back on alcohol and tobacco. These substances also may aggravate or trigger symptoms of RLS. Test to see whether avoiding them helps.
Jan. 19, 2012

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