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The Body

Soothe Restless Leg Syndrome Naturally

For many, restless leg syndrome is more than an irritating twinge. The neurological condition, often considered a sleep disorder because the spasms can wake you up at night, makes it difficult to sit still or lie down for long periods without feeling an irresistible urge to move your legs or pace. Often linked to genetics, it affects nearly 10 percent of the population. While avoiding caffeine and alcohol and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen can alleviate symptoms, alternative treatments can also help in managing the twitches, tingles, and pain.

Relax. Reducing stress and anxiety is easier said than done, but both are critical to easing symptoms. Relax your muscles by taking a warm bath or getting a regular massage. Some massage therapists are trained to focus on specific pressure points to relieve cramping and tingling. Acupuncture treatments have also been shown to offer short-term relief.

Sleep it off. Restless leg syndrome can sometimes be managed with the same strategies used to treat insomnia. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and keeping your nighttime environment cool and quiet may reduce symptoms.

Drink up. Tonic water contains a small amount of quinine, which can reduce muscle cramping. Try drinking a six- or eight-ounce glass before bed to calm your leg muscles while you sleep.

Warm up, cool down. Applying heat packs or cold compresses—or even a combination of both—can lessen the tingling sensations in your legs.

Supplement your diet. Some physicians recommend upping your intake of key nutrients. Try leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, and spices like turmeric for more iron; green veggies for B vitamins, magnesium, and folate; or beans and other legumes for magnesium and folate.