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Natural Remedies For Restless Leg Syndrome

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Natural Remedies For Restless Leg Syndrome

Do You Have Creepy Crawly Sensations In Your Legs?

Or maybe you would describe it as being electrocuted by gnomes with tiny live wires? If either of these sound familiar, you may be one of the 12 million Americans who suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).

Doctors say there is no known cause or cure, but they can help you manage the symptoms with anticonvulsants, tranquilizers, opioids, and Parkinson’s disease medications. Watch out, though! You may need a few extra medications to manage the potential side effects: amnesia, the urge to binge on food or shop compulsively, breathing problems, dizziness, nausea and fatigue. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

The worst part? RLS tends to flare up the most during pregnancy, and none of these medications are safe for baby.

Fortunately, managing RLS naturally might be easier than you think. I’ve struggled with this sleep thief off and on since I was about 8 years old, and was taking tranquilizers to manage it by my early twenties. Fortunately, through a little trial and error I’ve been able to eliminate it without the help of medications. Here’s what I’ve learned about the possible causes of RLS, and how I’ve managed it naturally for the past 7 years.

Natural Remedies For Restless Leg Syndrome

Magnesium Deficiency

According to some experts, Restless Leg Syndrome is most often related to nutritional deficiencies, most notably magnesium and other minerals/trace minerals. (source 1, source 2, source 3)

Magnesium is needed to push excess calcium out of cells so that smooth muscle can relax. A deficiency can cause muscle tightening, twitches, involuntary jerks, and charlie horses.

What to do:  It’s difficult to get adequate levels of magnesium through food for three reasons:

  1. Modern soil is very depleted in magnesium, as are the crops grown in it. (source)
  2. Stress causes us to burn through our stores more quickly
  3. Magnesium is not easily absorbed in the digestive tract (source)

The good news is, magnesium is easily absorbed through the skin! You can supplement with magnesium oil (here’s where to get it), epsom salt baths, or pico-ionic magnesium (a highly bioavailable form taken internally)

I also make sure to get other minerals that are known to be helpful for calming restless legs, such as potassium.  My favorite “supplement” is homemade bone broth with a pinch of unrefined sea salt, which is an excellent source of magnesium, calcium, potassium, and trace minerals. Here’s how to make it.

But what about the 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium intake I’m supposed to have? Won’t this mess me up? 

Experts often suggest that people need to consume twice as much calcium as magnesium for bone health. According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, the supposed “ideal” ratio is a myth. Apparently, the recommendation goes back to statements made by French scientist Jean Durlach, who warned that calcium intake should never dip exceed twice the amount of magnesium consumed. New research indicates why he made this suggestion –  without adequate magnesium, calcium can calcify soft tissue and contribute to heart disease. (source)

According to Dean, “A hundred years ago we enjoyed a diet high in magnesium with a daily intake of 500 mg. Today we are lucky to get 200 mg.[8] However, calcium in the diet has never been higher. This high-calcium, low-magnesium diet, when coupled with calcium supplementation, can give a calcium to magnesium imbalance of 10:1 or even higher — which constitutes a walking time bomb of impaired bone health and heart disease.” (source)

Dr. Dean recommends getting a 1:2 or at least a 1:1 (calcium to magnesium) ratio in the diet.

 Other considerations: LOTS of drugs – from Maalox to Ritalin to the birth control pill – deplete magnesium. Here’s a partial list. Also, some drugs interact with magnesium, so caution should be used when supplementing.

Natural Remedies For Restless Leg Syndrome

Low Thyroid/Estrogen Dominance

This actually relates back to magnesium. “Too much estrogen can lead to magnesium deficiency and vitamin B deficiency, according to Dr. John Lee. A deficiency in magnesium causes muscle tightening and that causes people to experience the leg spasms common in RLS. The deficiency in vitamin B can cause neurological problems, which is what causes the creepy, crawly sensations.” (source)

Iron Deficiency/Anemia

According to this study, “Patients with RLS have lower levels of dopamine in the substantia nigra and respond to iron administration. Iron, as a cofactor in dopamine production, plays a central role in the etiology of RLS.”

Low dopamine can cause neurological problems such as the creepy crawly sensations described above. That’s why Parkinson’s drugs work – they boost dopamine levels with a synthetic version.

Before you rush of to supplement with iron, though, there are two things to consider. First, iron and magnesium compete for receptor sites in the body, so taking too much can affect your magnesium stores.

Second, according to Dr. Campbell-McBride iron supplementation can actually make anemia worse under certain conditions:

 Most people with abnormal gut flora have various stages of anaemia. It is not surprising. They not  only can’t absorb essential for blood vitamins and minerals from food, but their own production of these vitamins is damaged. On top of that people with damaged gut flora often have a particular group of pathogenic bacteria growing in their gut, which are iron-loving bacteria (Actinomyces spp., Mycobacterium spp., pathogenic strains of E. coli, Corynebacterium spp., and many others). They consume whatever iron the person gets from the diet, leaving that person deficient in iron. Unfortunately, supplementing iron makes these bacteria grow stronger and does not remedy anaemia.” (Gut & Psychology Syndrome)

Natural Remedies For Restless Leg Syndrome

 B-Vitamins

As mentioned under the thyroid section, a deficiency in B vitamins can cause neurological issues which result in tingling sensations.

So that’s it! Everything I’ve learned about Restless Leg Syndrome and a bag of chips (fried in coconut oil, of course!)

What’s worked for you?

Photo Credit: Andrew Mason via Compfight cc

Disclaimer: None of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA. The information on this blog is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. You can see my full disclaimer here.

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96 Responses to Natural Remedies For Restless Leg Syndrome

  1. Rebecca Prange says:

    I used to have RLS, too, mine went away when I gave up gluten, grains, cane sugar, dairy and soy. The only time I feel it coming back seems to be when I eat cane sugar or overeat sugar in general. I never cheat with grains or soy, do occasionally have cane sugar in something, like sausage, or a small amount of butter or cheese.

  2. Keri Lehmann says:

    I love this article- the only question that I constantly have is: how can we meter the appropriate amounts of the various supplements? I want to begin supplementing my diet, but the numbers are so vague-who knows how much of anything we should take? Any accurate sources out there that you know of?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Keri! I try to get most of my nutrients from food sources, but in the cases where soil depletion makes that impossible I supplement. For magnesium I follow the guidelines recommended by Ancient Minerals (http://www.ancient-minerals.com/products/magnesium-application-use/). I also supplement with pure powdered sulphur (MSM) and use the dosage recommendation from the NOW brand bottle :) http://ow.ly/kmkKa

      • Debbi says:

        I have been using Calm Legs with great results and it has all the ingredients in it in the right amounts. You can google them. Hope this helps you. I have tried all the different things too and when I found this one it really helped me. It has everything not just one or two… check out the ingredients on their website and see what each one does.

      • jamarys hwang says:

        Hi. I ordered Magnesium lotion instead of oil. Do you think it works as well?

        thx
        Jamarys

  3. Sarah says:

    I had terrible RLS with my third pregnancy. Hyland’s homeopathic remedy “Restful Legs” wasvery helpful for me. It took about an hour to kick in, so I just made sure that I took it well before I went to bed.

    • Sheila says:

      I, too, have used Hyland’s “Restful Legs” and it has worked wonderfully for me. I highly recommend it.

      • Rose says:

        thank you Sarah and Sheila. I will consider this as a viable option.

        • Reggie Greenleaf says:

          I use the Hyland’s for Leg Cramps usually along with a Coral Calcium cap that also has magnesium in it and within 15-20 minutes the sensations stop and I sleep like a baby!

  4. Wendy says:

    In my case, I think it is the lack of good blood circulation that gives my legs the creepy-crawlies. I have found that taking anywhere from 800 IU -1,000 IU of vitamin e daily fixes the problem.

  5. Elisabeth says:

    My husband’s restless legs respond very well to our homemade nervine tincture:
    3/8 c hops
    1/8 c St John’s Wort
    1 oz hot water
    5 oz Vodka

    http://www.bulkherbstore.com/how-to/Make_a_Tincture?id=Yt7QsMh5

    • milly van says:

      Yes, 5 oz of vodka will stop anything that’s restless

      • Natasha says:

        The vodka actually extracts the beneficial properties from the herbs. One wouldn’t take the 5 oz in one dose. It is a tincture that would most likely be taken a few drops at a time (ml). ;)

  6. Kristen says:

    I used to have restless legs at night, especially with being pretty active. After finding I had adrenal fatigue and supplementing with liquid ionic supplements (I like Mineralife), B vitamins (lypospheric brand) and others, and getting off birth control, I haven’t had any problems with rls or sleep :-)

  7. Brian says:

    Calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement seems to be working for me right now. For many months I used the bar of soap under the fitted sheet at the foot of the bed. In fact I still have a bar of soap there. But it quit working, or seemed to. I would switch the soap when it quit working and got immediate relief. When it stopped working altogether I started looking at alternative remedies. Have been taking the cal/mag/zinc supplement for 5 days now and have had no zingers during that time.

    • Janie says:

      Can you explain the bar of soap?

      • I cannot explain how the bar of soap works, but it DOES! I have RLS, have had it for years, plus I get toe/foot cramps,especially if I have done a lot of walking on very hard surfaces. I use a bar of Zest soap – keep it in the drawer of my night stand. When a cramp hits, I rub my foot with the soap and within about 3 minutes the cramp is gone and does not return. I know many people put the soap under the sheet, but the smell bothers my husband, so I compromised. Again, no idea how it works but I swear by it!

        • amada says:

          I have tried the bar of soap, does not work for me,5 members of my family have RLS, I have tried everything, meds, vitamims, and whatever new comes my way, my legs are getting worse, one med. caused me to have a minor car accident, this is by far the most frustrating disease in the world and I would not even wish this on my worst enemy, the lack of sleep from RLS is the worst that anyone can go through, Why can’t someone come up with something. A very frustrated woman who suffers daily and nightly with the dreaded RLS.

          • Brenda Kruse says:

            I’ve had RLS since mid 80’s and it’s gotten progressively worse. In recent years I’ve developed RAS as well. Have been on different needs that worked off and on + used bar of soap which worked for a while. The past 3 mots

          • Betty says:

            I have RLS. I had low iron and now on iron pills. I still suffer some nights, but when I do I get up and eat 5 maraschino cherries. It does the trick every time. My brother swears by it too.

    • ~Keri B, RN~ says:

      After over 10 years of dealing with RLS, & also massive Charlie Horse pain in my calves, I can tell you that the ONLY thing that has EVER helped me is the bar of soap. I even recommend to all my patients. I can’t take even low dose magnesium because of what it does to my heart rhythms, along with nausea and massive hot flashes. If a simple bar of soap works, without being on medications, I’m all for it!!

      • Mitch says:

        I have never heard about the soap thing…isn’t it an uncomfortable lump under the sheet? What is it about the soap?

        • Lolita says:

          My mother uses soap at the very end of her bed, under the bottom sheet. One night her RLS came back; had a rough night. She discovered in the morning that her bar of soap had slipped out of the sheet and lay on the floor.

        • anita says:

          Mitch, I just use a small piece of soap on my calf using a bandage to keep it in place! Works great! Good luck, and I hope it works for you. =^.^=

  8. Alicia Hirsch says:

    I am so shocked that no one mentions stretching and exercise! What is going on? I have to think that it would be cured with the benefits such as increased circulation, increased flexibility, etc etc etc etc

    • Heather says:

      Before I found the remedies I recommend in the post I lifted leg weights every night before bed to try to exhaust my legs into submission. It helped some, but I often had to get up at 3am and exercise for an hour before I could get back to sleep. For me, it is much easier to supplement and get a full night’s sleep!

    • S. Scheetz says:

      It only helps the symptoms subside for a little while. When mine is at its worst, no amount of stretching, lifting, etc. will help. Sadly, none of the home remedies listed here work for me either (and I’ve tried them all!). I have to take Requip or suffer intense RLS night after night. For me, there are luckily no side effects…at least none that I can detect. It does allow me to sleep like a normal person, so as long as the side effects don’t appear, I’ll take it. I know it’s not for everyone, though!

    • cindy says:

      You must not have rls.

  9. Sarah says:

    I had never heard of nutritional supplements for rls. My husband uses the original sun ancon chi machine by HTE, which increases circulation, and has had success with that. These machines are used in Japan for oxygen therapy, and they are pretty cool.

  10. Karin says:

    I was dx with RLS 10 years ago and took the standard meds handed out for it. After listening to Chris Kresser and Morie the Magnesium Man talk about this very topic I started with the Magnesium that Chris recommended and it worked fabulously. I also do the Epsom salt baths every week.
    RLS gone!

  11. This post was like a light bulb for me. :) Thank you!

  12. Andrea says:

    Yes!! Magnesium worked for me!

  13. Emersonpickle says:

    Acid reducers such as ranitidine or tums also make it difficult to absorb magnesium which could not only make for RLS but migraines also. I started drinking CALM, a liquid magnesium supplement ( I get online or at Wholefoods) and I haven’t had a migraine in months. It’s my saving grace.

  14. darcylu says:

    Changing my diet worked for me. I have MS, and I now do a strict Dr, Terry L. Wahls/Paleo – no more dairy, grains, soy, legumes, sugar, white potatoes. I eat a wide variety of veggies, berries and some seafood/a little poultry/rarely meat. I swear by the bone broths! This is a great article. Thanks!

  15. Cheryl says:

    Hello, I have read your article on restless leg syndrome. It is good information. However, ELSE is also hereditary. everyone on my Mothers side has it, I have it, and my Grandchildren has it to. My family and I have always grown our own veggies, and raised our own meats, and poultry products. Only thing i know that has to be a factor is our health and beauty products. Hasn’t anybody seen the way kids are maturing way earlier than they did a few decades ago?

  16. Rose says:

    Thank you for this post Heather. My husband has this and it comes and goes. I appreciate one of the comments about gluten, grains and sugar. This seems to be a problem for my family but I cannot seem to figure out a good eating schedule that doesn’t include these but fits into our budget of $135/wk. With kids under 5 it’s very difficult to please everyone. I will also try the magnesium, as I know this is a huge factor.

  17. ~Keri B, RN~ says:

    I have to say that I don’t doubt the magnesium at all, but I personally cannot take it or I get extremely nauseas, have major hot flashes, & my heart goes crazy. I’ve tried the 250 mg dose, & that is still more than I can take, & I also get the massive “Charlie Horses” in my calves, not just the general RLS.

    The ONLY thing that has helped me whatsoever in over 10 years now is the bar of soap at the bottom of the bed!! I can even tell when it’s time to replace it. I know when we originally discovered anything about it, it was considered an old “Wives Tail”, but it’s one that I will ALWAYS USE, & pass along to all my patients. Actually…..I would LOVE to know what the secret to the soap really is!

  18. Cathy Milbach says:

    Dial soap was recommended to me by my chiropractor. It does work! I have even rubbed my legs with the soap as well as the sheets themselves. I’m wondering if there is a build-up of static electricity in the sheets that trigger the RLS; even though I use Bounce. I do feel a tingling tightness before my legs release it with the jerking RLS. Also wondering what Dial soap has in it that calms/aleviate the RLS. I take a bar of Dial with me when I need to travel; wouldn’t leave home without it!

    • Barry says:

      I doubt it’s due to static electricity.
      I sleep on the floor with no sheets sometimes and it just doesn’t matter.

  19. Morgan says:

    I’m pregnant and I have have RLS not pregnant. It’s been awful while I have been pregnant so I started taking magnesium and it’s been so much better!!! It’s not gone 100% because I don’t want to take a full dose because I am pregnant but it’s manageable now! In a few more weeks ill be taking much more mag. To make sure I don’t feel RLS anymore! I even called my aunt who they gave meds to to tell her that magnesium will help!

  20. Linda says:

    I barely slept for over 32 years, went to chiropractors, acupuncture, homeopaths, neurologists, regular Drs, etc etc etc. FINALLY about 4 years ago I went to a young, local neurologist who told me what was wrong with me. I do take mirapex which works wonderfully and I have no side effects. BUT, I also discovered that I cannot eat NIGHTSHADES ( tomatoes, potato, peppers (red green or other wise), eggplant, paprika etc. I also had to cut out juices of apple and beet because they contain high amounts of the offending chemical in nightshades ( solanine ). I can eat sweet potato thought!!! I did an elimination diet and wow what a difference! I also rarely eat gluten. Now I read the labels on everything and am careful to not eat things that have even been cooked in the same juices as the offenders. Like I can’t pick the meat and carrots our of a stew made with potatoes or eat sweet potatoes fried in the same oil as regular potatoes.
    Also, If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, it will stop an attack very quickly. I was taking thc in pill form with the mirapex for about a year and a half but when I found out about the nightshade connection I didn’t need it any more!

  21. One thing you didn’t mention is the mattress. I used to have a Tempurpedic and at first it felt fine. But as I heated up during the night I sank lower and lower and couldn’t get out of the hole to move my legs until the muscle spasms jolted me awake. I was already taking the nutrients you mention, but they were no match for the loss of circulation. Now I have an innerspring mattress that lets me move and I have little problem unless I forget the magnesium.

  22. Dana says:

    This is the best stuff ever for RLS/Mg issues!

    http://naturalvitality.com/natural-calm/

  23. Lolita says:

    Vitamin E right before bed works for me. My mother swears by the bar of soap in her bed. I will add that I do take Mg, and use mg oil and I am gf and df, but the E before bed is what has worked for this.

  24. Lenita says:

    less sugar and daily walks and/or running is an instant cure. :)

    • Alex says:

      Exercise, especially walking or running actually makes my RLS much worse. I’ve had RLS/RAS for 30 years and It has definitely gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I’ve never tried the soap, but will now. Thanks!

  25. Marilyn says:

    Wow! What a revelation! I wonder if any type of soap works? I’m going to try Pears soap right now!

  26. I swear magnesium fixes almost anything! I first became aware of just how deficient we are in it (from over-used and under-nourished soils) when my second was born and once he started taking some magnesium all his digestive woes cleared up almost overnight.

  27. I have to add the strangest remedy that really works! Put a bar of soap, (doesn’t matter what kind) between your sheets when you sleep. And it works, Unbelievable!
    It should be done along with improving nutrition because it may not work after a while if your lacking nutrients.

  28. Heather says:

    AromaTouch blend essential oil from doTERRA stops restless legs for many and most find RLS goes away with repleted use and often it takes a short time to leave. Favorite Magnesium supplement: Natural Calm. Gets Magnesium in you very quickly. Starting at a single teaspoon is recommended as more can cause bathroom issues. I’ve seen this stop migraines as well for some. Remember calcium, magnesium, & potassium control our muscles. Yoga has great stretches for the legs as does cross country skiing. The body need balanced vitamin & minerals as well as omegas for healthy body and nerve function as well. I highly recommend doTEERA’s Life Long Vitality Pack. Best supplements Ive used. More expensive and harder to get down but my 2nd favorite Multi vitamin is Garden of Life. doTERRA’s vitamin pack has a brilliant Multi-Vitimin: best Ive used, Omega : best Ive used and seen. Can’t say enough good about it and an Inflammation reducer at the cellular level. I highly recommend it. 2 favorite calcium’s is Garden life’s – expensive but worth it: seen muscle craps stop in 5 min (natural food stores carry) & doTERRA’s Woman’s Calcium with is excellent for men as well and also highly absorbable. For more info on doTERRA please see my site. I’ve stopped RLS in myself and assisted others to recover from RLS. The body heals, Drs set bones. Give your body what it needs to heal its self.

  29. Christine says:

    It was connected to low ferritin in our case, and Herbal iron from mountain meadow herbs worked for us.

    • Angela says:

      In the past, my RLS was chronic and I was FINALLY diagnoses with iron deficiency. It was so bad by the time the doctors found it, that I had to go in for an iron infusion. I’ve done that twice. Now, 7 or 8 years later, it’s back and I’m not iron deficient. I do have arthritis in my low back and it seems to begin in that area and then effect my lower legs. I have been off my vitamins a few months because of stomach problems, but am starting back on after reading this! Also find it interesting how many people say that too much sugar is a trigger; gonna watch that, for sure!

  30. Moira @ Shungo says:

    The first time a dealt with RLS it was relieved my massage. As a massage therapist now I can say I’ve seem many clients, including pregnant clients, have great relief though massage of legs, sacrum and hips.

    • Phyl says:

      I’ve had restless legs for 50 years. Best remedy is a hot shower, with plenty water aimed at the legs. I have done this in the middle of the night many times. I also take medications but they don’t always help. I guess I’ll try the soap. BTW, this is a hereditary thing. Both of my parents and both of my sisters have it, as well as my son.

  31. Dave says:

    I used to take prescription meds for my RLS but too many bad side effects. I found out that many supplements available online such as Kratom quiet RLS 100%. It took me years of trial and error but I was curious why during a prescription I had for Tylenol 3 that had codeine, why did this quiet my RLS? It turns out that the alkaloids in Kratom mimic the alkaloids found in opiates without the drug effects. While kratom will quiet your RLS, it also gives a nice feeling of relaxation. Do your own research but I can tell you, Kratom is safe, been used by humans for hundreds of years and impossible to overdose. As you progress in learning about kratom, you’ll find the same information. I usually take 8-10 capsules 1 hour before bed, works great, no after effects and flushes out of the body within 7-8 house. Only side effects I have after using kratom for RLS for years is constipation and drowsy before bed. Kratom extracts beyond 15% are a waste, stick to the powder, capsules are my favorite, plenty of legal U.S. online suppliers.

    • Dori says:

      David I was taking Methadone 5 mgs for my RLS. It stopped them immediately and worked for 5 years. My body got used to the dose and not wanting to increase the dose I have been weaning myself off of the opoid. I read about Kratom, however I saw some articles that said Kratom causes the same sort of withdrawl as opoids. I am truly interested in knowing more about Kratom from someone who uses it, where you can find a reputable supplier and how do you know how much to take. I suffer severely with RLS but don’t want to take drugs for the rest of my life. I would appreciate any help you could give.

  32. Hi Heather
    Inflammation is believed to be a key factor when it comes to Restless Legs Syndrome.

    Results of a scientific study were published in the January 14, 2012 issue of “Sleep Medicine Review Journal” that supports this theory. You can read that study here: http://www.rlcure.com/rls_study.pdf

    You can view the results of other related scientific studies and learn about some helpful solutions at this RLS information website: http://www.rlcure.com

    Inflammation can also cause glutamate levels to increase, which makes the brain hyperactive when you’re trying to sleep. You can read about that here:
    http://www.rlcure.com/glutamate.html

    A blog for RLS sufferers with helpful tips can be found here:
    http://therestlesslegsblog.wordpress.com

    A Facebook page as well:
    https://www.facebook.com/AbsoluteCureForRLS

    Also new evidence that RLS is not hereditary as we first thought:
    http://www.rlcure.com/epigenetics-and-restless-legs-syndrome.html

    The solution is a combination of a proper anti-inflammatory diet as well as introducing natural supplements and key vitamins & minerals into your daily life.

    It’s great to see someone promoting natural remedies!

    David

    • Ellen says:

      David, this is really good stuff! I will absolutely be reading this and “digesting” it, probably during my WILD awake hours (usually 11:15 pm to 12:30 am, and 1:45 am and 3:00 am, any other time in between! I usually finally get to sleep about 4 am and have to get up by 6 to get ready for work. Thanks so much for posting all this.

  33. Debbi says:

    After reading all of your posts and having a husband who suffered from it. He would jump out of bed at night and to get up and walk around. Not only did it wake me up but I really saw how tired he was in the morning. We looked at your suggestions and then went looking on the internet for those ingredients. We did try some of the rememdies you listed with some success, but not totally. So we kept looking. We found a product called Calm Legs. When looking at the information on their website I saw that they had looked at all of the things that could cause the problem and put all of the ingredients in Calm Legs. So instead of trying this or that… he got all of them at once… and guess what??? We are now sleeping at night. I even saw that this is safe for pregnant mom’s. http://www.calmlegs.com

  34. Caitlin says:

    I first began suffering from RLS when I was in heavy training for a half ironman. It was especially bad on days off, and I couldn’t understand why. My boss at the time (a natural nutritionist & supplement producer) told me to cut all of my runs for the week down to 3 miles, from the 6, 8, and 10 for that week. It worked perfectly, and the following week I was able to run normally.

    However, my RLS has come back on and off for the last 2 years, and is primarily caused by iron-deficient anemia. (According to the doc.) Unfortunately, iron supplements don’t seem to help, and eating a big steak once a week doesn’t seem to either. It gets really bad if I do a spurt of intense activity, like a 2-day mountainous hike or something. The only things that have helped at all so far is to stretch before bed. I’m not sure why, but I just started doing this last week and it has really helped. I simply stretched my calves, hamstrings, and quads for about 3 minutes. (i.e., sit on a bed and touch your toes (flex your feet, don’t point them) for 60 seconds, break, 60 seconds, break, 60 seconds)

    You couldn’t have shared this article at a better time for me as I’m on the prowl for natural long-term solutions to my RLS! (It also causes constipation, or is caused by constipation, I can’t figure out which comes first.) But, for all types out there: try the stretching before bed, it really helps me a lot!

  35. Colleen says:

    Although I wouldn’t dream of saying that it would work for everyone, I’d like to share our experience in the case that it may be a blessing to …
    I had heard somewhere else just what you’re now saying, that restless leg syndrome is caused my a deficiency in magnesium. I instantly thought of epsom salt. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. As a laxative, it’s taken 1 TBS at a time, so in large amounts, though disgusting to the taste, is totally safe. My husband has suffered from RLS for years. Some nights were so bad that I had to sleep in a different room. That night he took 1 tsp dissolved in a glass of water just a few hours before bedtime. He didn’t kick all night! He woke up the next morning and said it was the best sleep he’d gotten for years. :) Not wanting to take any chances, he took another tsp. the next evening. I suggested he didn’t want to go to another extreme and that he stop and see what happens. A week later I noticed a bit of twitching in his leg, so the following day he took another tsp. That was approx. two months ago and his RLS hasn’t returned. If it does, I plan to give him another tsp.!

  36. My girlfriend suffers from RLS and has difficulty falling asleep at night. I introduced her to Kratom tea and she says it’s the best thing for relieving restlessness while also helping your muscles to relax. Worth trying every once in a while

  37. April says:

    I also have had great luck with the Hylands Restful Legs and it is really cheap at Walmart. Also, and I know this sounds totally crazy but my RLS seems to be much worse when I haven’t shaved my legs. Like I said crazy but true. And keeping my feet warm while I sleep helps.

    • Ellen says:

      I too tried Restful Legs and yes, it did work. I had a startle, though, when I studied the ingredients. The first ingredient is arsenic! I told my doctor, and he said take enough of it, it will cure all my problems!

  38. Laura P. says:

    Thanks for this article! I have very mild, occasional RLS but I don’t want it to get worse. I am also 17 weeks into my first pregnancy. (:D!) Question: I have tried to supplement with topical magnesium oil, even a low concentrations, but I always get small red bumps. I spray on my belly and chest and the bumps show up there. I don’t get any reaction when I do a bath of magesium salts. But oil is so much more convenient. It’s a big time devotion to do a mag bath every day. Any idea why/what that red bump reaction is? Thanks as always for great info!

  39. Christine says:

    According to Dr. Carolyn Dean’s book, “The Magnesium Miracle” side effects from Ventolin (albuterol) inhaler, used by asthmatics, “include severe magnesium deficiency”. Wow, I was glad to find that out! I make good use magnesium for sure.

    • Donna Mc says:

      I would hardly suggest giving up your rescue inhaler for magnesium. Breathing is not exactly an option for us with Asthma and RLS. I enjoy breathing thank you very much. And reading all the comments here, and will say I manage several RLS groups, including that largest one on Yahoo, that nothing ever works for everyone wen it comes to RLS. I have NO idea how the soap thing would ever work, and I and many of members have experimented with anything you can come up with for a “natural” treatment. A friend of mine with RLS is a chemist that worked in a soap factory. He says that there is no way the “molecules of the soap can jump to your legs” and be absorbed at all. I strongly believe that the only way the “soap thing could possibly work for a true case of severe RLS, which is purely neurological, would be the placebo effect. Now there is nothing wrong with a placebo effect, but it is NOT going to cure your RLS. Just like the other tings mentioned here. None of them have ever worked for me and I have been researching RLS since 1998, or most of my groups’ members. We just have to keep in mine that there are several levels of RLS severity, and maybe for a trivial case of RLS, the natural things mayu work. IT is a progressive disease, and it ramps itself up very few years, at least that is “normal” for most RLSer’s. We have done elimination diets, and all kinds of things. Some people are helped by magnesium. But that works on the smooth muscles, and again RLS is neurological, not muscular IN ANY WAY.. Some people get leg cramps and RLS mixed up, including doctors, and they have no relation to RLS at all,. I suggest looking at http://www.quackwatch.com and search Dr. Carolyn Dean for some fun reading. She does not even believe RLS exists! She blogged about that,m and I quote” If you would get your lazy as**s out of your recliners and move, you would not be restless! Really???????? We cannot STOP moving, so that was about the dumbest thing I have ever read on RLS “Myths”. It was removed from her web site because the pressure to tell the truth was too much for her. So see Quackwatch and read the court papers and charges. Very interesting reading, I promise you. Just being real here.

      • Heather says:

        Donna, I don’t think Christine was suggesting that she replaced her inhaler with magnesium. Rather, I think she meant that she supplements with magnesium to compensate for what’s lost due to the medication.

        I have never heard or read anything from Dr. Dean that reflects the opinions you describe – can you point me to the post where she says this?

        Finally, while I know there are some, ahem, interesting theories about health and wellness out there, I don’t think Quack Watch is a reliable source for sorting through them.

  40. Ruth says:

    I have RLS in a VERY specific situation. When I stay up too late sitting on my couch. It’s weird but I’ll start to get all twitchy and feel like I just HAVE to move my legs but switching positions and such doesn’t really help. But the moment I get up it’s gone (it’ll come back if I get back on the couch though) so it’s actually a good thing for me! It makes me shut down the computer and go to bed. It only happens late at night and only when I’m sitting in the couch! Weird!

    • Sherie says:

      Ruth it’s not weird, because this is exactly what happens to me. When I get up to go to bed, the nights that are bad in bed are the ones if I have been sitting too long. But I will try the restless leg from Walmart!

  41. JIll C says:

    I had RLS during my 4th pregnancy, what worked for me was taking large doses of Vitamin B complex. I usually took 2 B-100s, twice a day.

  42. Christine says:

    One thing I’ve tried that helped was tonic water – a glass right before bed, or if I wake up feeling it I just drink one then. I think it’s the quinine (if that’s how you spell it???) that’s in the tonic water – it worked well for me for about a year – now I”m pregnant and it’s worse and the tonic water isn’t helping, but it used to, it’s safe and easy to take, and it’s totally worth a try if you haven’t before.

  43. Marina says:

    Energetic cleansing. Start with a bath with baking soda and bath salts. Then maybe move up to smudging if you’re up to it. Then house cleansing. Usually things with no cause or cure have an energetic cause.

  44. M. Long says:

    don’t undrstand underlying causes but have definitely connected eating sugar in the evening with a bouts of restless legs.

  45. Jonathan says:

    I was tortured by restless legs for a long time, and what has almost entirely eliminated it (95-99% gone) was drastically improving the healthiness/nutrition of the food that I eat, exercising more, and drinking only water for drinks – and plenty of it.

  46. Jesse says:

    I have been using Ancient Minerals magnesium lotion for probably 6 months now. I was feeling that in my legs and it literally disappears within a minute of rubbing it in. It also feel very relaxed and am able to go to sleep much quicker after using it. I have a bag of their magnesium flakes as well, so I can make some mag. oil once the lotion is gone. :-)

  47. Donna Mc says:

    http://www.rlshelp.org is a great web site that covers every aspect, chemical and natural, of RLS. Highly suggest some of you read the treatment page. soap and diet certainly do not help everyone.

  48. Amy says:

    Hi Heather,
    What would you recommend in place of iron supplementation? My 21 month old has had very low iron since his 1 year check up, despite starting him off on the right foot (delayed cord clamping, bone broth as first foods, etc). We’ve had a very hard time getting his levels back up and have tried everything from eliminating gluten and dairy to seeing a chiropractor. The biggest red flag is his severe sleep issues. He wakes at least 6-7 times a night, stretching his legs and screaming, not so much in pain but agitation. RLS seems like it could be the culprit, but in the case of iron deficiency, what would you recommend? I’ve thought to supplement with magnesium too but it sounds like that would interfere more? I feel like all my efforts are in vain as nothing seems to help. Any thoughts?

    I truly just love your site. Thank you!!

    • Heather says:

      Hi Amy, I know midwives recommend Floradix as a whole food iron supplement for pregnant women, but I don’t know about it’s use in children. If it were me I’d consult with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner to identify more clearly what might be going on. My friend Jennifer Nervo of 20 Something Allergies is a great NTP: http://www.20somethingallergies.com/

      • Deborah says:

        My daughter had iron deficient anemia when she was almost a year old. The pediatrician prescribed iron pills, but I chose to use Floradix instead. The pediatrician wasn’t happy about my choice, but she suggested giving almost double the recommended dose. Follow up blood testing proved that the Floradix worked for her. :-)

  49. Jodonne Hyde says:

    Wow, I just read everyone of these comments, although I’ve tried many of these, I made a list of some other options to try . Thank you and to everyone

  50. chere says:

    Anyone taking anti depressants? I take Prozac and it seems to be part of the issue. I have RLS and brain zaps. Very frustrating.

    The bar of soap did not work for me nor the epsom salt baths. I lay in bed until I am so exhausted I eventually knock out around 3/4am.(plus the getting up two or three times to get some relief) It also only happens at night. One point it got so bad I felt it in my lower back and running through my left arm. UGH.

    I thought it had to do with nerve damage or something like a pinched nerve. I’ve tried everything.

    Today I am trying Omega 3,6,9 and Iron supplements. Let me say this prematurely, as of taking both supplements an hour ago I feel calm. Honestly, like my body is finally resting. Fingers crossed this is the antidote!!!

    Cheers and best of luck. To each his own!

  51. Teresa says:

    Have your ever heard of a bout of mastitis triggering RLS? I recently had mastitis and afterwards have developed what you described above as pins and needles in my upper thighs.

  52. Bronwyn says:

    I have horrible RLS and so does my 6 year old daughter. She began having symptoms at age 3 and it has only gotten worse. Poor girl has a horrible time falling asleep and then moves ALL night long – impossible to sleep if she crawls in bed with us! I know there have been no approved meds for kids – so any suggestions as to how I can help her?!

  53. Betty says:

    For my RLS, this will sound crazy but I get up and take 5-6 marischino cherries. It might all be in my head, but it works every time. My brother swears by it also.

  54. […] Though it doesn’t necessarily address the root cause of growing pains, massage can be a wonderful comfort measure. I found it helpful for my restless leg syndrome, which is somewhat similar, after I gave up tranquilizers and began searching for a natural solution. (I did eventually find one that worked for me, which I wrote about here.) […]

  55. Aurora says:

    Magnesium works like a miracle. I spray it on right before bedtime, and i never have RLS anymore. Haven’t had it for years.

  56. Andrew says:

    Magnesium has greatly reduced my RLS symptoms but I also have to keep an eye on what I eat or drink.

    In particular I still love soda but invariably if I start to drink too much of it my legs will begin to act up again. Sometimes it will take a couple days for it to happen but it never fails to trigger my restless legs.

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