You lie down at night, hoping to drift off into dreamland after a tiring day….and as you begin to feel a creepy crawly sensation in your legs, your hopes of sleep slip away. Not only is the intense discomfort too distracting, moving your legs is the only thing that offers any relief.
This is what bedtime is like for the estimated five to ten per cent of Canadians who are living with restless legs syndrome. And as you might imagine, because the condition interferes with an individual’s ability to get sufficient sleep, it can have a significant negative impact on their quality of life.
However, some people may not even mention the problem to their doctor, mistakenly believing it can’t be treated.
In fact, it’s important to alert your physician even if they’re not sabotaging your slumber, since these symptoms can sometimes signal an underlying medical condition. And if your sleep is indeed suffering, non-drug strategies can often lessen symptoms. If these don’t provide sufficient relief, medications can often be helpful.
You can learn more in this health feature I wrote for Good Times magazine’s Summer 2021 issue: ‘When Your Legs Won’t Let You Sleep.’
My heartfelt thanks to the interviewees who so generously shared their time, expertise, and stories:
- Dr. Mark Boulos, a sleep neurologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Toronto.
- Dr. Mandar Jog, director of the London Movement Disorders Centre, at London Health Sciences Centre, and professor of neurology at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, Ont.
- Sue, of Calgary, Alta.
- Maria Marano, information and referral associate at Parkinson Canada in Toronto, Ont.
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