Travelling is a great experience, but going long distances can be very uncomfortable at times. Just imagine the discomfort that people with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) go through on long travels!
What is Restless Leg Syndrome?
RLS is a condition that causes uncomfortable sensations ranging from tingling, crawling, burning, and aching in the legs, or an overwhelming urge to move the affected leg. It affects 1 out of 10 people at least once in their lifetime.
This syndrome affects people mostly at night, when sitting down, resting, or sleeping. When the person is affected by RLS when sleeping, it’s called Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep (PLMS). PLMS will cause sleep irregularities.
There are two types of RLS: Primary RLS and Secondary RLS.
Primary RLS is seen to start before the age of 40, and the symptoms may worsen over time. It affects the person throughout their life.
Secondary RLS, on the other hand, starts after the age of 45, and the symptoms do not worsen over time, but it may happen suddenly.
What causes RLS?
RLS can be caused by the following conditions:
- Iron deficiency
- Intake of stimulants like Caffeine, drugs, or nicotine
- Kidney failure
- Genetic disorders
Some conditions mentioned above act as triggers to the syndrome.
So how do you treat RLS while travelling?
1. Adopt healthy sleep habits
When booking a hotel, you should book a cool and quiet room whenever possible. Also, avoid using gadgets or watching TV an hour before going to bed, and go to bed at the same time everyday to ensure a good night’s sleep.
2. Exercise or take up a sport
Exercise and physical activities can also help deal with RLS. You can go walking, take up a sport, or other similar physical activities.
If your legs feel too uncomfortable, a ten-minute walk or stretching your legs helps a great deal!
3. Massage your leg muscles
An expensive spa day is not necessary – you can just massage your leg muscles yourself. Spend a few minutes doing this for 2 or 3 days a week, and it will help with the discomfort.
4. Increase your iron intake
Iron deficiency is said to be one of the main causes of RLS, and taking iron supplements can help. Consuming foods high in iron can also be helpful if you cannot find iron supplements.
Foods high in iron include spinach, red meat, liver, pumpkin seeds, and more.
5. Use cold or hot compresses
Cold or hot compresses can help with the syndrome as well. If such compresses are not available immediately, compression socks can come in handy.
Compression socks are tighter at the ankles than at the knees and helps the blood flow from the leg up. So keep in mind to carry either a hot compression, cold compression, or compression socks.
6. Avoid stimulants
Keep in mind to avoid or reduce intake of any stimulants while travelling. Stimulants include sugary drinks, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, tobacco, or anti-nausea and antipsychotic drugs.
These stimulants can cause you to stay awake more than normal resulting in poor sleep.
7. Engage your mind
Carry something to distract your mind from the discomfort of travelling. Carry a book to read, a sudoku or crossword collection, or activities that keep you engaged and raise your dopamine levels.
Do you think you are suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?
For proper consultation and the best treatment on all types of sleepcare problems including RLS, please visit us at Swacon International Hospital where our expert medical staff are always on hand to help you.
Health for All