Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Healthy Sleep Habits

Helpful Links for RLS Sufferers who Want to Learn More

Below is a presentation from the Foundation's 2016 educational webinar series, "Coping with RLS and What Sleep Deprivation Does to You." This webinar is presented by Dr. Jeffery Durmer, CMO of FusionHealth and member of the RLS Foundation Scientific and Medical Advisory Board. Visit www.rls.org for more information about our webinar series and other Foundation programs!

Additionally, this Buzzfeed article has some great infographics about tips for getting a good night's sleep!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Symbiotic Relationship of Sleep and Exercise

Important Tips to Help with Your Sleep Cycle

For RLS sufferers, it is oftentimes nearly impossible to fall and stay asleep. Many have reported to the Foundation that they get as little as 2-4 hours of sleep per night. When the recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 hours each night, such little sleep can have debilitating effects on waking life.

However, it is recommended for those with RLS to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, as regular exercise can significantly improve and stabilize the sleep cycle. Studies from the National Sleep Foundation have continuously shown us that:
  1. Exercise reduces stress and tires us out, allowing us to have a longer and better quality sleep
  2. Sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy cost millions in medical costs and disrupt work and social lives
  3. Those that exercise report getting a better quality of sleep than those who do not, and are less likely to have sleep issues
Exercise in the early hours of the morning or afternoon can have a positive effect on the natural circadian rhythm, or "sleep-wake cycle." Exercise raises the body's temperature for roughly four to five hours before gradually falling, thus helping one feel sleepy in the evening around bedtime. However, it is important to note that especially for RLS sufferers, rigorous exercise before bed should be avoided, since it can stimulate the brain and prevent one from falling asleep.

Meditation, yoga or light stretching are great options for easing RLS symptoms before bed, as they can help settle both the mind and body. Additionally, the Foundation's Sleep Diary is a great resources to help find sleep cycle patterns and potential RLS triggers.

Other suggestions for getting a good night's sleep include avoiding technology before bed, sticking to a consistent schedule and cultivating a relaxing evening ritual for yourself. Remember to refrain from any activity that your doctor has specifically told you to avoid. Read more about healthy lifestyle habits for RLS sufferers on our website.

Check out the original article about sleep and exercise and its great infographics at CapeCod.com.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Migraines and RLS

Both Conditions Have Serious Consequences on Sleep Cycles

Like restless legs syndrome, migraines can be horribly debilitating. According to the Mayo Clinic , "a migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on just one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound."

In fact, two-thirds of individuals that participated in the Migraine in America 2016 survey , reported that their symptoms lasted five days or more. That's more than five days of excruciating pain, sometimes enough to be disabling.

To make matters worse, one in six reported that they also experience restless legs syndrome during a migraine attack. These are two serious conditions that interfere with sleep, potentially resulting in a decreased quality of life.

In fact, 66 percent of survey respondents said that lack of sleep could bring on a migraine. The irony is that migraines make it nearly impossible to fall into a restful sleep, yet sleep is one of the best tactics at soothing a migraine.

Read more about migraines and their adverse affects on various aspects of life in Reader's Digest.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

RLS Awareness Day 2016 Winners Announced!

Three Individuals Harness Social Media to Have Their Voices Heard

For RLS Awareness Day 2016, we at the Foundation were floored by the tremendous force of advocacy shown by our RLS family, especially through social media. For one of our Ten Ways to Spread RLS Awareness , we encouraged everyone to take to social media, change their profile pictures to our Awareness Day image and to tag the Foundation. The following individuals went above and beyond the call of duty - cheers to our winners!

Erin (Twitter)

Erin took to Twitter to retweet nearly all of our Awareness Day messages and get the word out. Go Erin!

"RLS Awareness matters and means so much to me for educating others! I've had it since I was at least 9 years old, and thought it was just something weird with me until I'd heard my mom talk of her dad's restless legs syndrome when I was a teen... I was amazed to hear her describe partially what I'd thought I was alone in. There [are] too many things that too many dismiss to be 'all in one's head' and RLS should NOT be one of those!"

Renee (Facebook)

Renee was a true RLS awareness advocate - posting this message over a month before RLS Awareness Day 2016, and urging others to educate themselves about this little known yet devastating disease:

"For the next 6 weeks my Profile Photo will be set to bring awareness to Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). Many of you may not know that I (and my mom) suffer greatly from this terrible disease. While most would consider this not a life threatening disease...I can tell you first hand that IT IS life altering.

"There are countless nights of not sleeping because my legs will not stop moving (even with medications), or have a creepy crawling feeling, they jerk to the point of knocking my husband out of bed or forcing me to get up and walk around the house in the middle of the night. During the day my legs are always moving, always wiggling, or always jumping...to the point of embarrassment at times. The medications available for RLS unfortunately come with side effects that are not pleasant...and I know them all too well.

"PLEASE join me in raising awareness for RLS by:

#1 Liking my profile photo (it will also enter me into a contest to win a prize)
#2 By please take the time to read about it and understand it.
#3 If someone you know has RLS...please pray for them, encourage them and support them.

#RLSAwarnessDay2016 #Cure4RLS #YouAreNotAlone"

RLS Advocacy Award: Gary (Facebook)

Gary used Facebook to reveal to his network that he had been struggling with RLS since 2011, something that he had been desperately trying to hide. This year for RLS Awareness Day, Gary found the bravery to overcome his insecurities and open up.

"RLS Awareness Day matters to me because it's important to put a face and life story to this condition, that is often dismissed as 'not real'. I was diagnosed while being a full-time graduate student, studying to become a higher education academic advisor; this lifestyle requires a lot of reading, sitting, and being still from the waist down! My husband is great with assisting me with RLS pains via deep tissue massage and adapting his life around me. I want to raise awareness by 'coming out' about this aspect of my life in hopes to inspire others to take steps with getting evaluated for this medical condition; to encourage the general public about this condition; and to encourage medical professionals to take RLS more seriously in their practice."