When you’re winding down from the day, do you ever get an uncomfortable sensation in your legs, along with a sudden urge to move them? If so, you may be experiencing something called restless leg syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease. RLS is a common neurologic disorder that is believed to affect up to 10 percent of the U.S. population, and it’s known for making it extremely difficult to get a good night’s rest.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for restless leg syndrome, but many people with this condition are turning to a natural solution to help ease their symptoms: weighted blankets. These therapeutic blankets use the power of deep touch pressure to produce a calming effect on the body, which may be beneficial for people with RLS.
So, can weighted blankets help with restless leg syndrome or is it just wishful thinking? Below, we’ll take a closer look at RLS and how weighted blankets can potentially help people with this condition.Browse Weighted Blankets
What Is RLS?
Restless leg syndrome is a condition that triggers an uncomfortable sensation in the body, typically followed by an overwhelming urge to move to get relief. People with RLS often describe the sensation as being achy, tingly, restless or twitchy.
RLS mostly affects the lower limbs, but it can also affect the arms, torso and (in rare cases) the head. Symptoms of RLS often become worse at night, making it difficult for the person to fall or stay asleep.
What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?
While the exact cause of restless leg syndrome is still unknown, some scientists believe that it may be related to how the brain uses dopamine, which is an important chemical messenger that helps control muscle activity and movement. Dopamine levels naturally decline throughout the day, which may be why RLS symptoms are worse in the evening. Other possible causes of RLS include heredity, pregnancy, iron deficiency and long-term health conditions such as fibromyalgia or chronic kidney disease.
How Can a Weighted Blanket Help People with Restless Leg Syndrome?
Symptoms of restless leg syndrome can run the gamut from mildly annoying to extremely bothersome. If you have RLS, here a few ways a weighted blanket can potentially improve your life:
- Weighted blankets act as a distraction. Another reason why RLS might seem worse at night is because you’re simply paying more attention to it. Weighted blankets apply gentle pressure to your body, which helps pull your attention away from the uncomfortable sensation in your legs.
- Weighted blankets improve sleep quality and duration. Let’s face it, getting a good night’s sleep with RLS can be tricky. You may have the desire to get up, stretch or pace around your home, which can interrupt your sleep and cause daytime drowsiness. While weighted blankets may not cure RLS symptoms, they have been scientifically proven to help improve sleep quality, and better sleep habits can potentially offset some of the effects of RLS. Weighted blankets make it easier to fall into a peaceful slumber by boosting serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps your body produce melatonin (the sleep hormone).
- Weighted blankets lower stress. Another way weighted blankets can help is by lowering stress, a common trigger of RLS. Weighted blankets essentially trick your mind into thinking you’re being held, which lowers cortisol (the body’s main stress hormone).
- Weighted blankets are a mood-booster. Feeling grumpy after a sleepless night caused by RLS? Try snuggling up with a weighted blanket. The therapeutic pressure of a weighted blanket promotes the production of serotonin, one of the body’s feel-good hormones.
How to Use a Weighted Blanket for Restless Leg Syndrome
There is no one right way to use a weighted blanket for restless leg syndrome. Many people with RLS choose to drape it over their legs in the evening as they read or watch television, while others get relief by sleeping with their weighted blanket all night. Test it out and find what works best for you.
If you’re planning to sleep with a weighted blanket, be sure to choose one that suits your needs. For example, if you’re a hot sleeper, go for a cooling weighted blanket made with moisture-wicking fabric.
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Get Better Sleep with RLS
Dealing with RLS can be frustrating. While adding a weighted blanket to your nightly routine may not completely eliminate your symptoms, it can help you get better sleep. So, why not give a weighted blanket a chance? Here at Gravity Blankets, we have a wide selection of weighted blankets, sleep masks and robes to help you get better Zzzs.