I’m so Exhausted; What it’s Like to Have Restless Legs Syndrome
Hopefully you can't tell by listening to the show, but I'm completely exhausted. Most days I can't even think past 1:00 P.M. Part of this has been my 'Long hauler' symptoms from COVID-19 (I had it in October). For the past week, it's been my Restless Leg Syndrome stealing my sleep.
For the longest time, I know people didn't think RLS was a real issue. Let me tell you, it is. My mom had it, my brother has it, and I've had it my whole life. I have also passed it on to my son, Chase. If you aren't familiar with it, I'll do my best to explain how it feels.
Sometimes it feels like I just have to move or I will literally jump out of my skin. This happens when I sit too long, like my flight to L.A. I was miserable. I have to get up and stretch, do leg exercises, and sometimes just sit on the floor, in the splits. You can't really do that in an airplane or at the movie theatre. Long car rides are also a trigger for me.
It's the worst at night. I can be so ready to sleep, but my body is like - Nope! Oh, it's not just my legs that are restless, my arms like to get in on the fun, too. So, instead of getting any amount of rest, I'm up stretching and trying to wear my legs out. I sit during most of the show, and a lot of times, I'm moving my legs or my feet, just to stay comfortable.
Here's a great example of what happens when my restless legs kick in. All of the orange is me stretching or moving around in the bed, to try and get comfortable. The red shows you how many times I got out of bed to sit on the floor and stretch. The tiny bit of green is sleep. My sleep score last night was a 32, so I'm exhausted and it's not even raining.
My RLS acts up the most when it's going to rain or snow. Basically, anytime there is going to be precipitation, I can feel it. It then turns into an achy feeling. Sometimes it feels like there are tiny hammers hitting my knees. Snow and ice are the worst for me. Once the rain or snow gets here, I start to feel better. When I was little, and maybe still, I thought I was like a weather psychic.
I've figured out a few things that give me some relief. If you are suffering with RLS like me, hopefully this will help you, too.
I keep an exercise band under the bed, so I can grab it, and stretch in bed.
I also keep this handy.
This is a lifesaver! I sometimes just put a small handful in my mouth and it helps.
I recently got on of these, so I can move while I'm watching TV. Chase likes to use it while he's gaming, too.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also called Willis-Ekbom Disease, causes unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them. Since symptoms can increase in severity during the night, it could become difficult to fall asleep or return to sleep after waking up. Moving the legs or walking typically relieves the discomfort but the sensations often recur once the movement stops. RLS is classified as a sleep disorder since the symptoms are triggered by resting and attempting to sleep, and as a movement disorder, since people are forced to move their legs in order to relieve symptoms. It is, however, best characterized as a neurological sensory disorder with symptoms that are produced from within the brain itself.