For those with Restless Leg Syndrome, fatigue and a poor nights sleep have become a way of life. Often, those suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome look for anything that may help them overcome some seriously annoying symptoms. Can a weighted blanket help out those that suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome? Let’s find out.
First, What is Restless Leg Syndrome (And What Causes RLS)?
Restless Leg Syndrome is often characterized by the exact symptom in the name; constant stimuli being found within the legs that disturbs the individual suffering from RLS, and thus having their daily lives interfered or outright interrupted. This stimulus can feel like a creeping, crawling, pulling, itching, stinging , aching or shocking sort of pain, often making it hard to classify easily. Usually, these feelings can begin to subside once an individual begins to move around, though sometimes the twitching associated with the syndrome may actually make symptoms worse. More recently, RLS has been renamed to Willis-Ekborn disease, and recent studies have found that up to 1 in 40 people suffer from these cluster of symptoms. In general, it has been found that symptoms tend to get worse with age, and while no direct cause has been elucidated, there are several factors that can increase the likelihood and severity of symptoms.
As per most conditions that are not viral in nature, genetics can play a major role in whether someone gets RLS/WED. For those individuals who develop this condition before the age of 40, it’s been found most have at least one close relative who have also RLS, and there is emerging research that chromosomal sites of mutation may in fact be visible specific to this disorder. The other primary reason an individual may get Restless Leg Syndrome before the age of 40 would be due to pregnancy which usually presents itself at the third trimester and tail end of pregnancy, and is often comorbid (goes along with) gestational diabetes. Speaking of which, Diabetes in general may prove to be a risk factor, through the way of Peripheral Neuropathy, which can also cause pain or similar sensations in the hands and fingertips. Oddly, another potential risk factor is a low iron count in blood tests, even if one does not qualify to be diagnosed with anemia. In some cases, individuals with colon bleeds, heavy periods, or simply people who donate too much blood (particularly in “double red” procedures) may experience these symptoms for some time. This can be worsened (or in fact caused by) kidney conditions up to and including kidney failure, which is certainly a grave concern in and of itself. Lastly, Spinal and nerve damage can cause a significant increase in likelihood of developing Restless Leg Syndrome, and thus one might find these sensations to take place after a crash, surgery or other injury.
With the what and the how out of the way, we next can take a look at if a weighted blanket is appropriate for your case, and how it might work.
Can A Weighted Blanket Help with Restless Leg Syndrome?
As one might expect with a non-medication therapy, it often depends. Some individuals with RLS may find the extra weight, softness and warmth provided by the blanket to be a godsend, while others might feel it is a trip into the Inferno itself. To see which camp you fall into, I would recommend getting a quilt and putting some heavy books on your legs and settling in for a few moments. While not a perfect analog to a weighted blanket, the general sensation might give you an indication of if a weighted blanket is right for you. If symptoms do not worsen or even get a little better, then a SleepForce Blanket might be just the thing for you to get a decent night’s sleep. However, if it makes the symptoms even more maddening, it may be best to look into other solutions. Now for those who do have a bit of relief, then order a weighted blanket and find it to be immensely helpful (perhaps even to the point of being able to avoid Opioids as a treatment option), one might ask “How does this work? It’s just a blanket, right?” Well, not quite.
In many ways, a weighted blanket it more like a consistent, 8 hour long massage for your legs in this case. Using the principle of deep-touch therapy, the weight of the blanket can help provide a comfortable stimulus as well as an increase in serotonin which may calm peripheral nerve activity significantly. This means that whether settling in for the night, or settling into an office chair for a shift, you can stay comfortable longer, and hopefully have a more productive day. To maximize comfort, it’s suggested you look through SleepForce’s selection of blanket options and find which one seems most suited for you so you can be able to control your legs again, as opposed to the other way around.