If your partner is struggling with restless leg syndrome, then they are struggling with getting a good night's sleep...but so are you. This struggle can put a lot of strain and pressure on the relationship as a lack of sleep can negatively affect interpersonal relationships. However, before you start sleeping in different bedrooms, there may be some things that you both can try to help then get more relief, and both of you get more sleep. Keep reading to find out what you can do.
Restless leg syndrome is a syndrome that involves irritating sensations in your partner's legs. These sensations, or burnings, can lead to constant motion in their legs, and even kicking to help relieve the pain. Unfortunately, you also are impacted as you may be getting kicked, or jostled by your partner's constant movement. Restless leg syndrome may lead to insomnia for you and your partner, which can lead to daytime sleepiness, anxiety, stress, depression, among many other disorders.
How you can help your partner
The first thing is to encourage your partner to be evaluated and get on a good treatment plan. If you notice your partner can't make it through the night without kicking, tossing and turning, then it may be time for them to participate in a sleep study or be evaluated by their primary care physician. After coming up with an ideal treatment plan, you may notice improvements in their condition. These treatments will most likely include medicine which may help, however, if your partner still struggles to the point where you are impacted, there are a few things you can try.
A hands on approach may be helpful for you and your partner. Massaging their legs or applying pressure may help to relieve some of these sensations they are feeling. It's important, however, that you are aware of your own limits, as massaging your partner may feel tedious if it turns into an obligation. You may also try vibrating or massaging devices to help as well.
Temperature interventions may provide some relief as well. Drawing a hot bath may work for some, while keeping ice packs or a cold towel around works for others. Play with different objects and temperatures to see if any work for your partner, and be prepared with those interventions so your sleep is not heavily disturbed.
Taking your partner's mind off their restless leg syndrome may help as well. This can be achieved by doing things like taking a walk, or doing different activities right before bed. If you decide to take a walk, make sure it's not too vigorous so you don't overstimulate your bed. Also make sure that your activity is something calming like a crossword, book, or nice conversation. Anything that is too stimulating my negatively impact your ability to go to sleep.
How you can help yourself
If you find that working with your partner is not giving you the benefits that you need, there may be other approaches that you can take to save your sleep relationship.
Changing out mattresses is an option. By finding a mattress that absorbs movement and doesn't transfer it between partners, you may find yourself less disturbed by your partner's restlessness. These types of mattresses can be expensive, especially those with separations, but the investment may be worth it if you get better sleep.
A cheaper option may also be different blankets. Those with restless leg syndrome by have trouble managing the pressure of a blanket, or will play tug-a-war with you. In order to avoid this, separate blankets so that they may adjust the cover as they need without disturbing you.
The last recommendation is to have sex. It's unclear how sex and restless leg syndrome go together, but researchers have found that the afterglow of sex can help to relieve the nerves of those with restless leg syndrome.
The most important thing you can do for you partner is to be supportive and get them the help they need. If they are really struggling, have them take this free online sleep test below.