Q. I have been plagued with restless legs and other sleep problems for years. The problems come and go and I have been unable to understand why some nights I sleep soundly and other nights I have restless legs.
I exercise regularly and eat properly. I have low cholesterol and low blood pressure and am overall very healthy.
I read somewhere that low iron could cause restless legs. Somebody at work suggested molasses as a sleep remedy and I tried it. For two weeks I have slept like a baby! I take two teaspoons at bedtime.
I do not know if this is coincidence or if there is something about the molasses, but for now it seems to be having a positive effect. Are there other reports of this as a possible remedy for restless legs?

A. Molasses contains iron along with manganese, copper, calcium and potassium. Perhaps that is why it has been so helpful for your nighttime troubles.
You are quite correct that low levels of iron are associated with restless legs syndrome (Sleep Medicine, online Jan. 17, 2013). Thanks for letting us know of your success. We caution that molasses is a sugar byproduct and not appropriate for people with diabetes.
People who don’t wish to take molasses, or who find that it is not helpful for them, will find other home remedies for restless legs in our Guide to Leg Pain.
Some people have some pretty amazing “soap stories” when it comes to leg cramps and even restless legs.
We know that there are skeptics, though. One person recently wrote disparagingly about soap:
“Soap under the sheet! What crap! LOL. I’d LOVE to see the studies backing that nonsense up. I can only imagine such a study…paid for by the institute of drippy-hippie, airy-fairy medical trolling.
“People, if you have a medical problem, go to your doctor. Don ‘t waste your time stuffing soap under your bedsheets. Anyone who says this ‘remedy’ has worked for them is either:
A). Deluded.
B). Woefully bereft of critical thinking skills, or
C). A liar.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Then there is this story:
“Why are people so frightened to try this? It’s free and won’t hurt you in any way. I have RLS [restless leg syndrome} and have been sleeping with Ivory soap under the top sheet for years now. It also keeps cramps at bay. I put a new bar in the bed and take the used one into the shower as needed.
“We were in hotel one night and I wondered why I couldn’t sleep while my feet jiggled all over the place. Realized I needed some soap, so I used the hotel soap which worked just fine.
“When we travel I always remember to remove the soap in the morning so the maid won’t think we’re weird or something!! Have also found that perfumey soaps work wonders and last longer too. I love getting skeptics to try this. They smirk until it works and I get thanked quite a bit.
“Thanks to you for this idea that has made life nicer in a small but important way.”

Wanda
Here is a link to some more amazing SOAP STORIES.
Anyone who would like to try “Leg Soap,” can find a link to our pre-cut soap chips to make this easier. You can also find “Bed Soap” should you wish a large flat bar of soap that is less likely to interfere with sleep than a big hunking bar that feels funny in bed with you. Here is a link to our Soap Store.
What’s your story? Was soap a silly and ineffective remedy for your leg cramps? What about RLS? What works and what doesn’t? Share your experience below in our comment section.

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  1. CT
    Reply

    Hi — for restless legs, I did get relief from using the soap method. On the surface it seems incredible, so I was genuinely surprised when it worked. However, the best remedy for restless leg syndrome is exercise. Get those legs moving! It works like a charm. Not as easy as the soap method, but much healthier in the long run.

  2. Troy
    Reply

    Hello I see no one has replied to this and felt compelled to say the following suggestions have been helpful in many condition that have similar symptoms. I do not have any experience with geographic tongue but I am certain its a further condition of the same disease that you first needed high blood pressure meds for, and then insulin and now yet another (if it wasn’t actually one of the first issues) problem.
    (1) First one that will within a week of diligently taking will start reducing all of the above problems, is min1 or max2 TABLESPOONS OF APPLE CIDER VINEGAR IN A 8oz GLASS OF WATER TAKEN BEFORE EACH MEAL.Only in glass bottle made from whole apples, but it need not be the expensive one with the ‘mother’ still in it)
    2nd if you’re diabetic you would find overnight reduction in the need for insulin from this suggestion. Despite falsehoods of carrots having an adverse effect on glycemic levels, I have made this for friends with severe diabetes and they have confirmed it reduces if not eliminates the next days need for insulin they normally need daily). Fresh mixed juice of {all raw} carrots 6oz, Iceberg lettuce 4oz, string beans 3oz and Brussels sprouts 3oz mixed to 16oz juice has a seemingly immediate effect on pancreatic functions and health. Take once or more daily. (See further details of how this works in Dr Norman Walker’s book “Fresh Fruit & vegetable juices” and the cause of the illness and how to get rid of it, in his other book “Colon health”. Both books can be acquired brand new for less than $8 each and you wont regret reading the.)
    3rd one is effective for all swelling issues, noticeable within a couple days usually when taken diligently, is also known very effective to reduce cholesterol levels, is yucca root, you can get in the produce section of many markets especially one catering to Hispanic customers. Never heat above 105 degrees F, and keep unused portion sealed in tight in wrapping to prevent evaporation of active component. Remove bark and eat lemon size piece at least once daily. You can blend it in smoothies, adds nice thickness and taste to most any smoothie.
    4th is very helpful,but need to be careful you have your diabetes in check with it, that is table spoon of blacksrtap molasses. Even regular molasses is effective but has higher sugar levels and less of the remedial nutrition. Take any way you like, but you must have at least 8oz of water for every dose insure effect. Mixed 4 parts to one part cinnamon is delicious and adds further remedial effects and is a pain reducer. (though it can sting on the tongue. ( make a smoothie with these items with other things I like such as bananas and grape juice, and enjoy the consumption and the results very much.)
    Don’t let the nay sayers sway you off trying these items, I personally have experienced much benefit from all of them, and they will cost you less than a trip to your pharmacist for all of them most likely. Consider main stream medical schools are highly influenced by makers of things you would not be buying if your doctor sent you to the produce section of your market for the remedy in place of writing you a prescription.
    Knowledge only works if you apply it, I know you wont regret researching and trying these options. You of course never abruptly stop your medications, but if this advice is taken your doctor will see improvement, where you can then reduce your dependance on these damaging drugs, and in relatively short time be free of the need for them entirely.
    It goes without saying eliminating as much as possible meats (any kind of animal, but at least all predators/scavengers) non-whole-grain flour products, and pasteurized dairy products is absolutely required if want to fully recover from these conditions. Best hopes to you. -Troy

  3. Laurie M.
    Reply

    That I am not sure of. I was going through menopause at the time and was still menstruating but had not started my hormone replacement yet. Not quite sure what you mean by counter-indications. do you mean side effects? At the time I was taking a over age 50 vitamin and those have 0 iron in them. with me menstruating the way I was and my multiple vitamin having no iron in it, I can see me being Iron deficient at that time. It’s been about 3-4 years now and I now take an under 50 vitamin with Iron in it but not an extra Iron supplement any more. I’m now 55 years old and not menstruating any more because of hormone Replacement but shouldn’t I still have a source of Iron? I eat very little meat but not intentionally but do to lack of money.

  4. Cindy B.
    Reply

    But doesn’t iron have many many counter-indications, especially for post-“m” women?

  5. Laurie M.
    Reply

    I had terrible Restless legs several years ago. I had a terrible time going to sleep at night and during long car rides. Then I got on the internet and looked up what the symptoms were of deficiency of different vitamins and minerals. I came to Iron deficiency and it said it can cause restless legs.
    I bought an Iron Supplement over the counter and started taking it. in 2 days my restless legs were not restless anymore!!! Here the Doctor had prescribed a medication for restless legs that did nothing and the Doctor never thought of being deficient in iron as a cause!! Wish more Doctors would consider nutrition first before handing out prescriptions!!! I cured myself by simply doing some research on the internet!! The Internet is there for anyone to use, people just need to educate themselves sometimes!!

  6. PJR
    Reply

    I am a 67 YO woman in excellent health except for tendinitis in my right ankle, bursitis in my right hip, and bursitis in my right shoulder. I control the tendinitis with an Arizona brace during waking hours, but the bursitis interferes with sleep. I’d like to try the soap remedy. Where do you place the soap?

  7. R. Bolger
    Reply

    Hello,
    I’m am an active 75 yrs old healthy and have had no operations. I take cholesterol, blood pressure medication as well as insulin. I have geographic tongue and have taken over the counter remedies and nothing is helping. Would you please suggest something because this is waking me up several times during the night to get water. Anxiously awaiting your reply.
    Thank you
    R. Bolger

  8. JRR
    Reply

    I take for my restless leg syndrome, tart cherry. Take it each day and it works great. Once in awhile, I may take a little more if needed but for the most part works for me. Additionally, I have my backup flat soap if I need that too. So don’t let the above skeptic stop you from trying it out. As for going to the doctors for this problem, I’m going to try natural stuff before going on a drug that has a list of side effects longer than your arm!

  9. zqicvs
    Reply

    I am neither a liar nor a fool. I worked for 45 years in the medical profession. When I first read about the soap treatment I thought to myself “what crap”. Then one night when I couldn’t sleep because of numbness, NOT PAIN, in my toes (idiopathic neuropathy). I decided to try this soap thing. I took 2 small round bars of soaps, the ones I collect when I go to hotels. Took off the plastic wrappers and stuck a bar into each sock. I slept like a baby !
    I recommended soap to a friend who gets leg cramps at nights but it didn’t work for her, instead she takes a very small quantity of magnesium in powdered form.
    Each of us is unique, what works for one doesn’t necessarily will work for the other. I don’t know how / why the soap works and I really don’t care to know. There’re no side effects and it doesn’t cost me a cent. I’m trying my best to keep away from prescription medication for as long as I can.

  10. Rose
    Reply

    I have had RLS for years. Early on, I tried the soap in bed thing and it did not help at all. I am on medication (Ropinerole) but love molasses so I am willing to try it. I’ll let you know if it works.

  11. Mariellen G.
    Reply

    I have a gimpy shoulder due to too-vigorous weed-pulling last summer. The pain sometimes wakes me up at night, and I have to negotiate with my husband so that I can roll over to sleep on the good shoulder. I tried the soap under the bedsheet trick about two weeks ago, and I find that I sleep much more soundly since. Probably my husband does, too!

  12. Denise T
    Reply

    No one I know would call me deluded, bereft of critical thinking skills, or a liar. Being medically conservative, I am all about the double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial and the peer-reviewed article. I do, however, acknowledge that most home remedies (soap under the sheet, for example) have not been subjected to enough proper scientific scrutiny to be ruled out.

  13. Sunny M.
    Reply

    Last fall, I was having trouble with “restless legs,” leg cramps, and insomnia. It turned out that I was severely anemic, bad enough to need blood transfusions. We still don’t know why I was anemic, but the blood solved the problems. I would think iron supplements could help.

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