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:
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.”
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.