Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological condition in which a person feels an irresistible urge to move the legs. The movement temporarily relieves an uncomfortable sensation similar to a tickle, an itch or insects crawling on the skin. These sensations appear to be most common when a person is sitting quietly, reading or watching television, for example. They often are most disruptive when the sufferer is trying to go to sleep.
Moving the legs every few minutes or so not only wakes the person trying to sleep, but also can disturb a bed partner. One reader was surprised to get relief from a bar of soap.
The Soap Story:
Q. After ten years of suffering with restless legs syndrome (RLS), requiring ever increasing amounts of ropinirole (Requip) to sleep, I thought I was losing my mind due to lack of sleep. I spent hours pacing during the night and usually slept in our second bedroom so that I would not disturb my wife. Even with medication I needed to get up around 1 or 2 am and work through a second episode of RLS before finally falling asleep again.
Then the RLS suddenly stopped. I told my wife that I wasn’t having the issue any longer and was puzzled by the change.
That’s when she informed me that a co-worker suggested putting soap under the sheet. She had put a bar under our bottom sheet to see if it actually worked for restless legs syndrome.
I still take my meds (because I am paranoid about not sleeping) but I need only a minimum dose. So far I’m thrilled with this bizarre solution.
Cramp Remedy May Also Help RLS:
A. We have heard from many people who use the soap remedy to prevent nighttime leg cramps. People with RLS may also find this remedy beneficial. We are pleased you’ve gotten such a good response.
Another reader tried a different approach, which you might want to keep in mind if you need it in the future:
“I suffered from restless leg syndrome. After hunting for remedies, I realized all the products had magnesium in them. I bought a bottle of magnesium and take one pill every night. I have not had any more attacks.”
If you suffer from RLS, give the soap remedy a try. Let us know if it worked for you. The soap is ordinary bar soap, and it is to be placed on the mattress pad and under the bottom sheet, near where the legs will be.
Side Effects from Requip:
The FDA approved ropinirole to treat restless legs syndrome in 2005. The drug had originally been developed to treat Parkinson’s disease. The dose used to treat RLS is lower, but it can still have side effects. They include:
- digestive distress
- loss of appetite
- trouble concentrating
- urinary difficulties
- erectile dysfunction
Some side effects are uncommon, but if they occur they can be serious. They may include:
- heart rhythm changes
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- trouble swallowing
- double vision
If any of these occur in a person taking ropinirole, medical attention should be urgently sought.