RLS and Alcohol : My wife constantly... - Restless Legs Syn...

Restless Legs Syndrome

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RLS and Alcohol


My wife constantly nags me about drinking alcohol as she is convinced it causes my RLS.

I do not drink a lot, a glass of wine with dinner, and a large Scotch in the evening.

What's your experience, do you avoid alcohol like they tell you on the instructions of Ropinerole or do you have an occasional drink?

22 Replies

I gave up alcohol a year ago as it sends my RLS through the roof. It's up to you though - if it affects your RLS and you still want to drink, it's your choice.

I prefer my sleep ( or what little I can get).

Strangely, when I was on ropinirole, I could drink alcohol and it didn't affect my RLS. Now that I am off it, alcohol instantly ramps up the RLS.

Everyone is different- you may be someone who can drink and not suffer a worsening of RLS. If that's the case, keep drinking ( in moderation of course).

I hardly drink. A glass of wine or a whisky once-twice a month. It doesn't do anything noticeable to my rls.

There is a simple test: do not drink any alcohol for 1 night, couple of days later for 2 nights, and so on. And see (write down somewhere) how your rls is those nights AND the intermittent nights.

Over the years I've had to stop drinking as it is a MAJOR factor in RLS for me and many. I can't even have 1 pint without it putting my legs astray so for me its not worth it as any relaxing properties are negated by the increase in RLS/PLMD.

Not to get preachy but although you say you do not drink a lot if we are conservative and say your glass of wine is standard as is your large Scotch, (however home measures are much larger than pub measures as has been borne out by tons of research) then you are drinking over the recommended safe weekly limits for a man.

If as you say you are drinking everyday then your liver is not getting a break from the alcohol and if you are taking drugs for RLS, (or any other condition) then your liver is under even more stress.

I assume you are newly married otherwise you would have learned it is always safer to listen to the wife - ALWAYS! :) :p

beady3 in reply to raffs

Well raffs how are you getting on ,is your rls under control ,or do you get a lot of nights walking the floor. I seem to go for quit a while having good night and for no reason it's back x

raffs in reply to beady3

Hi beady3 I'm not too bad however I have spent another sleepless night; the RLS is mostly under control but still can't pin point the triggers.

It can be so annoying the way you're doing nothing different and then the proverbial excrement hits the van. Hope things settle for you.

I find drinking alcohol is a sure-fire means of inducing/exacerbating RLS. Now that I no longer take dopamine agonists (like your ropinerole) I find that nothing works to control the symptoms induced by alcohol and while I still succumb to the allure of an occasional social drink, I do so knowing that I will get no sleep. When I was on mirapexin it was a little less severe but I would avoid alcohol even then unless unavoidable.

Alcohol is a definite trigger for rls - and also a sleep inhibitor. It may put you to sleep initially - but duration and quality will be greatly compromised.

Your choice.

I'm with Raffs on the wifey bit. Speaking from 45 yrs experience. 😆


One small glassof wine is enough to have me up all night so I totally avoid any alcohol x

Hi Scottie, I have a weakness for single malt and have had to avoid it lately. I have stored my "stock" (only a few different flavours) screwed under the floorboards to stop the temptation to just have a dram. Within a very short time of drinking a glass of wine, a beer or a whisky my RLS flares up and sentences me to a night's pacing the floor. Having with food doesn't seem to absorb it either, so it is definitely a no-no for me :(

Hi Scottie I honestly do think alcohol makes rls worse, I used to like a drink but I take tramodol and it says don't drink and I don't ,BUT as you can see it's 2.30 a m have been walking the floor for hours and haven't had a drink for 3 yrs it make you wonder

Alcohol effect me too.. I hardly drink but if it's a special occasion I will have one but do suffer for it..

I rarely drink these days, so I haven't noticed any effects of alcohol. I have been suspecting that excessive sugar brings on my RLS. Keeping sugar intake to a minimum seems to be working so far. May be that the sugar content of the drinks have an effect.

kicinskil in reply to Eryl

I agree with you about the sugar. Keeping it to a minimum and no alcohol is helping me too. No longer need medication, long may it last!!

To be honest, since I gave up alcohol completely a year and a half ago, my rls is almost non existent after suffering for over 10 years. But it is different for everyone.

Oh those pesky neuro transmitters! "After an evening of drinking, the theory is that GABA dominates the first half of the night, allowing us to fall asleep (and deeply!). But once GABA is metabolized, much of it becomes the excitatory glutamate. And it's in glutamate-releasing brain regions like the reticular activating system (which partially modulates sleep/wake and arousal) where the midnight disruptions kick in." From this article... nature.com/scitable/blog/mi...

I don't drink hate it as exsperience abuse in drink but at times when it's bad I would do ought do no comment but I won't I do all I can get odd week when it's gone but most of time I have it bad we all different I have Napaine and magnesium spray these help me cope

My wife blamed the booze (a can of beer occasionally) and I foolishly disagreed (!). Having a really bad period at the moment and so not drinking alcohol but had a pint the other night and it made no difference. Who knows, it's difficult to isolate anything. Going to minimise sugar for a week now...

Hello Scotti99,

Unlike most people with RLS, I have a glass of wine every night, except when I am out in the evening and driving. It seems to make no difference to my RLS.

Good luck wit abstinence.

As a partner of someone who has severe RLS and PLMD I agree with your wife. Alcohol definitely makes it worse.

Hi. Alcohol is well known and documented to bring on an RLS atack. It may help you at first, but after a few hrs it blocks the dopamine receptors in your brain, escpecially D1 and D3. When dopamine gets blocked, it brings on RLS for MOST people. There are always exceptions, but hate to say that your wife is correct. For 99% of us, alcohol is on the big "no no" list. And, it will also block any dopamine med that you are taking, and Ropinerole and alcohol do NOT mix well at all.

I actually find alcohol does make my legs worse and ends in another sleepless night. But we are human and we cant give up all our pleasures because of our damn RLS. Keep a mental note of your RLS after drinking, just to see if it does make it worse for you, you may find it has no adverse effect on you. all any of us can do is listen to advice from others and see what is best for ourselves. stay safe

Sadly, drinking is the only way I can sleep without my legs going crazy (and some weird, sporadic itch). I’d rather be numb than try to sleep with rls.

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