Great news: I’m having a lot of success sleeping and figuring out my RLS. I've been taking Ambien for the last 10 years not realizing that it was RLS that was keeping me awake. I was needing to increase the dose over the last year which triggered my research. What I’ve learned as I've tried to get off Ambien but couldn't sleep:
*I went on a FodMap elimination diet to figure out my triggers- I chose 8 foods I could stick to from this diet (for me being veggie/vegan-ish: eggs, brown rice, cheese, broccoli, cheerios, almond milk, sweet potatoes, tofu) and I’ve been on it for two weeks. I've had four good nights with decreasing Ambien...I’m almost Ambien free (I’m down to 1.25 mg from 7.5 mg Ambien) and falling and staying asleep on a normal schedule (can fall asleep at 10pm after 20 minutes with no ankle movements (unbelievable) and stay asleep until morning, sleeping 11 hours on weekends--unheard of before). Once I’m completely Ambien free for while and no RLS symptoms, I will begin to add other foods and see what happens. (On Memorial Day I lost my mind after one good night and had coffee, cheesecake, and a hamburger on a wheat bun and had RLS symptoms that night, I'm guessing wheat is a trigger but I will play with that once I'm clean for a while.)
*I've started taking ProFErrin Iron- a highly absorbable, low side-effect bovine iron which crosses the blood/brain barrier to increase brain iron stores. RLS cadavers show low brain iron stores despite high ferritin scores. I had my ferritin tests done and I was at 13.5. I’ve been taking 20mg in the morning and then 30mg 10 minutes before I get into bed and I think this is what is doing the trick. I’ve read that to get the iron into the brain so we can sleep, RLS sufferers could to load it up right before bed to give the brain a jolt to get to sleep.
I will update as I go. All of the steps I have taken have come from information I have gathered on this site, so I am so grateful to you all who have contributed your experiences along the way. My doctor had no clue and tried to put me right on a DA and I'm so glad I tried other things first knowing what they can do to the hypothalamus forever...