Insomnia help: Hi ,I'm going through a... - Restless Legs Syn...

Restless Legs Syndrome

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Insomnia help

Jumpey profile image

Hi ,I'm going through a period of quite severe insomnia and I'm wondering how much this is a symptom of RLS. Do other people experience this even when their legs are calm? Could it be a side effect of the meds? I have nothing else going on in my life that could account for it. I would really appreciate hearing your views and experiences and if you too suffer how you manage it.

38 Replies

Daft question, have you tried two paracetamol before you go to sleep?

Jumpey profile image
Jumpey in reply to Spurdog1

Is that what you do? That definitely doesn't help me.But thanks for your kind reply.x

Spurdog1 profile image
Spurdog1 in reply to Jumpey

Worth a suggestion. It works for me.

It's not easy to say how much insomnia is due to RLS.

RLS does casue insomnia in itself. Plus long term use of doapmine agonists for RLS can worsen insomnia.

However, there may be other factors affecting it.

Stress is a big factor in insomnia so stress management is important.

There is also a circadian element to it, so if you lookup "sleep hygiene" and try that out it can help, some at least.

Obviously, if your RLS isn't being controlled effectively, then you will have insomnia as it is part of the condition.

Jumpey profile image
Jumpey in reply to Elffindoe

My thoughts exactly. I think it may be drug related. Thanks for the response.

It’s all rather complicated but one aspect of rls for some people including me, is a feeling of hyperarousal. This is apparently due to the body’s glutamate/ gaba balance being awry with too much glutamate in the system. I have found that a consistent low glutamate diet helps relax me and clears the way for sleep when my legs are okay. It means giving up all sorts of delicious umami flavoured foods but I think worth it to stop the nerviness and the seemingly random insomnia.

Jumpey profile image
Jumpey in reply to Bluebboat

That's really helpful. I get that feeling too at the moment. And I thought about glutamate.


Insomnia, very complex and generalized term. I think I used to have "insomnia" for some 50 years (68 today); all kind of causes and medications were explored along the way: depression, generalized anxiety, nocturia, poor sleep hygiene, and so on. Lots of learnings all these years (king of explosion last two years); benzo's saved my life and career.

Some 3.5 years ago, after retirenment, things started changing, and today, I feel my "insomnia" is about 80 to 90% worked out (closely monitored all nights with this free app OSCAR, combined with the bilevel CPAP dataset), pretty much without medications; right now, I am discontinuing clonazepam (0.2 mg yesterday).

My correct diagnostics of UARS (upper airways resistence syndrome), and RLS (since kid), came some 2 to 3 years ago. Still have too much awakenings (> 15 seconds by definition), 15 seconds to some 6 minutes, which I have been exploring reasons for, and trying an ultimate treatment with homeopathy, meditation, and so on: Most likely an hypersensitive nervous system and generalized anxiety.

What have been worked for me?

1- rigorous sleep hygiene, including sleeping in two phases, almost all nights; 0:30 to some 4;00 - 5;00 am, interval for meditation, energy techniques, etc; and then, 6 - 7 - or 8 to 9:00 am;

2- UARS pretty much completely solved with a bilevelCPAP. Here, I would suggest readings from Dr. Barry Krakow, and Steven Park's books, to start with, beyond their blogs, etc, on "insomnia" and so many more;

3- RLS, also worked out with EFT (emotion freedom technique, and other energy techniques; I know sounds weird, but worked marvelous for me, and for so many others! What can I do?....), and diet. Here, I would suggest readings and blogs from Dawson Church's books and blog, EFT Universe, and Gary Craig's blog, emofree.

Please, before any criticism, disregard, etc, I would kindly ask to go for, at least, the books (the genie in your genes, and The tapping manual, both from Dawson, Sound Sleep, from Barry Krakow, and Sleep Interrupted, from dr. Steven Park)

all the best and good luck to all

Jumpey profile image
Jumpey in reply to Cowbsky

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply.Lots of things to think about. What is UARS and CPAP please?

Cowbsky profile image
Cowbsky in reply to Jumpey

Cpap: continuous positive airway pressure therapy (many varities of machine availabe....please refere to RESMED's sites , vídeos, etc). Indicated for UARS ( upper airways resistence syndrome, sort of minor, some 25% of air flow limitation, enough to wake you up, micro , 5secs, 10...., 15seconds, or not, all night, disrupting your sleep and destroyng you, by provoking"insomnia"), obstructive apnea, 50 to 100% flow reduction, more drastic, with drop in oxygen, etc....this go longe)!...

Jumpey profile image
Jumpey in reply to Cowbsky


Yes it is quite 'normal' for me with RLS- I get about -4 hours a night. Sleeping tablets don't help much either.

graciebes profile image
graciebes in reply to joepublic

I agree with you ,I'm on sleeping tablets also but still get up at daft o'clock ,and more tired than I was before bed .

joepublic profile image
joepublic in reply to graciebes

Nothing works I've found - it's a life sentence .

Jumpey profile image
Jumpey in reply to graciebes

I'm sorry to hear this.x

Cowbsky profile image
Cowbsky in reply to joepublic

Hi,used to be the same for many years for me, that is, clonazepam, clorodiazepox, up to some 0.6mg (loose effect in some 4 hours a.m for me; higher doses, side effects surpass benefiets). I have worked this (after retirenment, of coursse) some 2 years ago, studying, learning how to sleep in two phases (by bracking rigorous some 8 to 9 hours in bed, totally dedicated to me, however, either sleeping, or doing other good things for me; see above). That is, I am always able to get back to sleep, after some 1 to 2 hrs completely awaked.

good luck to all

joepublic profile image
joepublic in reply to Cowbsky

Very similar to me - not sure what 'bracking rigorous' is?

Cowbsky profile image
Cowbsky in reply to joepublic

Oh! Sorry, This poor English! time laying in bed, no more, no less....

Cowbsky profile image
Cowbsky in reply to Cowbsky

Tou can eventually go for this Dawson Church's ( my guru on science of Energy Psycology an so many more)..course.....The Science Of Overcoming Insomnia

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$29.00 USD

Get Started

Take this Course

Welcome to Your Insomnia Course

Hello! I am so excited you’ve chosen this course. It has the potential to change your sleep patterns — in less than 15 minutes a day!

My name is Dawson Church. I’m the Executive Director of the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare. I’ve been the principal investigator in many clinical trials. In several of these we’ve measured people’s levels of insomnia before and after treatment.

Often they begin with “clinical” insomnia, which means that their levels of insomnia are diagnosable as a serious medical problem.

However, after they learn the techniques that you’ll learn in this course, their insomnia levels typically drop to the “sub-clinical” or normal level. As we track their progress 6 – 12 months later, they retain all the gains they’ve made in treatment.

Science therefore shows us that insomnia is a problem that can be solved, given the right approaches.

You’ll learn two key techniques in the second two lessons of the course. These “quick start” lessons allow you to apply them from the very beginning.

You’ll also learn to tackle common problems like:

Difficulty falling asleep

Problems with the quality of your sleep

Waking up too early

Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep

Not feeling refreshed when you wake up in the morning

Disturbing dreams and nightmares

All these topics are covered in this online insomnia course. It contains over 15 practical strategies to help you optimize each part of your sleep cycle. These include energy exercises, body postures, behavioral modifications, visualizations, and guided meditations that will point you to a great night’s sleep from the first day.

The class includes checklists like “25 Ways to Fall Asleep Naturally,” and “13 Ways to Get Back to Sleep.” These will give you all-natural methods to improve your sleep quality and quantity.

The course has 10 lessons, and they’re very short. Each one is just 10 – 15 minutes long. After the first one, an introduction to what science tells us about the problems that come with insomnia, you’ll learn those two Quick Start techniques. Here’s a list of all the topics.

What Science Tells Us About Insomnia

Quick Start Technique #1: EcoMeditation

Quick Start Technique #2: Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

Preparing for a Good Night’s Sleep. Checklist – 25 Ways to Fall Asleep Naturally

Recovering from a Bad Night’s Sleep

When You’re Awake in the Middle of the Night. Checklist – 13 Ways to Get Back to Sleep

Falling Asleep Quickly

Incubating Soothing Dreams

Morning Transition to a Wonderful Day Ahead

Integration: The 12 Steps that Will Make Great Sleep Routine

Each lesson from 4 onward includes a guided meditation that helps you apply these methods to a particular problem. Whether your issue is getting to sleep, or recovering after a bad night’s sleep, you’ll find it addressed in these 10 lessons.

The bottom line is that science shows that insomnia is a solvable problem. Using the practical techniques in this course, you’re likely to enjoy a better night’s sleep from Day 1. Here are some of the many testimonials we’ve received. These will encourage you with the possibilities of what the course can do for you.

This course has helped me to change my sleep! I have not had a night of sleeplessness since I started. The tapping was transforming! Thank you so much for doing this course!

Elaine Goodman Lucey ~ Johannesburg, South Africa

Hi JumpeyI had the same when I tried tengesic stopped the jumpy legs dut also stopped me sleeping.

I now take 1 DHC conrinus 60mg at night along with a zimovane 7.5 mg

God Bless hope you find something that helps.

Thanks for your help and concern. What is DHC?

Kaarina profile image
KaarinaAdministrator in reply to Jumpey

Brand Names: DHC Continus, DF118 Forte

Generic Name: Dihydrocodeine

Hope that helps.

Jumpey profile image
Jumpey in reply to Kaarina

Thanks X

I had growing pains as a child - iron deficient anemia. Fast forward 50+ years - always slept like a stone. Then a head injury skiing - no big deal - but then 5 months later started having sleep issues. Tried a lot of things and discovered ibuprofen helped with returning to sleep when I would awaken at night. Then 5 or so more months - SEVERE RLS kicked in! And I do mean SEVERE. No Sleep. Docs were no help at all (gave me muscle relaxants). Eventually I discovered Johns Hopkins Neurology Dept website and the Iron connection. Iron supplements took away the severe RLS - but the Insomnia remains - to this day (5 years or so). I still use ibuprofen (1/2 caplet) when I wake in the night. It may take an hour but usually less time to return to sleep.

I am trying a bunch of different strategies of late and will do a separate post in the near future to discuss - diet, supplements, earthing mats, etc.

Jumpey profile image
Jumpey in reply to DicCarlson

That's interesting that ibuprofen helps. Wishing you peaceful sleep.

Hi Jumpy. Is insomnia a new problem for you? If so, maybe this is just a weird phase caused by changes in your life or physiology. Unlike RLS, insomnia is rarely a life sentence. Some people, like me, can have it off and on for decades. But most just have bouts, often short lived and not recurrent. I sincerely hope that is the case for you.

Thank you for your good wishes Yes it's new.I had to take a month drug holiday from Tramadol during which time my RLS was absolutely rampant and I had barely any sleep. Now my RLS symptoms are under control again

But it seems that my brain has forgotten how to switch off. And good sleep hygiene so far isn't making any difference.

Hi Jumpey. I've been having really bad insomnia too - some nights and all following day with no sleep at all. RLS I'm sure was the original cause of this, because I'd lie down in bed, then couldn't help worrying a bit whether RLS would kick in - sometimes it did, sometimes not. Now I lie down and can't get to sleep because I'm concerned that I won't be able to sleep! The Pregabalin I'm on now is supposed to cause sleepiness, I find it doesn't do that at all. Have been on dopamine agonists in the past and don't think any of my drugs caused insomnia, it's just quite understandable anxiety so far as I'm concerned. Not much help to you but the least I can do is say I totally sympathise and know just how you feel!

I try to follow the NHS advice on their website for dealing with it, also their advice on sleep hygiene and relaxation exercises. But it's still a problem.

I did an eConsult a few days ago because I'd had enough. The GP who phoned me said she "really shouldn't" but prescribed me Zopiclone (sleeping pills) just for a week or so. Also advised I use the "Calm" app. Wish she could have helped more, but I suppose she did her best. I'm trying to use the Zopiclone on just some nights.

I take paracetamol regularly for another painful condition, and sometimes codeine, but don't think they help with sleep. OOh - I've rambled on enough. Just really wanted to say - you're not alone out there - know just how you feel - and very best wishes for the future. X

Jumpey profile image
Jumpey in reply to sudokufan

Thanks so much for reaching out. It's a real challenge isn't it.Wishing you peaceful sleep.x

I believe that often insomnia is caused by the same thing that causes a lot of rls, i. e. high blood sugar which causes high insulin which drives cells including nerve cells.

Jumpey profile image
Jumpey in reply to Eryl

Interesting. Thanks for sharing. X

You too.

RLS i been diagnosed with RLS since 2006. it has took all these years to figure out my RLS is due to medications. starting with my cholesterol med taking at night. this started my RLS then prescribed dopamine meds with hydrocodone. this year when i realized meds causing issues. i stopped taking cholesterol last 3 months. i take 1 clonazepam 1mg- with one ropinirole .5 mg. my restless legs and insomnia going away. ropinole is hardest thing to quit withdraws are crazy. im hoping end of this year free from meds. hope this helps you. good luck

I just saw your messages. I too suffer from severe insomnia starting this year after taking oxycodone 5 mg daily for 3 to 4 years. I visited Dr. Buchfuhrer the other day and he thinks that my insomnia is caused by anxiety rather than opioid-induce insomnia. and prescribed Xanax for me. But I find the Xanax has no effect on my issue, I still only sleep 3 to 4 hours a night, which greatly compromises the quality of my life. My insomnia occurs even my legs are calm. Are you currently taking any opioid for your RLS? I learned that opioid would alter brain's chemical and caused insomnia.

Jumpey profile image
Jumpey in reply to halperinchen

Yes I was taking Tramadol which I think was causing it. I'm currently on codeine and medical cannibis and I'm fine on that.Perhaps you can try some for your insomnia. Good luck.x

Birdland profile image
Birdland in reply to Jumpey

I got terrible insomnia with tramadol.

When I take oxycodone I get insomnia. When I take methadone I don’t get insomnia.

Jumpey profile image
Jumpey in reply to Birdland

Interesting. At least you know what works for you.

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