Sigh. No one wants to be that one person in the office. You know, the person that constantly gets up from their desk every five minutes it seems. Co-workers whispering, side-eyeing every time you look like you’re thinking about making another move. But, what if you’re that one person that actually has a good reason for getting up all the time and isn’t trying to make the day go by faster? What if you have restless legs syndrome (RLS)?
Up to 10% of the U.S. population will experience the “creepy crawly,” “pins and needles” and overall uncomfortable sensations that come along with RLS, a nervous system disorder that affects the legs and causes an urge to move them. The urge to move is usually worse when the body is at rest, like when sitting, so an eight hour workday for someone with RLS may feel like an unbearable eternity.
If you suffer from RLS, you’ll be happy to know there are things you can do help make your workday more bearable.
Get a good night’s sleep.
Having a smoother workday begins long before you hit the office with proper rest. Unfortunately, sleeping is one of the hardest things for people with severe RLS to do. Improve your sleeping habits by going to bed the same time each night and getting up at the same time each day. Sleeping in a cool and dark room is also helpful.
Thirty to 60 minutes of daily exercise that involves moving your legs, like walking or running, is recommended. Schedule a workout in the morning before work, or take a stroll during your lunch hour. Avoid extreme exercise, which may worsen your symptoms.
Contrary to popular habit, a morning cup of coffee is NOT a necessity. Eliminate or reduce caffeine in your diet, as well as refined sugar.
Elevate your desk.
If it’s an option, raise your desktop so that you can work standing up.
Stretch in the evening.
Strenuous exercise before bed is not recommended, but gentle stretching will be good for your body and help prepare you to sleep. Try a few minutes of gentle yoga, with poses that focus on the legs.
Avoiding triggers, the things that can make your RLS symptoms worse, is imperative, especially while at work.