There is also an overwhelming urge to move your legs in order to find relief, and since this urge often occurs at night or when you’re trying to relax, it can disrupt your sleep and leave you fatigued during the day.
Imagine, you’ve just gotten into bed for the night, you’re in a movie theater trying to enjoy a movie, or you’re into the first hour of a three-hour plane trip – and it starts. A creepy-crawly feeling in your legs, which is also sometimes more like throbbing or itching. Movement, walking or jiggling your legs is the only way to get the sensations to stop so you can have some peace.
Many people with restless legs syndrome also periodically twitch or kick their legs throughout the night, a condition known as periodic limb movement of sleep (this can be disturbing not only for you but also for your partner).
It’s unclear why some people struggle with RLS and others do not, but it’s thought to be related to an imbalance of the “pleasure chemical” dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is also involved in the control of muscle movement.[i] In fact, some of the medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat RLS work by increasing dopamine in your brain, which helps to reduce motion in your legs.
The problem is that these drugs carry side effects, including nausea, lightheadedness and fatigue, along with impulse control disorders (such as compulsive gambling) and daytime sleepiness[ii] (one of the very same symptoms many people with RLS are trying to get rid of!).
Orgasm is a Natural Way to Trigger Dopamine Release
What if there were a natural way to increase dopamine in your brain and help your muscles to relax? Well there is … exercise, for instance, is known to increase dopamine release (ever heard of a runner’s high?). So is meditating,[iii] listening to music[iv] and even engaging in hobbies you enjoy, such as knitting, quilting, drawing or photography.[v]
But there’s another option too. Dopamine is closely related to sex. Not only do high levels of dopamine increase sexual desire, but sexual behaviors, and specifically orgasm, also flood your brain with a dopamine release.[vi]
The release of dopamine with orgasm is so intense it’s like a powerful drug. Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers noted, “Parallels are drawn between ejaculation and heroin rush.”[vii]
So perhaps it’s not surprising that some experts have suggested orgasm might help calm the symptoms of RLS. But it’s not just a theory. There is at least one published case study of this actually working – in a 41-year-old man who had struggled with severe RLS for 10 years.[viii] He had difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep due to RLS. However, he reported complete relief from RLS symptoms following sexual intercourse or masturbation.
This is one safe remedy that virtually everyone with RLS can try out for themselves. You may very well find relief. In addition, if you have restless legs syndrome, you probably have trigger points. So be sure you are taking steps to release those trigger points.
For additional natural support, also consider Sleepzyme. It contains valerian, which has been found to improve the symptoms of restless legs syndrome, including decreasing daytime sleepiness.[ix] Taken together, orgasm, trigger point release and Sleepzyme might be the combination that finally frees you from RLS, so you can have a sound night’s sleep – and a full, active life during the day to go with it.