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Restless leg causes you to want or need to move your legs during periods of rest or inactivity.
It often makes it hard to get to sleep — or to stay asleep.
But what causes restless leg syndrome?
In this study, 535 long-term participants in a major nationwide sleep study reported restless leg syndrome.
They filled out a questionnaire about their experiences.
Then, they hooked themselves up at home to a machine that measures 12 different body states during sleep.
The machine uses electrodes on the face, head, and chest.
The machine also monitored when the person was falling asleep, the type of sleep, and if they suddenly had a wakeful episode called an “apnea.”
Apnea is where they stop breathing for a few seconds.
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They found that people with restless leg syndrome have high estrogen levels.
They also have high cortisol and high serotonin levels.
These high-stress hormones also cause sleep apnea and insomnia in general.
Estrogen and obstructive lung disease were associated with higher likelihood of developing restless leg syndrome, which in turn was associated with insomnia, increased daytime sleepiness, and higher use of sleeping pills.
This is as far as that study went.
But another study sheds light on restless leg syndrome and a very common problem for men, sleep apnea.
In this study, they looked at 73 patients who had restless leg syndrome, and a group of 34 patients who did not.
Then they compared the two groups of patients.
We found significantly enhanced nocturnal cortisol excretion in RLS.
High cortisol levels correlate with high estrogen, serotonin, and histamine levels.
These are the hormones the body secretes in response to stress reactions.
In this case, they focused on stress reactions mostly before and during sleep.
This also explains why restless leg patients have a much higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and severe obstructive breathing disorders.
Researchers called this stress hormone combination
a possible mechanism contributing to the enhanced load of cardiovascular disease in RLS patients.
So, what to do now?
Stopping restless legs is possible.
If you have less restless leg syndrome, you might want to improve your digestion.
You also want to change your diet — not necessarily lose weight but eliminate endotoxin load to the body.
Restless leg syndrome correlates with high estrogen and high cortisol.
And syndrome often results from gut problems and a resultant overloaded liver that cannot handle the high endotoxin load.
Restless legs syndrome: evidence for nocturnal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system activation.