Do you feel your legs are too heavy or tired with an urge to move it often? Especially, with leg pain at night, both in the upper leg and lower leg? Then you may be struggling with one of the neurological health conditions called restless leg syndrome. But, can stress cause restless leg syndrome too?

That’s exactly what we are going to find out in this article.

Before jumping into the relationship of stress into restless leg syndrome, let’s talk about stress a bit more.

Written by Shani Liyanage, an Australia-base Registered Healthcare Practitioner with a Masters qualification from the University of Newcastle (Australia) and with decades of hands-on experience working for hospitals and in aged-care.


Stress is Destructive

We all know how stress can make changes in our lives. How stress impacts our mental and physical health and how it disturbs us psychologically is unprecedented.

Stress in any form is unhealthy because it is devastating to see how it changes us in our emotional, behavioral and bodily aspects. A stressed mind is even unable to give proper instructions to the body for proper functioning.

You need to distinguish the nature of your stress!

The Short-term Stress

When we are dealing with stress, we should have an understanding of the nature and level of our stress.

So, when we are encountered by stress it stimulates our body to generate stress hormones. These stress hormones then trigger a response that activates our body’s immune system. This in result enables us to quickly respond to certain dangerous situations.

Sometimes this sort of response is beneficial and appropriate as it helps in intense or nerve-wracking situations like speaking in front of a large crowd or participating in any physical competition like running, racing, marathons etc.

This type of stress is short-lived because our body can return back to its resting state quickly without having any lasting negative effects. Normally people are good at handling this particular level.

But what will happen if you stress excessively?

The Long-term Stress

The major drawback of its excessiveness will leave you feeling overwhelmed with stress. You will not be able to cope up with your condition, and you will enter into chronic stress condition, which is also known as long-term stress.

Effects of Stress on the Body

So now we know how stress has the potential to produce a long lasting damage on our mind and body. But, what happened if you keep ignoring it.

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Stress symptoms that are left unchecked and ignored can result in various problems such as;

Out of all, now let’s focus on the relationship between stress and restless leg syndrome.

What is the Connection between RLS and stress?

Restless leg syndrome also commonly known as RLS has a deep connection with chronic stress.

You might be wondering how these two are connected and how stress can lead to RLS?

Well in scientific terms RLS is basically a disorder of the nervous system that urges you to move legs in a manner that is not considered normal.

To put it in simple terms, this syndrome causes peculiar feelings in the legs that is not only felt on your skin but is felt in the limbs.

These unpleasant sensations can be described as crawling sensations like something is crawling within your legs that will compel you to move legs to get rid of that sensation. This may temporarily ease these unpleasant feeling.

Other symptoms of restless leg syndrome may include;

  • Aching
  • Itching
  • Tugging
  • Pulling
  • Creeping
  • Throbbing
  • Kicking while asleep
  • Floor pacing

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Tip: Foot massages such as OSITO can help you manage restless leg syndrome.

How Stress Can Make Restless Leg Syndrome Worse?

So, stress has the ability to make things worse, it has the full potential of triggering your RLS.

Stress causes restlessness which is another major symptom of RLS because it will urge certain sensations in your limbs that will make you rub them constantly until the feeling goes away, other than this it will make your body to toss and turn while you are asleep.

The Genetic Link

Although it is also a fact that any actual cause of RLS is unknown, many doctors declare that it can be genetically transferred. While many other doctors also support this fact that people who are anxious above a normal level, people who are prone to get an absurd amount of stress and anxiety tend to suffer from restless leg syndrome.

Tip: Did you know that Energy Drinks can cause stress and anxiety attacks?

How to remedy this problem?

We know that RLS can seem scary, but it can be controlled over time.

If your RLS is of a severe type, then it is suggested to immediately consult with your doctor who can guide you precisely after knowing your condition and symptoms. He may prescribe any physical or neurological exam.

Other than that, RLS can be treated at home as well. Simple activities can be added to your lifestyle that will make a great difference in treating your RLS.

You need to tackle the root cause of your RLS which is stress. So I suggest some steps and activities that you can add in your routine. These are easy tasks that you have to perform so that it may help you alleviate the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

Tip: Here is our popular article about Home Remedies for Leg Muscle Pains.

Tips on Managing Stress and Restless Leg Syndrome

  • Body massages and Long baths.

Such relaxing hot baths can really release the stress from your body. It relaxes the muscles as well and makes you feel light. It refreshes the mind and body.

If you add some fragranced oils into the warm water it will boost up your mood and will help in curing anxiety and stress.

Try taking long warm baths at least twice in a week.

Also, try massaging the muscles of your legs.

  • Healthy sleeping habits.

The fact of an ideal 8-hour sleep is acknowledged worldwide. So, of course, you should not compromise with your sleep. A cool peaceful environment is necessary for a sound sleep.

Also, you should establish healthy sleep hygiene. It will help reduce stress as well because a peaceful sleep will maintain peace of the mind and body.

Tip: Use a Knee Pillow? They can do miracles!

  • Exercise.

Regular exercising can reduce stress and may also relieve RLS symptoms. Exercise helps you to get rid of the toxins in the body, thus making you feel light on your feet and energetic. But make sure you get a moderate amount of exercise rather than overdoing it.

  • Cut back on caffeine.

You already know that too much sugar and caffeine can cause damage to your body. So, try to avoid caffeine in an excessive amount.

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Tip: Did you know the sequential air compression leg massages such as LX7 Max help you with managing restless leg syndrome?


Stress can really turn our life upside down. As for how it puts us down in significant moments of our life. It not only affects us but also the people around us. Stress is the basic cause of most of the illness and diseases.

Simple practices as noted above can make a huge difference in our lives, we just need to open up and not ignore such lingering stress and restless leg syndrome symptoms. Try talking to your close ones and it is always advised to consult your doctor.


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