Sometimes health problems take some sleuthing, and restless legs at bedtime may be a case in point.
If you’ve ever had them, you don’t want them because the soreness and sleeplessness they cause aren’t fun. If you’re not careful, you become more restless and stressed just worrying about the problem. Soon restless legs may run away with your health!
Experts claim that Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) can result in “moodiness, disruptions to… work and family life, and leave [sufferers] feeling overtired during the day.” Some recommend a drug that can help, although possible side effects include anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts. This drug can even bring on new or actually worse restlessness! When restless legs kick up, you may wonder what to do.
But where does RLS come from, and would the answer reveal safe solutions? Might it reveal solutions that don’t require expensive drugs with unpleasant side effects? Here’s one take:
Years ago my friend Betty had a case of very sore legs and feet. Not restless legs exactly, but painful ones because she’d been walking on them for hours and they were encased in high heels. She paused to rub her legs at a department store counter, when she noticed the hosiery display included some attention-getting mannequin legs clad in the latest tights. “Now there’s a pair of legs that are upside down,” she noticed,” and they’re not complaining at all!”
The thought seemed both funny and profound. The display “legs” had no anxious thoughts to tell them they were sore! Betty laughed. Yet what seemed a comical idea gave her a new insight into the mental nature of the problem. Her own legs had no more ability to act or think by themselves than did the mannequin legs. Clearly, there was a mental cause, not a physical one, to this pain she was experiencing. Betty changed her approach. She took control of her own thinking about the problem. As she pondered and prayed for inner peace, the soreness quickly and totally disappeared.
I thought of Betty when I experienced the symptoms of restless legs more than a year ago. The pain and twitching were troubling, and I was losing a lot of sleep. When I saw graphic images of suffering in commercials for a certain RLS drug, I became even more concerned. That’s me, I worried.
But then I prayed, as I usually do about my health, to see if some restless thoughts and unresolved issues were going to bed with me. They were! Vague anxieties about the future, and specific ones about a few family members. I decided to reject these thoughts as not coming from God, who I believe is always sending us messages of peace and a quiet sense of His nearness. I turned from the TV images to a spiritual source of information about my health, the Bible.
Each night, I felt tucked in by the promise that He would establish, strengthen and settle me. (I Peter 5:10) Soon the restless, worried thoughts ceased, and I had no more pain or sleeplessness.
Never again have I let those restless legs (or thoughts) run away with my health or my peace, and they haven’t returned since. Although I still occasionally wake up in the middle of the night, I use that extra found time to read my Bible or other inspirational literature until I fall into a deep and satisfying sleep.
For me, the case of runaway restless legs has been solved.
(Cynthia Barnett is the Media/Legislative Representative for the The Christian Science Committee on Publication, NC.)