Rob and John are at a coffee shop. John asks Rob what he would like to have. Rob wants to say coffee, but he remembers his leg starts moving uncontrollably. He wonders if his restless legs syndrome will discontinue if he stops caffeine. He shyly asks John, “Can coffee cause restless leg syndrome?” Let us see what John has to say.Restless leg syndrome is the uncomfortable sensation a person feels in their legs. Along with this, they have a strong urge to move their legs. They feel this around evening or when they go to bed. Sometimes, when the problem is more severe, RLS hampers a person’s sleep due to which they feel tired. RLS with lack of sleep can cause a lot of health problems and even lead to depression.Coffee contains a substance known as caffeine. People usually drink coffee or tea in the morning because it makes them alert and active. It “wakes” the body in the morning. However, what happens when you drink a lot of coffee? A typical pattern shows that people get RLS when they try to sleep. Now let us assume Rob drank coffee before bed. What do you think would happen to his leg? Do you think restless legs syndrome will continue or discontinue after having caffeine? You guessed it right, because of caffeine restless leg syndrome will continue. But do you know why? As we mentioned earlier, coffee makes our body and mind alert and active. However, when we have to go to sleep, we need our body and mind to berelaxed. So, at a time when we need to be relaxed, we are active. Our body is full of energy and hence we start to feel this uncomfortable sensation in our legs and want to move them continuously.Let us try an exercise and see how the restless leg syndrome feels if we continue or discontinue coffee. Jot down how much coffee you drink every day for at least a week. If it exceeds more than 5 or 6 cups, that is a lot. Also, note the time that you have your last coffee. There are a few things you will observe. Firstly, the more coffee you drink, the more restless you will be all day long. Along with this, you may also be extremely anxious. Secondly, you will observe that the later you drink your coffee the more difficulty you have falling asleep. If you have difficulties falling asleep, you will see that you feel uncomfortable all over. This is because you are high on energy but also tired. Your mind has been given mixed signals and therefore it does not know what to do with the extra energy. Now, for the next week, drink only one or two cups of coffee a day. Also, don’t have coffee after 4 pm. If you want to go one step further, try to avoid coffee after the first cup. We know it is difficult, but there is no harm in giving it a try. Do you feel any different? Write down what has changed. After you analyze yourself, we would like you to tell us what happens to your restless leg syndrome if you discontinue coffee.Imagine how Rob feels when his legs start to uncontrollably move when he is with his friends or at work? He may feel ashamed and avoid meeting people. Therefore, restless leg syndrome may irritate or frustrate us. If we start isolating ourselves, we may also feel anxious and depressed as the problem becomes severe.When you know that coffee can cause restless leg syndrome, it is obvious that you need to cut back on your caffeine consumption. Along with this, you will also need to make some lifestyle changes that will help with your restless legs syndrome once you discontinue caffeine. Therefore, changing your diet, exercising, and making small modifications in your daily habits can be very useful.In this article, John will explain what is restless leg syndrome (RLS), if caffeine or coffee causes restless leg syndrome, and how Rob can manage RLS. John will also help you understand if Rob should reduce the amount of coffee he drinks and what lifestyle changes he should make. Along with this, John will also explain how caffeine affects mood and behaviors. But before that, let us discuss some key terms that will help you understand the contents of the article better.
- Restless Leg Syndrome – This is a situation in which people strongly feel the urge to move their legs.
- Caffeine– A substance found in tea or coffee. It increases alertness and makes us active.