Restless Legs Syndrome Discontinue Caffeine - Can Coffee Cause Restless Legs Syndrome?

Written by: Shreya Manerkar – MA (Psychology)

Last updated date : September 29, 2022

Table of Contents
Article title – Coping with chronic pain
  1. Chapter 1
  2. Chapter 2
  3. Chapter 3
  4. Chapter 4
  5. Chapter 5
  6. Chapter 6
  7. Chapter 7
  8. Chapter 8

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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.

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.

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Chapter 1:

What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?

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 along with lack of sleep can cause a lot of health problems and even lead to depression.

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Chapter 2:

Can Coffee Cause Restless Leg Syndrome?

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 be relaxed. 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.

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Chapter 3:

What Happens to RLS If We Discontinue Caffeine?

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.

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Chapter 4:

How Does Restless Leg Syndrome Affect Our Mood?

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.

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Chapter 5:

What Lifestyle Changes Can You Make?

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.

Relax before Bed

A good way to reduce restless leg syndrome is to have a relaxing warm bath before bed. You can also use warm or cold compresses on your legs. These cold or warm temperatures distract the muscles from the tingling uncomfortable sessions.

Along with a relaxing bath, make it a habit to stretch your legs before bedtime. You can also massage your legs before bedtime.

Take Medical Advice

We advise reviewing your medication with your doctor. Check you if are having a reaction to any prescription or nonprescription medicine.

Stay Active

While exercising is important, try not to overexert the body. However, if you have restless leg syndrome, do not try to suddenly start a new workout plan. If you suddenly start heavy workouts, the restless leg syndrome may worsen. If you are starting working out for the first time, keep it light.

Completely Stop Caffeine

If you drink coffee before bed but try to have a relaxing bath, nothing will change. Therefore, it is important to discontinue caffeine if you want to reduce your restless leg syndrome. Some caffeine substances apart from coffee are chocolate and carbonated soda drinks which contain caffeine.

Avoid Alcohol

Even if alcohol helps you sleep, it will wake you up in the middle of the night. If that happens, your restless leg may bother you more.

Change to a Healthy Diet

While everyone needs to follow a healthy diet, people with RLS need to be even more careful. It has also been found that low iron can cause restless leg syndrome.

Along with these changes, we also need to deal with the emotions we feel with restless leg syndrome. If you drink a lot of coffee, and suddenly discontinue it, you may feel caffeine withdrawal. Therefore, it will be beneficial for you to enroll in the courses Chronic Pain and DBT for Social Anxiety so that you can get overall help with the issue.

Reviews 4.1

Learn evidence-based ways of coping with chronic pain

92 Lessons

2 hours

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

€9.00 €12.00

25% discount