March 28, 2016

Insomnia & Restless Leg Syndrome

By Selene Wilkinson

Matthew, a 33-year-old male presented with insomnia and restless leg syndrome (RLS) that he had be suffering from since his late teens. Every night he would go to bed at 12pm and have difficulty falling asleep, primarily due to his RLS. For people that suffer from RLS, they have a constant feeling in their legs of jerking, twitching and the urge to kick them. Matthew’s symptoms had progressively been becoming worse over the past several months while he had been training for a triathlon.

In the past the patient had attempted to use sleeping pills, but did not like the side effects, such as feeling groggy in the morning, and his symptoms returned as soon as he stopped using them. He had also tried reading before bed and having a warm bath, which both helped a little bit, but they did not relieve him of his symptoms.

After taking a thorough health history, performing a physical exam and requesting blood work on Matthew, we created a plan together to treat his insomnia and RLS.The blood tests showed inadequate levels of B12, therefore I administered B12 shots for 3 months. After reviewing his diet and comparing it with the level of exercise and activity he was undertaking, it was evident
that we needed to increase the amount of folate, calcium and magnesium in his diet through food and supplements. I also suggested eating foods such as turkey, bananas, milk, yoghurt, nut butter and whole grains before bed as they are high in tryptophan, which helps to promote sleep and a relaxation response. We also decided to do acupuncture treatments to help balance his Qi (energy), and to relax muscles tension from his training. In addition I created a botanical formula specifically for Matthew to take before bed that included herbs such as passionflower, skullcap, hops and valarian. I also suggested for him to stop training after 7pm,
doing breathing exercises and meditation 30 minutes before bed, and making sure that his bedroom was completely dark.
When he came back for his follow-up visit in 2 weeks he said that his sleep had improved by 80% and his RLS was almost completely gone. After 4 weeks his RLS was gone and he was able to fall asleep right away and stay asleep until he woke up at 6:30am. He said his energy levels had significantly increased and he was feeling great. Later on he also informed me that he was very pleased with his triathlon results as he beat his personal best.