I’ve mentioned a few hundred times in the past 11 years or so that I’ve had a hard time sleeping most of my life due to my right leg deciding every night it wants to run a marathon.
TL;DR – banana and a glass of water before bed. Took 33 years to get that. All the rest is medical history/story.
If I’m counting right today after 33 something years of attempting to get a fix I’ve been prescribed 27 different sleeping medications including benzodiazepine, Ambien, four antidepressants, two parkinson’s disease drugs, melatonin, exercise, cal+mag regimen, light therapy, a low-sugar diet, an antihistamine, vitamin D at high doses, iron replacement therapy (even though I had normal levels,) xanax and several derivatives, and I really think I’m not scratching the surface based on the number of pill bottles we just chucked.
Most of these ended up with side effects. Ambien I was an ambien zombie. The benzo class I just developed an absurd tolerance to it and it didn’t really do anything for me. Benzos I think the best that can be said of them was maybe I forgot that I was twitching all night. Antidepressants had no effect on sleep, but did on purchasing habits.
The parkinson’s medication was the last straw. Imagine you’re me (who spent a few years on stage,) and you suddenly find yourself at a forum running for a metro council position in which you cannot remember one single line of a speech. A speech you have in front of you. And all the improv you’ve done isn’t working to get more than one damned line out. Meh. I’m not great at that, but I’ve been on stage in front of hundreds of people with no problems before.
Side note – 3 months in my memory’s improved significantly but not running for council and not having to speak in front of 100+ people I’ve got nothing to test it against. I also don’t particularly want to be in that situation again.
About two months ago, a month or so after quitting the parkinson’s meds, fully back in the RLS pattern of body heating up when I try to sleep, right leg deciding it’s time for a run, my 4yo wanted a banana for bed and couldn’t finish it. I ate said banana and didn’t have the leg twitching I felt coming on.
Next night as I was laying in bed, leg started and I thought “what the hell, try a banana again.” maybe half an hour later I’m asleep. Repeated this a few times and decided to test if it was potassium.
Potatoes did not work in any form I tried. Be that fried, baked, or raw. So pretty sure it was not potassium which sucks because vitamin K is easy to get in pill form, and I dislike bananas. You have no idea the dislike of bananas I have now.
After a couple of weeks in I decided to look at the internets for Banana related RLS articles. I found one scholarly piece referencing a study with bananas and the effects over a two months trial which drew a positive correlation between bananas and RLS alleviation but no follow up on it. Can I find it when I’m looking today? Nope.
So yeah, anyway, if you’re suffering RLS consider investing a couple of bucks in some bananas and eating one before bedtime. I promise you I’m not in the pocket of Big Banana or part of the Chiquita Mafia. Can’t hurt to try unless you’re allergic to ’em.
On a related note, while I’ve always been kind of a whale, I always had legs that looked like runner’s legs. After two months plus of no RLS symptoms, I no longer do. Not a great thing, but it’s interesting.
I also have no idea what amount of banana is required yet. I’ve been eating a whole one but last night tried 1/3rd of an extra large banana and didn’t have issues. While I mention a glass of water, I’m not particularly convinced that’s required as I’ve skipped that a few.
Image is the Bananaphone just in case you want one. (See, I somehow turned this from free advice into an ad for a product we reviewed! Look at me, go SEO!) I keed.