Drinking and Jimmy Legs (Restless Legs Syndrome)

By James Madeiros


Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), or what Seinfeld’s Kramer calls “the jimmy legs,” is a disorder in which those affected feel a constant urge to move their legs to ease unpleasant sensations.

The New York University medical center estimates that about 5%-15% of the world’s adult population suffers from chronic jimmy legs, and some research indicates that symptoms may increase with alcohol use.

One out of every one hundred people in the U.S. experience symptoms and many take medication or seek behavioral therapy to help ease the sensations. People more prone to experience RLS include pregnant women and anyone taking multiple medications or who are suffering from chronic disease.

Although doctors are unclear about the exact nature of the disorder, it has been associated with vascular illnesses, iron deficiencies and kidney disease, among other ailments. This likely explains why neuropathy and Vitamin B deficiency caused by alcohol abuse can aggravate the symptom. This above and beyond that glutamine rebound post-drinking can make it tough to achieve a deep sleep.

Alcohol use in any amount may adversely stimulate the nerves, however, so those suffering from RLS are recommended to abstain from drinking to see whether the symptoms abate. Caffeine has also been linked to the disorder, so Irish coffee is definitely out for anyone who feels funny in the legs at night.


Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).

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