I've spent a significant part of my adult years trying to figure out how to get better sleep. I've recounted my sleep journey here on Byrdie, citing the various sleep aids I've tried and how I've learned to clean up my sleep hygiene. Compared to what it was a few years ago, my the quality of my sleep has significantly improved. And yet, even still, there's one sleep-related ailment I haven't been able to shake—no matter how many mindful bedtime practices I've practiced. Restless legs.
I've never been diagnosed with restless legs syndrome (and apparently there's no specific diagnostic test—your health care practitioner evaluates self-reported symptoms), but I used to suffer from severe restlessness. My urge to kick and squirm, and the tension it'd cause when I'd restrain myself, sometimes got so bad I'd have to leave the bed and sleep in another room. Having the freedom to toss and turn without worrying about waking my partner typically helped, and I'd eventually fall asleep. But it didn't alleviate the problem.
About a month ago, by chance, I used a weighted blanket when I was staying with friends. I had heard of weighted blankets before and knew they've been reported to help with anxiety and restlessness, but for whatever reason had never bought one for myself. After just one night, I was hooked. The blanket felt like a comforting hug lulling me to sleep. I felt calmer—and not once did I have that irksome compulsion to kick my legs.
I've since ordered my own weighted blanket and it's completely upgraded my quality of sleep. I fall asleep quicker, wake up fewer times during the night, and feel more rested in the morning. After doing some reading to learn the science behind them, I discovered that weighted blankets actually increase seratonin and melatonin levels (producing calming effects and helping you sleep) while also decreasing cortisol (thereby reducing stress). I'm still knocking on wood, but I haven't had restless legs since using it.
Here's how one Byrdie writer learned how to fall asleep in under a minute.