First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

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GBoomer
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First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby GBoomer » Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:32 am

Greetings! I’m pleased to have been welcomed onto this discussion board.

I’ve struggled with RLS ever since I was a teen. However, in those days, all it took was an afternoon nap to allow me to function as a normal person. In my middle adult years, the need for naps increased making me not function the same as everyone else. I retired somewhat early (at 52) largely because I couldn’t work an entire normal work day without the need of stolen naps in my car, more than once each day.

Anyway, I am enjoying retired life and I can nap whenever I need it.

One of my favorite things these days is exercise and sport. But I am finding that RLS cuts seems to cut down on my ability to improve. I read sports literature about rest and recovery and wonder if my problem is that I do not recover fast enough due to RLS.

I was into running for awhile. I ran a few 5-ks successfully. Then I built up to a 10-k. I would be very tired after a training run, but that was alright. Then I signed up for half marathon training using the Jeff Galloway run/walk method. It was with a group of people. I wasn’t able to keep up with them in following the schedule. After the first day that we ran 6 miles, I dropped out because it had so thoroughly exhausted me. Other runners were able to go out for drinks afterwards!

My brother, who doesn't have RLS and who started running after me, swiftly advanced to running marathons and has run several of them already.

Nowadays, I still exercise, but my sport is pickleball which I learned last year. I want to increase my stamina on the court by doing some interval training. I would like to hear from other athletes with RLS how one factors their RLS into their training. How do you factor RLS into rest and recovery in sports training?

I would love to know how RLS has affected other athletes and how they cope. If any of this has already been discussed on this board, if you could point me to those conversations, I would greatly appreciate it. (I have tried searching for them using keywords without success.)

Another thing I am curious about is naps and RLS. In normal sleep hygiene, it is said to limit naps to perhaps one nap in the afternoon that is less than 30 minutes long. However that is never enough for me. Even if I am in bed for 8 hours during the night, the quality of my sleep is poor and I usually have to get up for the bathroom and/or stretching a few times every night.

My approach has been to just let myself nap as needed. At the most, I have had some days with 3 naps required. My average is somewhere between one and two naps per day, leaning towards two.

After I was diagnosed with RLS through a sleep study about 4 or 5 years ago, my doctor prescribed medication. I tried it, but discovered that it only helped for the first and second day but didn’t do much after that. So, I dropped the medication. (Sorry, I do not remember which one it was.)

Thanks so much for anything you might have to share about these questions and topics!!

ViewsAskew
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Re: First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby ViewsAskew » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:22 pm

One of our moderators runs marathons, so likely he will have lots to say about this.

Per the napping....most of us here are simply so tired that we sleep when we can. I long since quit worrying about napping or sleep hygiene. I also, as with you, have stopped working in my 50's, so I just go with whatever works. I find that my best sleep is in the early morning - around 4 AM to 10 AM - so am often asleep at that time.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

Managing Your RLS

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

Rustsmith
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Re: First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby Rustsmith » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:14 pm

GBoomer, welcome to the board. I am the runner that Views mentioned in her note. Although everyone knows me as a marathoner, I am really a middle distance track athlete (800's up to the mile). I should also add that I retired at age 56 and started training for competition fairly seriously at that point. I was also very fortunate to have access to a nationally known coach. I am about to turn 65 and looking forward to competing in the next age group later this year.

On the topic of rest, my suggestion is to ignore the normal sleep hygiene recommendation on length of naps. My doctor seems to be more interested in the total number of hours that I sleep and not whether I follow the generic sleep advice. I tend to get about 6.5 to 7 hrs at night. I get up at 4A, work for about 2 hrs and then take an hour long nap to get my 8hrs. I also will often take an afternoon nap of 30min to an hour after my workout, if my RLS allows me to fall asleep.

Some of the recent RLS research at Penn State has found that we tend to have greater resting blood flow in our legs, but that when challenged with hypoxic conditions (such as running anaerobically), we do not get the increase in flow that is normal. In my simplistic way, I interpret this as the reason why I can compete well at 800 to 1600m. At these distances, I start off with more blood flow than the competition and the anaerobic conditions don't catch up with me until about 1200 to 1500m. But then my performance lags with the anaerobic work and I don't do anywhere near as well between 5K and 10K, possibly because the "reduced" blood flow compared to normal is now working against me. Then, for the 10K and greater distances where running turns aerobic again, the differences in blood flow between RLS and "normals" doesn't make as much of a difference and it is now simply a matter of stamina and training.

So, my recommendation for training is to take it slowly. When I first started running (at age 40), I did nothing but jog for distances that increased over a period of 2 yrs. After 2 yrs of gradually increasing distance, I then started adding fartlek type training where I would run and jog, sort of like the Galloway method. A year after gradually reducing the jogs and increasing the runs, I finally entered my very first 10K race. I had so much fun that I was hooked on competitions and started training for my first marathon. I took one year to gradually increase my distances for it. I have now run 29 of full marathons and my next (an quite likely last) will be in four weeks.

Since you mentioned interval training for pickle ball, my suggestion is to initially keep your intervals to no more than a few of 200's and to time your recovery period. Start with only a few "slow" 200's (puffing at the end but not completely winded) and with recovery periods of about 5 minutes (that will seem like forever). Over time, you can increase the number and pace of the 200's, maybe increase the distance to no more than 400 and reduce the recover interval to no less than 2 minutes. These workouts should also be done during the morning or afternoon when you are wide awake. This also gives you time to recover completely from the workout before trying to go to sleep at night.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

GBoomer
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Location: Northern Virginia

Re: First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby GBoomer » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:57 pm

Thanks so much, Ann and Steve. Your experiences are fascinating to me. This is my first time communicating with other people with RLS.

Ann, I appreciate your advice about naps. Steve, I will definitely be putting into action your advice about slow increases and timed recovery intervals.

Much appreciated, both of you! :D

ViewsAskew
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Re: First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby ViewsAskew » Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:42 pm

Happy to help - and your questions will undoubtedly help others.

I slept from 5 AM until 9 AM today; it's about 2:30 and I am ready to sleep again. I take it whenever I can get it. Makes scheduling things a bit difficult, but that is the least of my (and our) issues, I think.

As Steve said, it's most important to sleep, period. However you get it. I see an RLS specialist - Dr Buchfuhrer in California - and I recently tried a neuro who was local to me. When she pressed me about sleep hygiene, it was one of the first indicators that she truly doesn't "get" this disorder.

One belief is that we are essentially working with a screwed up thermostat re. dopamine. About mid-morning, our body realizes that the thermostat was stuck open and closes it. About early morning - 2 AM or so - it realizes that it thought it was open, but wasn't, so floods the body with it. That is just one of the many ways our bodies do not work as other people's do, which in turn causes a whole host of disordered sleep - timing, type, length, etc. When this many systems aren't working the way they should, even medications often do not solve all the problems. They might resolve the insomnia, but not the movements. Or the movements, but not the circadian rhythm issues, and so on. You learn to do whatever you need to get better sleep in the face of all that is going on.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest



Managing Your RLS



Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

Rustsmith
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Re: First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby Rustsmith » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:46 am

Gboomer, if you are not already familiar with them, take a look at the Foundation's YouTube series of videos, which are all different and quite interesting. You can find them at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2wu3HrYTr_yHv5KokDI9ecW3WgQhqPJv. The one that you might find helpful in this respect is "Stephen's Story", because my video has to do with RLS and exercise.

You may hear or see where people say that exercise is a trigger for RLS. Everyone's triggers are different, but I believe that the mistake that they make that causes them problems is doing too much to quickly or else trying to do the exercise late in the day because that is when it fits into their schedule. Almost all of us do some degree of exercise, aka walking to relieve our need to move. So it isn't the exercise itself. In fact, I have done training runs at 2AM, because I was wide awake with RLS movement issues and it seemed like a good way to kill two birds. But I did make certain to carry a bit more ID than normal on those runs and my phone, just in case the police saw me and thought I looked suspicious.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

GBoomer
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Location: Northern Virginia

Re: First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby GBoomer » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:36 pm

Ann, what have you found to be good "RLS style sleep hygiene"? Anything beyond the guidelines in the "Managing Your RLS" post?

Steve, thanks for the youtube link. I did not know of those videos. It was good to watch your video. As an avid exerciser, I have found it difficult to see an exact correlation between exercise and my RLS symptoms. Some days I sleep well with it, some times I sleep poorly with it. "Exercise" can mean anything from an easy walk to an intense training session. And the dichotomy between "exercising" and "not exercising" is a false one. As you point out, we all exercise to some degree in our daily activities. And, before the age of technology, people "exercised" a whole lot more, just by living.

ViewsAskew
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Re: First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby ViewsAskew » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:37 am

Interesting question - I think that should be a new post all of its own! To me, it's very important to realize that we cannot control some aspects of this disease. So, if symptoms hit and you cannot get to sleep, all the sleep hygiene in the world will not change that. We cannot apply the same rules for other sleep disorders to RLS.

Per exercise, it likely does not apply to you or Steve...research a few years ago suggested that moderate activity lessened RLS. Study results suggested walking every day or other moderate aerobic activity. IIRC (and hope someone else is sure!), they found that when people were not active, initial exercise worsened RLS, but within a short time of continued moderate activity, that the RLS was lessened. I cannot remember if heavy activity hurt or not, just that they only recommended moderate. On this board, however, we do find that it seems once your RLS progresses to a certain point, activity does not help or hurt, except that the activity to relieve symptoms does relieve symptoms!

Pretty sure a link to the study was posted here when it came out - maybe a search on the word aerobic would find it...then again, maybe it's been written randomly too many times that it would bring up hundreds of posts.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest



Managing Your RLS



Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

GBoomer
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Location: Northern Virginia

Re: First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby GBoomer » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:58 am

Ann, where would a new post about "RLS Style Sleep Hygiene" go best on this discussion board?

Rustsmith
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Re: First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby Rustsmith » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:50 pm

GBoomer - The best forum to put a post on RLS sleep hygiene would be in General Topics: RLS/WED.

Ann - The study you describe pretty much applies to what I recommended for someone starting out. Go slow and then slowly add more activity, and to stay within the aerobic zone. I didn't look back to find the exact study, but these studies often don't run for more than a "short" period compared to the two year buildup I spoke of. It is the sort of thing that when starting, everyone thinks that if you are sore the next day, then you didn't get enough exercise and you need to do more. The problem is that if you are tired or sore, you did too much and need to back off. But everyone wants to speed up the weight loss or toning the body and simply does too much too fast. That is bad for the general population and especially bad for those of us with RLS.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

GBoomer
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:48 pm
Location: Northern Virginia

Re: First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby GBoomer » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:03 am

Thanks, Steve. I just posted there.

badnights
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Re: First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby badnights » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:33 am

GBoomer - since you seem interested in the whole issue of recovery from sports training, I will tell you of my experiences. It hasn't been discussed directly on this board before, although I've talked about a ketogenic diet and intense training (not a good idea) in a thread somewhere else.

I play hockey (ice hockey), I play net in broomball (which is a bizarre sport in which people run on ice ,but it's similar to hockey), and I go to a HHIT gym multiple times a week. I used to go 4 or 5 times but I am cutting back to 3 times, maybe 4 if I don't have many games that week. The reason I'm cutting down is that I can't recover in reasonable time.

The hockey and broomball are ok for recovery, unless I'm really exhausted, but the HIIT workout is hard to recover from. I was on a ketogenic diet when I started at the gym, and during that time I often took 4 or 5 hours to recover from an intense 15 minute workout. So don't go keto.

Now I'm on a normal diet (I am gluten and dairy intolerant - perhaps allergic - so I avoid those, I try to eat lots of fat and protein and carb and veg, no pure sugar, mostly whole foods). I am functional after some workouts but not all. I perform better if I can do the workout right after I get up, in which case I can go to work immediately afterward and perform adequately, most days. If I do the workout 6 or 7 hours after I get up, I have grave difficulty returning to work. It is usually a few hours before I can force myself to finish the hours I owe for the day. (I have flexibility, thank goodness). I can't play broomball or hockey after a workout (well, I can, but I will suck). I know from talking to other people that they don't have these issues. It is clearly (to me) an effect of grossly inadequate sleep.

Another thing is that I lift less weight when I haven't been sleeping well. My maximum lift will fluctuate by 20% or more. Since I never sleep well, it's a matter of sleeping even less well. I often wonder what kind of a Beast-Goddess I would be in the gym if I didn't have this disease :D

Another thing that's been happening lately is a string of soft-tissue injuries. Again, way more than other people at the gym. My theory is that minor tissue damage that would normally be repaired overnight does not get fixed and grows bigger next time, and bigger, until it become an injury. My doctor - who is wonderful - knowing that I can't increase my sleep , suggested two things : rest or meditate even when I can't sleep, to simulate sleep and perhaps get some of its healing benefits; and fast, since digestion consumes a lot of resources, and while it's happening, immune , reproductive, and repair functions slow down. Even making sure there's 12-18 hours between supper and breakfast would be good.

She cautioned me not to reduce my total calories because I'm on the verge of fading away as it is :). And I admit, that mini-fast is hard to do. I can stop myself from eating for quite a while in the morning, but not if I work out right away. I can't stop myself from eating at night. I am ravenous 100% of the time, I rarely feel full and then only for an hour.

So I think that my WED/RLS is having a profound impact on how I perform in sports and how I recover from them, and is contributing to a higher injury rate. Sucks to have this disease.

I said it in your other thread, but sleep whenever you can. Try the meditation thing. When I can't sit to meditate, I do a standing meditation in a Qi Gong pose. That is, when I remember / have the energy. I would theoretically have more energy if I did it more often. I am working my way there, but not very consistent yet.
Beth - Wishing you all restful sleep tonight
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Stainless
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Re: First post. Questions: RLS & Sports Recovery, Naps, Etc.

Postby Stainless » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:51 pm

I'm surprised that someone with significant untreated RLS can nap. That would set mine off even under heavy medication. Even under medication the first 15 minutes I lay down at night intensifies the RLS, then I pass out.

I jogged and or worked out about the last 30 years and for some time did long distances. Searching for a new drug, I went drug free for a few weeks and found jogging was a major trigger for RLS. Now that I'm back on meds I don't get that. I struggled on dopamine antagonists (DAs) and found working out one of my few reliefs from the jimmy legs.

You said your doctor prescribed something that worked for a few days then quit. That was my experience with DAs except I kept increasing the dose, then used extended release and finally ended up with RLS 24/7. Worst year of my life yet some do fine for many years on them.

Like you, I retired early and now have lots of time to work out. I quit jogging because of plantar neuritis but found 45 minutes on the elliptical will suffice (as long as I have some music to cut the boredom). I've read a lot about oxygen flow to the legs, believe there is something to it but it does not seem to affect exercise for me. It is amazing to me how everyone with this disease is so different yet there is a common thread.


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