I can't count the number of years that I've had it but it's truly been effecting my life, effecting my sleep in a major way for at least 2 years. I have not been one to go to the doctor, just went 3 weeks ago for the first time in 10 yrs. I went because I had arthritis symptoms and fatigue all winter long and I thought I had Lymes Disease, and also because I ripped my rotator cuff (or so I think) back in November, again, never went to the doctor - thought maybe it would go away and get better on it's own, but it didn't.
Well, turns out I've got all kinds of stuff going on inside, I won't get into that but I have to tell you what CURED my restless leg syndrome within a week. What they started treating me for immediately was severe anemia (my blood levels are at the transfusion levels but we're avoiding a transfusion by me resting until my surgery in 2 weeks). So 3 weeks ago my doctor put me on prenatal vitamins until I could get in to see a hematologist. I started feeling better pretty quickly, then the hematologist put me on 1000mg of farrous sulfate (iron) per day (I take each one with a stool softener) and she said she didn't know why the prenatal vitamins would make me feel better so soon but I should continue taking them if they do because maybe there's something in them that my body needs. So I have now been on the iron for almost 3 weeks plus the prenatal vitamin. Within days of taking the prenatal vitamins and iron, my restless leg syndrome completely disappeared! My husband was the first to notice and comment on how soundly I'm sleeping all of the sudden. I didn't realize I've been keeping him up for all these years. My husband is such a skeptic, he says it every morning now "wow, you're still sleeping really good!"
So I am so 'rested' and 'peaceful' after such a good night sleep now, bedtime is just a whole different experience when it's so calm and serene - I look back and it was like chaos going on with my legs every night! SO FRUSTRATING, I'd finally go downstairs and lay on the couch, but then that position would bother me, so I'd end up on the recliner, then finally I'd go back to bed and sleep but I'd miss out on so many hours of sleep.
I did not even go to the doctor for this - I sort of forgot about it and was SO pleasantly surprised that I ended up being cured (at least I hope it stays away and I'm cured) as if it were a symptom to one or more of the other things going on with me right now.
I'm not suggesting that everybody go out and take that many miligrams of iron! Too much iron can be toxic and harm you if you are not low on iron, so if you have had your blood tested lately, look at your hemoglobin and ferritin levels. Maybe discuss those with your doctor if you feel they are low. I can't be certain if it's the iron or something in the prenatal vitamins that are helping me but I'm just thrilled and thought maybe this could help someone else like me. Prenatal vitamins are available over the counter now btw.
I wish everybody a peaceful nights sleep.