When Your Spouse Kicks You In Bed

It could be iron deficiency anemia. Restless legs syndrome is common. It occurs at bedtime when blood circulation is slow and leg muscles jerk in response to poor oxygenation. Anemia may not be caused by a lack of iron in the diet so much as chronic inflammation or low-grade infection that results in the body producing iron-binding molecules (ferritin, transferrin, lactoferrin), therefore locking available iron in the closet. A ferritin iron storage number below 20 may confirm anemia, but a high ferritin may simply mean iron is bound up due to inflammation and not available. If that is the case, vitamin C helps absorb and release more iron for use. [Annals New York Academy Science 1980; Journal Chinese Medical Assn. 2007]

Iron pills can cause nausea and constipation. [Daily Mail UK July 4, 2016] In acute cases, if iron pills must be consumed, Ferronyl (carbonyl) brand iron is the safest to use. [Current Opinion Pediatrics 2006]

Restless leg syndrome is associated with may major health problems, so it shouldn’t be ignored. [Neurology 2016] Supplemental vitamin D may be helpful. [Sleep & Breathing 2015] Childhood growth and pregnancy are periods when the demand for iron is high and shortages of this mineral may induce restless legs syndrome. Highly absorbable iron-rich red meat should be a staple for growing children and fertile females who lose iron monthly in their menstrual flow. Growing children, especially boys during growth spurts, who have low iron levels may experience attention deficits. [Israeli Medical Assn. Journal 2011] Even a mild iron deficiency can impair the mental function of young women. [Journal Nutrition Jan 2016]

To confirm the link between low iron levels and restless legs symptoms, regular blood donors often exhibit restless legs syndrome as they deplete ~250 mg iron with each unit of donated blood. [Journal Blood Transfusion & Immunohematology 2010]

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