Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Jimmy Leg

As many of you may know, I’ve struggled with insomnia quite a bit for the last two years. A major part of the problem is that I’ve been suffering from restless leg syndrome, which I always thought was a rather ridiculous-sounding medical problem. My only method of coping was to go out in the living room in the middle of the night and run in place to try to tire my legs out so that I could finally go to sleep.

My insomnia (and RLS) was especially bad when I was unemployed. I am not a morning person and haven’t been for well over a decade, so it’s very easy for me to sleep in, especially when I don’t have to be up by a certain time. And then, of course, it’s harder to go to sleep on time the next night—especially when your legs are spazzing out.

I figured that with the new job and all, now would be a good time to try to do something about it. So I looked online to see if there was anything I could do about restless leg syndrome. I wasn’t very hopeful, but I figured that anything would be better than pacing around the living room for half the night.

It turns out that my problem may have just been a magnesium deficiency. Apparently it’s connected to RLS (along with a handful of other disorders that seem to plague my family), and after examining my diet, I realized that it was very likely; I just don’t eat a whole lot in the way of whole grains, nuts and beans, and green leafy vegetables.

So I started taking a magnesium supplement, and my twitchy legs detwitchified in a matter of a day or two. Suddenly I’m sleeping a solid eight hours (except for when Lego wakes me up), and I’m waking up feeling pretty decent, too. Last Friday night I went to bed a little after midnight, woke up on my own a little after eight, and was up for the day. I can’t remember the last time that happened.

All of this has reminded me of a coworker of mine from IS. We ISers would make Creamery runs pretty frequently, and almost without fail I would get a brownie or a doughnut. This coworker would often half-jokingly remark that I must be destroying my insides with my steady diet of fat and sugar, and I always just laughed it off. I mean, I wasn’t packing on the pounds, so it couldn’t have been that bad for me, right?

I guess I should’ve listened to her. After all, she was diabetic, so she probably knew a thing or two about the potentially harmful effects of a poor diet. On the one hand, I’m very excited about the possibility that all my health problems are just a result of my diet—and that they are thus fixable. But on the other hand, I’m really not excited at the thought of giving up all that fat and sugar.

Wish me luck.

My Crappy Health 10 Replies to “The Jimmy Leg”
Jonathon Owen


10 thoughts on “The Jimmy Leg

    Author’s gravatar

    Boy, I’m enjoying these “Good news!” posts. Delighted for you.

    Author’s gravatar

    I’m also finding that if I get fish oil pills in the morning, the day goes better. Fish oil. Who knew?

    Author’s gravatar

    Interesting. What’s in it that makes you feel better?

    Author’s gravatar

    Jon Boy – Fish oil is heavy in vitamin A, which is supposed to boost the immune system.

    Author’s gravatar

    Can’t you eat all the sugar and the whole grains and whatever? That’s my approach.

    Also, at least it wasn’t Jumping Frenchman of Maine disorder, which sounds even sillier.

    Author’s gravatar

    Whole grain cookies: brilliant!

    Author’s gravatar

    Thanks, Katya.

    I’m actually not quite sure on the whole sugar thing, Melyngoch; I can’t figure out from what I’ve read whether sugar is bad or whether it’s just not good. Apparently there’s a lot of conflicting advice, misinformation, and crazy lies out there on the internet.

    Author’s gravatar

    Well, according to my beloved mother, who is queen of all things herbal and alternative, sugar depresses the immune system, which is . . . if not BAD, then at least not good, especially if you’re already low in energy or prone to getting sick or whatever.

    Author’s gravatar

    I think you can still get a doughnut as long as you make sure you’re not living on *just* doughnuts.

    As a student I hear of many students (especially those not in residence so no meal plan) who have very poor diets and feel terrible.

    “I feel bad!”
    “What have you eaten today?”

    Author’s gravatar

    Why do young people think they are so immortal as to not care about diet? My 21 year old eats almost nothing but sugars and carbs, but since he’s rarely ever sick, is stick thin (as opposed to overweight) and has a high metabolism, he thinks he can keep eating that way. When he begins to get aches and pains (which he is beginning to now) he won’t listen that he should eat more balanced. (but I can get him to take a multi vitamin.)

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