Sleep, Varicose Veins, and RLS — Oh My!

There’s certainly something to be said for the positive impact adequate sleep can have on one’s health. From strengthening our immune system to improving our brain function and recovering our overall energy, getting your standard six to eight hours of sleep is paramount to maintaining your physical well-being.

But not everybody necessarily reaps the benefit of sleep equally.

So how do varicose veins impact your ability to sleep soundly at night? And how might that extend to other physical conditions you are living with?

My Varicose Veins Hurt More/Less At Night. Why?

There are a few reasons why the physical symptoms of your varicose veins may vary at night.

For one, the Society for Vascular Surgery explains that the pain of varicose veins typically worsen throughout the day, as such a condition is exacerbated by standing or sitting on a constant basis. For this reason, you may experience a heightened sense of physical pain by the time you’re ready to climb into bed for the night, thereby disrupting your ability to fall or stay asleep.

But what if they actually hurt less at night?

Simply put, by lying down or otherwise elevating your feet and legs, the blood that has pooled in your legs is positioned so as to begin circulating again; thus, you may find you are provided with more immediate relief, potentially making bedtime the most physically comfortable part of your day.

I Can’t Sleep Due to Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Is That Related To My Varicose Veins?

While the manifestation of restless leg syndrome (RLS) in a patient’s body does not necessarily have any one specific cause, clinical research shows that it is largely related to preexisting conditions, such as with varicose veins.

“Many studies indicate that RLS symptoms may be caused by underlying varicose veins in the legs,” the Sleep Foundation explains. “Scientists first theorized a connection with RLS due to the similar side effects of varicose vein sufferers, including pain, fatigue, itching, burning, cramping, restlessness, and throbbing.”

For example, a study published in 1995 found that 98% of the 113 RLS patients who were treated using sclerotherapy — a procedure commonly used to treat both varicose and spider veins — experienced nightly relief. Further, an additional 2007 study found that “RLS appears to be a common overlapping clinical syndrome in patients with chronic venous disease (CVD).”

Thus, RLS-related sleep difficulties may, in fact, be solved by seeking adequate venous treatment.

So, Does Sleep Affect My Varicose Veins?

In short, there is no straight answer as to how sleep affects your varicose veins, as each patient will experience their symptoms differently.

On the one hand, without adequate sleep, your body cannot recover properly or function optimally— so, It certainly cannot make your varicose veins worse. On the other hand, a lack of sleep that is related to varicose veins may be a problem that becomes circular in nature.

If you are one such patient whose varicose veins interfere with your ability to sleep, you may find that they keep you up most nights out of the week. And the less you are able to obtain genuine rest and relaxation, the more you become at risk of suffering from heightened venous discomfort the next day, trapping you in a loop of fatigue and chronic pain.

The good news? You’ll always have a team of professionals ready and waiting to help you explore your options.

If you’re ready to free yourself from sleepless nights and the relentless symptoms of venous diseases, then it’s time to contact Duval Vascular Center! Whatever your needs, your health is our priority. If you have further questions or would like to set up a free vein screening, please call us at (904) 518-1398!