Will an iron supplement help my restless sleeper?
Many parents describe their children as “restless sleepers” or that their child is “difficult to settle down.” These same children may be overly active during the day or have behavioral outbursts. Others may be sleepier than usual. Children who are very restless when they sleep may roll around and kick the covers off their bed at bedtime or during the night. Some complain that their legs bother them or they ask their parents to rub or massage their legs. These behaviors and requests can happen at bedtime, as well as in the middle of the night. Some children who are very restless when they sleep have a family history of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) as well as iron-deficient anemia.
If you think your little one fits this description and is very restless when they sleep or complains that their legs bother them at bedtime, be sure to talk to your child’s health care provider. An oral iron supplement, per your health provider’s recommendation, might be helpful – especially if something called “ferritin” (representing the body’s iron store) is low (below 35 or 50 ng/ml).