Why do my muscles (particularly my leg muscles) get tense and uncomfortable after drinking in the evenings (particularly after drinking beer)? Has anyone else experienced this? And is there anything I can do about it?
Often, after I've had a few drinks in the evenings, I have trouble getting to sleep because my leg muscles are—tense? restless? It's hard to describe. It's not a cramp, or a tic, or anything that severe—just a discomfort, as if the muscles have a mild but insistent urge to contract or move around. They don't move unless I tell them to, but it causes me to toss and turn. I occasionally get similar sensations in my arms, but it's most common (and most annoying) in my legs.
I definitely notice it more after drinking beer, as opposed to wine or liquor. I mainly notice it at night (but, then, I mainly drink at night). I don't have to be intoxicated to experience it: two or three 12oz beers over the course of the evening will often do it to me. I don't remember when I first noticed the phenomenon, but it was at least a few years ago, if not more (I'm 32). FWIW, I'm (mostly) an ovo-lacto vegetarian.
It eventually wears off, presumably as my body processes whatever substance in the beer causes it, or otherwise renormalizes its systems.
A lot of the Wikipedia article on restless legs syndrome
sounds familiar to me. It says that the most common cause is iron deficiency; the article about iron deficiency
mentions "substances (in diet or drugs) interfering with iron absorption" as a possible cause. Could the beer be (temporary) interfering with my body's ability to absorb iron? Why would this happen mainly with beer, and not
happen with more potent alcoholic beverages? Or could it be due to simple dehydration? (I pee a lot when I drink beer, which is one reason I prefer wine and liquor.)
It's not a serious problem, but it is
annoying, and I've always been curious about it. YAN(A|M)D. Thanks!