Chocolate and Restless Legs Syndrome, an Obvious Link

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Curious if chocolate exacerbates restless legs? Explore the nuanced relationship between chocolate consumption and restless legs syndrome to make informed dietary choices for a more restful night’s sleep.

Have you ever wondered whether indulging in chocolate could be linked to the unsettling discomfort of restless legs?
This intriguing question has sparked curiosity among many who enjoy the delectable treat.

As we delve into the world of chocolate and its possible impact on restless legs, we’re on a journey to demystify the intricacies of this connection.
Let’s dive together into the subtleties often overlooked, exploring how our dietary choices might influence the well-being of our restless legs.

Chocolate benefits

Chocolate is generally considered a healthy food.
It delivers phytonutrients, flavonoids, and polyphenols in greater quantities than the blueberry, that is to say.
Its theobromine is also an excellent factor because it is stimulating, which is why it is recommended not to consume it in the evening so as not to affect sleep.

Finally, it contains caffeine which, combined with theobromine, further accentuates its tonic effect.

  • The impact of chocolate on the heart

The effects of chocolate on heart function are obvious.
It lowers blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide and providing a significant level of magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, phosphorus, and zinc.

Many studies show its very favorable impact on heart disease by reducing endothelial dysregulation which is the major cause of heart disease and in particular the deterioration of coronary arteries.
The antioxidants contained in chocolate manage to protect them and prevent their obstruction by cholesterol and calcium.

  • Chocolate against cholesterol

It can increase HDL levels and reduce LDL levels (especially oxidized LDL), which significantly decreases bad cholesterol.

  • Cortisol levels

Chocolate is often consumed to reduce stress.
It must be said that by reducing cortisol and adrenaline levels, its anti-stress impact is essential.

  • Chocolate improves diabetes

By decreasing insulin while increasing insulin resistance, chocolate shows some effectiveness in stabilizing diabetes.

  • It is good for depression

Chocolate has a very positive effect on mood and helps depressive people to overcome their condition.

The explanation of its influence is not clearly explained but it is very likely that the increase in serotonin levels, as well as the presence of theobromine, be involved in the improvement.

  • Chocolate increases blood circulation

Certainly due to nitric oxide, chocolate is excellent for blood circulation.

It also helps with healing, and takes care of the skin and hydration.

  • It affects metabolism

Chocolate acts on the metabolism by increasing blood sugar and improving cholesterol and blood pressure.

As a counterpart to all these obvious benefits, chocolate is low in oxalates, indicating that if you suffer from kidney stones, it is best not to consume it.

chocolate restless legs

Does chocolate cause restless leg syndrome

How then can you doubt the benefits of chocolate when talking about restless leg syndrome?

Many patients with this syndrome confirm an increase in their symptoms after consuming chocolate.
Whether it’s chocolate ice cream or a simple square of dark chocolate, they claim to have triggered a major crisis within hours of following the ingestion.

Chocolate contains caffeine and any source is contraindicated when suffering from restless legs.

Restless leg syndrome and caffeine

All forms of caffeine are inadvisable when suffering from restless leg syndrome.
Whether it’s coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and of course, chocolate.


Because caffeine is a stimulant, it naturally raises adrenaline levels and therefore stress.
By removing its consumption, the body expels it quickly and you feel less anxiety.

In addition, research shows that drinking coffee six hours before bedtime affects your sleep.
Indeed, caffeine has a half-life of around 6 hours, but it is not its stimulating effect that is the problem.

Researchers found that although anxiety significantly alters the perception of restless legs, caffeine is directly responsible for the stimulation of the central nervous system as well as an increased contractile effect on striated muscles.

Caffeine, therefore, induces increased neuromuscular reactivity which triggers a sensory experience of restless legs.
The frequency and virulence of episodes are also increased by regular consumption.

How much caffeine is in chocolate?

We don’t think about it when we savor it, but dark chocolate contains 43mg of caffeine per 100 grams.

Knowing that a simple square of chocolate represents 30g, you, therefore, consume almost 13mg in one small bite.

Can’t decide between a coffee and a hot chocolate?

Coffee will give you about 96mg of caffeine while hot chocolate will only give you about 8mg.

But in both cases, you will have consumed caffeine which is contraindicated for restless legs and may worsen your symptoms.

How to avoid caffeine?

To mitigate the impact of caffeine on restless legs, it’s essential to identify and eliminate sources in your daily life.
Consider avoiding:

  • Energy drinks
  • Coffee
  • Dark chocolate
  • Coffee and chocolate ice cream
  • Coke-like caffeinated sodas
  • All kinds of tea
  • Certain cold and headache medicines

coffee and restless legs

Caffeine is pervasive and found in various unexpected places, including:

  • Cola nut
  • Guarana
  • Cookies
  • Cereals
  • Yogurt
  • Alcoholic cocktails
  • All forms of cocoa
  • Chocolate milk

Remember that even decaffeinated coffee contains trace amounts of caffeine (around 0.01%), and tea can contribute 40 to 60mg of caffeine per cup.
Opting for theine-free alternatives like red tea (rooibos) or honeybush can help you reduce your overall caffeine intake.
Make informed choices to promote better sleep and manage restless legs effectively.

caffeine restless legs

Caffeine content in various foods and beverages

Ever wondered about the caffeine content in your favorite foods and drinks?

This table provides an overview of the approximate caffeine content per 100 grams (g) or 100 milliliters (ml) for a variety of items.
Keep in mind that these values are approximate and can vary based on factors such as brewing time, brand, and preparation methods.
Adjust your consumption based on your caffeine preferences and sensitivity.

Item Caffeine content (mg per 100g or 100ml)
Coffee (brewed) 40-120
Black Tea (brewed) 15-70
Green Tea (brewed) 20-45
Dark Chocolate 43
Milk Chocolate 20
White Chocolate Minimal
Cola (regular) 8-12
Energy Drinks 10-40
Cocoa Powder 12
Chocolate Milk 2-7
Decaffeinated Coffee 2-5
Red Tea (Rooibos) Caffeine-free
Honeybush Tea Caffeine-free
Guarana (energy supplement) 40-80
Cola Nut (used in some beverages) 30-50
Caffeinated Cookies or Baked Goods Varies
Caffeinated Alcoholic Cocktails Varies

Counterarguments: Unraveling the complexity

While the prevailing belief suggests that chocolate may exacerbate restless legs syndrome (RLS), it is crucial to delve into alternative perspectives to understand the intricate dynamics of this relationship.

Alternative perspectives

  • Individual variances
    The impact of chocolate on RLS symptoms varies widely among individuals.

    Contrary to the prevalent notion, some people report no discernible aggravation of their restless legs even after chocolate consumption.
    Recognizing these individual differences is imperative to unravel the complexity of the connection between chocolate and RLS.
  • Personal experiences
    Incorporating personal anecdotes enriches our understanding.

    Consider Sarah, a regular RLS sufferer, who shares that her symptoms remained unchanged despite occasional indulgence in chocolate.
    These individual narratives underscore the need to acknowledge the diverse responses individuals may have to chocolate in the context of restless legs.
  • Limitations of existing research
    It is essential to acknowledge the limitations within studies supporting a direct correlation between chocolate and RLS.

    Some studies may possess inherent shortcomings, such as small sample sizes or potential biases, which necessitate a nuanced interpretation of their conclusions.

While a significant number of individuals associate chocolate consumption with worsened RLS symptoms, exploring alternative perspectives sheds light on the complexity of this relationship.
The varying individual responses, contradictory research findings, and the limitations within existing studies collectively underscore the need for a comprehensive understanding.

By considering these diverse viewpoints, you can make more informed decisions tailored to your unique experiences with restless legs syndrome.

Does chocolate affect restless leg syndrome?

Chocolate is a pleasure that, in the context of restless leg syndrome, can have very damaging consequences.

If you suffer from it, it is more than preferable to eliminate it so as not to aggravate the nocturnal nightmare.

But beyond chocolate, it’s mostly caffeine that must be drastically limited because it triggers restless legs.

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Natural health is paramount to me, natural remedies have always been part of my life. Whatever the problem, I make sure to find natural solutions that can often be associated with traditional medicine. Everything I write here allows me to share them with you.

The content of this article is not intended to replace medical advice or any treatment.
Keep in mind that you should contact your doctor or any qualified healthcare professional to determine if you can add a supplement to your treatment or change your diet.

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