restless legs

About Restless Legs Syndrome…

Restless legs syndrome is a neurologic disorder characterized by persistent discomfort in the legs that is reduced (without medical treatment) only by movement—be it through shaking of the legs, continual stretching, or by walking around to “keep active.” Because the symptoms are worse at night, especially when a person tries to “lay still” for sleep, restless legs very often interfere with efficient and restorative sleep.

Restless legs are estimated to afflict between 3-8% of the US population, to varying degree. Restless Legs also are very highly associated with Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep (PLMS)—rhythmic leg jerks that occur approximately every 20 to 30 seconds during the night—that disturb both the onset and quality of a night’s sleep. Roughly 80% of persons with RLS also complain of periodic leg movements in sleep (PLMS).

Symptoms of RLS include:

Creepy, crawly sensations in the legs, especially when lying down for bed.

Repeated behaviors to reduce the unpleasantness of this feeling: stretching, massaging the calves and thighs, deep knee bends, walking and pacing to reduce discomfort before sleep.

Reports from a bedpartner that your legs often jerk repetitively during sleep.

Tiredness during the day, due either to insufficient sleep, or to interruptions of sleep caused by the RLS or PLMS.

Inability to sit still for extended periods of time, such as when traveling in a car, watching a movie in a theatre, at a business meeting, or while sitting at a desk working.

The sensations are exacerbated by caffeine and stress.

The sensations are worse in the evening or at night.

Examples of restless legs
For more information on this topic

Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation

Recommended books on this topic

Sleep Thief: Restless Legs Syndrome

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