Periodic Limb Movement/Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

General Information

Periodic Limb Movement condition is characterized by the jerking of a persons leg (or arm) during sleep. Each twitch may last from 1-3 seconds; about every 10-60 seconds. This may occur for only a few minutes or last for hours. In severe cases, the twitches may last all night. The movements themselves seem to do no damage, and some good sleepers experience them without problem. However, if the twitches are strong, or the person is a light sleeper, they can wake a person up. Because they occur before the wakening, you don't know what woke you up. If the awakenings are frequent, it can result in excessive daytime sleepiness. No one really knows the cause of these movements; there are likely to be a variety of causes. Sometimes they are related to certain medications, poor circulation, a metabolic disease, kidney disease or folic acid defficiency. There are some medications which have been used to successfully treat this condition.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Many people with periodic movements also have Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), and almost all those with RLS have Periodic Movements. With RLS. there are strong sensations deep within the leg muscles and knees that cause a powerful urge ot move. "It feels like bugs crawling!" This causes problems falling asleep. There are a variety of causes - poor circulation; changes associated with pregnancy and vitamin deficiencies. There are some medications which seem to help. All stimulants such as coffee, tea and chocolate should be avoided.

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