Category Archives: Sleep movement disorders

Sleep Related Movement Disorders

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5-10% of Americans are thought to suffer from this disorder.   There is an irresistible urge to move the legs or feet, often accompanied by an uncomfortable or painful feeling deep in the legs.   RLS is usually worse in the evening or in cramped places like airplanes, and is better with movement or in the morning.   These symptoms can make it difficult to fall asleep at the beginning of the night, or return to sleep after awakening.   Restless Legs Syndrome tends to run in families.   RLS can be associated with iron deficiency, and for some people treating the iron deficiency will resolve their symptoms.

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About 80-90% of patients who have RLS have Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep.   These are repetitive, stereotypical movements of the lower extremity which may be as subtle as flexing the big toe.   These movements will disrupt sleep by causing brief awakenings that break up the normal sleep cycle, causing less restorative sleep.   Patients frequently will be unaware of these movements, it is only during the overnight sleep study that it is diagnosed.   Patients will however be aware of being fatigued during the day, and also have higher rates of depression, and attention deficit.

Because these disorders on our daytime health and well-being they need to be taken seriously and effectively treated.   Since people are unaware that these movements occur, please bring it to your bedpartners’ attention if they are moving excessively in his sleep.   Who knows, you just might be able to get a better nights sleep too!