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Restless Legs A Common Sleep Disorder

Posted May 29 2010 6:51am


Thanks to the media restless legs syndrome (RLS) is becoming recognized by more individuals. RLS disturbs the sleep of not only the person who has it but their bed partner as well because the individual besides RLS can also have spastic limb movements that can disturb the sleep of both individuals. The individual with RLS experiences a prickling, tingling or crawling sensation in their legs. The feelings are relieved when they move their legs. Sometimes RLS can occur in the arms. RLS makes riding in a vehicle, watching TV, reading or any activity in which you need to be inactive, in a sitting position or lying in a bed to be most difficult. There are a lot of activities where individuals need to sit still including sitting at your desk at work, sitting in a movie theater, sitting on an airplane, sitting in a vehicle, boat or train, sitting in a lecture hall at college just to name a few.

Those who suffer from RLS can also experience periodic limb movements (PLMS) during sleep. These are leg or arm jerks or movement during sleep. These movements occur every 20 to 40 seconds and can really disturb your sleep. The individual and his/her partner will both become excessively sleepy during the daytime because of these disturbances.

How can you tell if you might have RLS or PLMS? You may suspect that you may have RLS or PLMS if you do not feel refreshed when you wake in the morning, your legs ache either before bedtime or when you get up, and your bed partner complains that you kick while you are asleep. If these situations seem familiar you should have your doctor examine you for RLS and/or PLMS.

An individual can sometimes receive temporary relief by getting up and walking around, by taking a hot shower, or by rubbing the affected legs or arms.

Things that disturb our sleep can lead to health problems because sleep is needed for everyday life functioning. Breathing and eating, memory, learning new things, and the release of hormones are all affected by sleep. Studies have also shown that the amount of sleep you receive is related to your ability to solve problems or be creative.

There can be serious health consequences to not getting enough sleep including hypertension, heart disease, and depression. Possible health risks is one reason why it is important for anyone who suspects RLS or PLMS to have a medical evaluation to determine if you do have these sleep disorders. If you do have them, there are treatments to help relieve your symptoms.

Researchers have also found that if you get more and better sleep that you can control your weight, diabetes and heart problems better.

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