Sleep Related Movement Disorders

Image of legs under sheets

Repetitive Leg Movement

Are you ever annoyed by a creeping or itching feeling in your legs? Do you often feel an urge to move your legs while sitting or lying in bed? This can keep you from falling asleep at night. You may then feel tired during the day. 

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

RLS is a creeping, crawly, or jumpy feeling in the legs with an urge to move them. Symptoms of RLS often occur during periods of inactivity, such as when you sit or lie down at night. This discomfort can keep you from falling asleep. RLS is more common in older people and tends to run in families. Overuse of caffeine or alcohol may make symptoms worse. Iron deficiency, diabetes, or kidney problems can contribute to RLS.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMS) is sudden, repetitive leg jerking during sleep. The person you sleep with is often the one who notices it. Your legs may jerk many times during the night. You and your partner may both have trouble sleeping and feel tired in the morning. PLMS shouldn’t be confused with the normal leg or body twitching many people have when first falling asleep. If these problems are causing disrupted sleep and daytime symptoms, treatment may be needed.

Possible treatments may include:

  • Avoiding medicines like antidepressants, antinausea medicine, and other medicines that block dopamine
  • Iron supplements
  • Prescribed medicines including pramipexole, ropinirole, ritigotine, pregbalin, cabergoline, levodopa, and clonidine
  • Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, controlling caffeine intake, alcohol, and smoking