Sleep Disorders: Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a serious issue that affects 10% of adults in the United States alone.  The core symptom of RLS is the intense desire to move the legs when trying to get to sleep or relax.  Individuals with RLS experience strange sensations in the legs similar to the feeling of bugs crawling within the leg or carbonated liquid rushing through the leg.  Essentially, the symptoms are incredibly uncomfortable for the individual with RLS.

People with Restless Leg Syndrome struggle to sleep, due to their discomforts.  Because of this, it can be difficult to stay awake during the day.  This extreme exhaustion often coincides with feelings of depression.  When an individual with RLS is able to sleep, there is often an unreasonable amount of twitching that occurs in the limbs.

The causes of Restless Leg Syndrome are usually:

  •         Diabetes
  •         Rheumatoid Arthritis
  •         Pregnancy
    • 1 in 5 women that are pregnant will experience Restless Leg Syndrome, generally in the later stages of pregnancy
  •         Parkinson’s Disease
  •         Kidney failure
  •         Low iron levels
  •         Anti-depressants
  •         Anti-psychotics
  •         Antihistamines

The researcher has noticed that many of those with Restless Leg Syndrome experience involuntary jerking of the legs during sleep, which can be detrimental to the sleeping process.  RLS sufferers are many times awakened by their movements, when they are able to even fall asleep.  Resting becomes an overwhelming challenge with RLS.

To avoid experiencing worsened symptoms, Robert Lindeman suggests that those with Restless Leg Syndrome should avoid drinking caffeine too close to bedtime and should avoid taking naps.  Exercise earlier on in the day can also benefit those with RLS, however, the exercise cannot be too close to bedtime.

There are medications that aid with Restless Leg Syndrome when lifestyle changes alone do not do enough. Dopamine agonists are a common medication choice for those experiencing RLS.  The decision for medication is ultimately up to the doctor.  There are side effects generally associated with the medication, and because of this, the reward needs to outweigh the risks.

For some, Restless Leg Syndrome can get worse with time.  Insomnia, anxiety, and depression can occur because of experiencing RLS, which can cause a lower quality of life.  It is important to seek help as soon as Restless Leg Syndrome symptoms begin to arise, in order to avoid worsening symptoms and corresponding disorders.

For other patients, Robert Lindeman has noticed that Restless Leg Syndrome is a temporary problem.  If this is the case, many times no real medical assistance is necessary.  The symptoms will fade with time and eventually cease to be an issue.  If it is a continual issue, doctors may look more into the neurological aspects to ensure the issue is not actually another serious disorder or neurological problem.  .