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What is Restless Legs Syndrome?

Written By: Zulfi Alli RPSGT, RST, Lead Registered Polysomnographic Technologist The Sleep Lab at Kent Hospital on October 7, 2021


Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a nervous system disorder that causes an overpowering urge to move your legs. Restless Legs Syndrome is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease. This sleep disorder usually happens or gets worse while you’re at rest. Many people with RLS have difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. RLS affects 5 to 10% of American adults and 2 to 4% of children. People of all ages can develop RLS however it tends to be more severe in older adults.

People with RLS have unusual feelings in their legs such as:
  • Itchiness
  • Crawling
  • Throbbing
  • Pins and needles

RLS affects 5 to 10% of American adults and 2 to 4% of children. People of all ages can develop RLS however, it tends to be more severe in older adults.

What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome?

Iron deficiency is one of the main causes of RLS. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, which may be intolerable. RLS for some can cause severe nightly disruptions that can impair their quality of life. You may feel the urge to resist giving in to some of these movements but symptoms may get worse when suppressed. Some lifestyle changes are recommended to avoid worsening RLS symptoms. 

Avoid: 
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Certain medications 
Treatments

There is no known cure for RLS. However, there are a variety of treatments that may help including: 

  • Leg massages
  • Hot baths
  • Ice packs
  • Regular exercise
  • Prescription medications

While practicing good sleep habits may not resolve your RLS symptoms, it can offset the sleep you have lost due to this condition. 

 

Have you tried these tips and are still having a difficult time getting a restful night of sleep? You may benefit from setting up an appointment for a sleep evaluation with our team.  Contact our Sleep Medicine Team at Kent Hospital to help you achieve a better night of sleep. 

Contact Our Team

 

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