Periodic Limb Movement Disorder / Restless Limb Syndrome
Periodic limb movements in sleep are repetitive movements, most typically in the lower limbs, that occur about every 20-40 seconds. If you have PLMS you may recognize these movements as brief muscle twitches, jerking movements or an upward flexing of the feet. They cluster into episodes lasting anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
PLMS can be a contributing factor in chronic insomnia and/or daytime fatigue because they may cause you to awaken during the night. Occasionally, PLMS may be an indicator of a serious medical condition such as kidney disease, diabetes or anemia. An in-lab sleep study (polysomnogram) can diagnose PLMS and put you on the path to treatment.
Restless Limb Syndrome, also called restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition that affects approximately 10% of the American population and causes an unpleasant, itchy, pins and needles or spider-crawling sensation as you are falling asleep, and a strong urge to move your legs or other body parts to relieve the feeling. This sleep disorder can be quite mild or completely intolerable. People of all ages can have RLS, but those most severely affected are middle-aged or older. RLS also affects more women than men.