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RLS And PLMD

Florida Sleep Solutions of Jax

Sleep Medicine located in Jacksonville, FL

It’s natural to move around at night subconsciously. However, excessive movements in your legs or arms could indicate restless leg syndrome (RLS) or periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) and can disrupt your sleep. At Florida Sleep Solutions of Jax in Jacksonville, Florida, sleep specialist Dennis Sorresso, MD, and the rest of the team can test your movements during a sleep study and find out if you have either disorder. To book your consultation, call the practice or use the online scheduling tool today.

RLS and PLMD Q & A

What is restless leg syndrome (RLS)?

Restless leg syndrome is a disorder affecting your sleep. Specifically, it causes your legs to repeatedly kick or twitch at night while you sleep. Your kicking and twitching could be as frequent as every 20-40 seconds, which can disrupt your own sleep or that of a sleeping partner. Symptoms include:

  • Leg restlessness after sitting or laying down for a long time
  • Crawling, itching, or aching sensations in your legs
  • Relief of discomfort when you move
  • Worsening discomfort in the evenings
  • Daytime tiredness or irritability

Restless leg syndrome tends to run in families, so you’re more likely to have it if you have family members with it. The hormonal changes of pregnancy can also lead to symptoms of RLS, but they go away shortly after you give birth. 

What is periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD)?

Periodic limb movement disorder is very similar to RLS and causes nearly identical symptoms. If you have it, your limbs move or twitch repeatedly and involuntarily during episodes that last several minutes to several hours. 

These limb movements can severely disrupt your sleep and that of your partner. They might cause you to have trouble falling or staying asleep at night. This can lead to even more complications affecting your day-to-day life, like irritability, depression, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems.

While experts don’t know what causes PLMD, they know that stress can make it worse. Your PLMD might also worsen if you take certain medications like antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antihistamines.

How are RLS and PLMD treated?

Florida Sleep Solutions of Jax provides similar treatments for RLS and PLMD. After a thorough physical evaluation, a discussion of your medical history, and a discussion of your symptoms, your provider might recommend an overnight sleep test to take measurements of your breathing, brain waves, heart rate, and other factors during sleep. Then, they choose an appropriate treatment. Your treatment might include:

  • Avoiding caffeine
  • Adjusting or avoiding certain medications
  • Taking dopamine agonists (drugs that increase dopamine in your brain)
  • Taking muscle relaxants
  • Taking over-the-counter sleep aids
  • Exercising more often

Treatment for RLS and PLMD often includes both medications and lifestyle changes. Your provider asks about your current lifestyle to find out if any of your current habits aggravate your RLS or PLMD symptoms. 

If you’d like to learn more about restless leg syndrome or periodic limb movement disorder and find out if you have them, call Florida Sleep Solutions of Jax, or book an appointment online today.