Sleep movement disorders can cause movement or restlessness during or before sleep that can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep for a full night’s rest. There are two main sleep movement disorders, which include restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder. Read on to learn more about these disorders.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is a nervous system disorder in which an individual feels the need to move their legs, interrupting sleep. In addition to the urge to move the legs, there is also often a tingly or needling feeling in the legs as well. These symptoms are often worse at night, making it hard to sleep.
Common symptoms of restless leg syndrome include:
• Intense itching or crawling feeling in the legs
• Feeling of needing to move the legs for relief
• Restlessness that prevents sleeping or sitting
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is characterized by frequent and repetitive movements of the limbs that happen while asleep. PLMD is not the same as restless leg syndrome, but some patients with restless leg syndromes can also experience PLMD. The cause of PLMD is unknown, though it can come secondary to another illness.
Common symptoms of PLMD include:
• Fatigue from disruptive sleep
• Partners who notice your sleep movements
• One or both legs that repeatedly jerk or kick
When it comes to restless leg syndrome an evaluation with your primary care doctor as well as a sleep specialist is the first step to diagnosis. Then a blood test can be done to check your nerve function, and a sleep study can be done to collect information on your sleep disturbances.
There are no lab tests that can diagnose PLMD, however, the best way to diagnose this disorder is through an in-office evaluation.
If you are interested in learning more about sleep movement disorders, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.