Restless Legs Syndrome

         Basic Facts

  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS), a condition characterized by an uncomfortable sensation and urge to move the legs, is worse at night and evenings.
  • The most distinctive aspect of RLS is that lying down and trying to relax activates the symptoms. 
  • Some people with RLS experience severe nightly sleep disruption that can significantly impair their quality of life.
  • As many as 10 percent of the U.S. population may be affected by this condition.

The compelling desire to move is what gives restless legs syndrome its name. The condition can start at any age, even during childhood, and generally worsens as the years pass. As the disease progresses, symptoms may occur earlier in the day, intensify at night and extend beyond the legs to be felt in the arms and other parts of the body.

RLS can be a contributing factor leading to insomnia.

 Many people with RLS also experience a condition known as periodic limb movement, which manifests as involuntary muscle twitches, or jerking movements or an upward flexing of the feet during sleep. These movements typically occur every 20 to 40 seconds and can cluster in episodes lasting from a few minutes to several hours.

Restless Leg Syndrome FAQ