The Link Between Restless Legs Syndrome and Insomnia

The Link Between Restless Legs Syndrome and Insomnia

Insomnia can occur in isolation, but more often than not, it comes paired with other conditions — termed comorbid conditions. One such comorbidity is restless legs syndrome (RLS), which causes uncomfortable sensations in your legs while resting or trying to fall asleep. This discomfort and lack of sleep can have serious consequences, especially as time goes on. With the help of a sleep specialist, though, you can begin to find relief. 

SLENT has several locations, in Slidell, Hammond, and Mandeville, Louisiana. Each one is staffed with otolaryngology specialists who can help you get to the bottom of insomnia-related conditions like restless legs syndrome. 

An overview of restless legs syndrome 

There’s a lot we don’t know about restless legs syndrome. The cause is unknown, the cure is unknown, and many patients fear not being taken seriously. However, this condition does exist, and you can seek treatment for it. 

Restless legs syndrome often manifests as “creeping,” electric, or otherwise restless feelings in the legs. These sensations might occur while you’re sitting down, but they’re most prominent while you’re trying to sleep. Moving your legs provides relief, but this constant desire to move can make it difficult to sleep — especially if you’re sharing a bed.

This restlessness and constant movement can lead to insomnia, an inability to fall or stay asleep. 

The overlap with insomnia

RLS isn’t necessarily a sleep disorder, but it’s considered one due to its impact on your sleep cycle. Your restless legs keep you from sleeping, which causes insomnia, which leads to fatigue and daytime sleepiness. The two conditions share symptoms because insomnia is often part of the RLS experience. 

Treatments for insomnia are often broad and depend on what’s causing your lack of sleep. In cases involving RLS, it’s the creeping sensations you feel inside your legs. However, treating these phantom feelings can be difficult. 

Treatment options for insomnia and RLS

There’s no specific medication to treat RLS — instead, you and your doctor have to assess your situation and decide upon a treatment plan. This might involve specific medications, good sleep hygiene, and cutting back on things like caffeine. 

It takes time and patience to find a treatment plan that works, especially when you’re dealing with a condition like RLS. That’s why it’s important to have a doctor with experience. To schedule a consultation at SLENT, call the location closest to you, or visit the contact page for more information. 

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