9 Most Common Sleep Disorders

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

What is it? Restless Leg Syndrome is characterized by aching, itching, tingling and burning in the lower legs as the sufferer is falling asleep and typically requires him or her to get up and walk around for relief. The aching may also be accompanied by periodic limb movements that may continue for minutes or hours. It typically develops in middle age and appears to run in families. (Goetz: Textbook of Clinical Neurology, 1114)

How common is it? RLS occurs in about 2 to 5 percent of adults.

What's the treatment? Restless leg syndrome responds to levodopa, a drug also used to treat Parkinson's disease, and several other medications. Symptoms may be reduced by avoiding or reducing caffeine and alcohol and establishing a regular exercise program.