Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Restless Leg Syndrome

I’ve had mild bouts of RLS off and on for several years now. But it was so random and intermittent and mild, I’d forgotten about it, or that I had it, until the other night when at about 3:00 am I suddenly woke with the overwhelming need to hop out of bed and do a hundred jumping jacks or go mad. Oh, yeah, RLS. Maybe that’s part of the whole insomnia thing.

So, what is RLS? According to The John Hopkins Center for Restless Leg Syndrome, RLS has four primary features:
  • Uncomfortable sensation in the legs with a clear need or urge to move the legs
  • The symptoms are worse at night
  • The symptoms come on with rest
  • The symptoms are relieved with movement
Kind of strange, huh? But, unless you’ve actually experienced RLS, it’s really difficult to describe or explain. Basically, “If you do not move the effected limb, you will go insane” is pretty close, and it lasts for hours, mostly in the middle of the night. Makes sleeping kind of – well – not possible. And, it can also affect the arms, though that apparently is not as common. Unless you’re me. Thus, the burning desire to perform jumping jacks in the middle of the night. And I don’t even like exercise. May also explain my deeply felt desire for aggressive walks now that I’ve started walking. I can feel my thighs begging me for a nice, hard pounding down the path for an hour…or more if the rest of me can keep up.

Now, lest you think this a one of those “It’s all your head, dear” kind of things, I personally know two women with RLS, both of whom have been put on medications used to treat the involuntary tremors of Parkinsons Disease. That’s kind of knarly. You can find more info at the John Hopkins site. Apparently it often strikes during middle age and gets worse as you get older. Yipee. Needless to say, I’ll be bringing this up at my appointment with my MD next week. Along with the perimenopause thing. In the meantime, I’m not sleeping much, so I may as well blog…..


  1. I never knew that was an official "thing." I get it occasionally and just thought it was stress manifesting itself since it does seem to be stress related for me. Glad to know others get it, too and that I'm not just a freak! I get it in my arms, too, definitely more often than in my legs. Thankfully, it does not happen much to me....thanks for the enlightenment!

  2. I have a friend with it and it is CRAZY! She is always tired and her hubbie says its like sleeping with a marathon runner that is running in their sleep. She finally started the Parkinsons meds!

    Did not know you had that... sorry-

  3. I have a thing, that I thought was RLS but must just be related. My feed and legs move while I sleep. Doesn't bother me a bit. Poor Dean though.