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Common Sleep Disorders

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Restless leg syndrome is a movement disorder. It involves an intense urge to move your legs at bedtime. Many people say their legs feel "creepy" or "crawly". This is quite different from the pain of a muscle cramp and is often relieved by stretching or moving the legs.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)

Most people with RLS also have periodic limb movements (PLMs). These movements tend to consist of an extension of the big toe with an upward bending of the ankle, knee or hip. The movements are sometimes described as jerks or kicks. PLMs occur most often when you are asleep. You are unaware of them and have no control over them. They also tend to occur most often in clusters during the first half of the night.

Insomnia

Insomnia is the inability to sleep. It is characterized by one or more of the following complaints:

  • Difficulty getting to sleep;
  • Difficulty staying asleep;
  • Waking up too early in the morning; or
  • Having sleep that is non-restorative

Most people will experience a period of insomnia at some point in their lives. However, many people have insomnia that persists for months and years. Approximately 1 in 10 adults has this form of chronic insomnia.

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder defined by constant sleepiness and a tendency to sleep at inappropriate times. Typically, a person with narcolepsy suffers sleep attacks as well as continual sleepiness and a feeling of tiredness that is not completely relived by any amount of sleep. If not recognized and appropriately managed, narcolepsy can drastically and negatively affect the quality of a person's life.

© American Academy of Sleep Medicine

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