Restless Leg Syndrome
Sleep Problems: Page 8
A nocturnal movement disorder, restless leg syndrome can feel like itchiness, tingling, or prickling that makes you feel like you have to move your legs. Your legs may also move without your control while you sleep. You may or may not be aware of waking during the night, but restless leg syndrome causes sleep problems by preventing deep, restful sleep.
What to do: Ask your doctor if your restless leg syndrome might be caused by another health condition or by a medication you're taking. Diabetes, arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, anemia, vitamin B deficiency, thyroid disease, and kidney problems can all contribute to restless leg syndrome. Medications that can cause restless leg syndrome as a side effect include antidepressants, antihistamines, and lithium. Treating the underlying condition or changing medications may banish the symptoms. Restless leg syndrome has been linked to deficiencies in iron and B vitamins, particularly folate, so talk to your doctor about boosting your intake of these nutrients.
Treatment for restless leg syndrome usually involves taking one of several drugs developed for Parkinson's, such as pramipexole, ropinirole, L-dopa/carbidopa, bromocriptine, and pergolide, all of which have been shown to reduce or eliminate the muscle jerks. Some doctors prescribe Clonazepam, a benzodiazepine, to help people sleep more deeply.