National Sleep Foundation

Chapter 7: Sleep-Related Movement Disorders

Consequences of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Almost all individuals with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) (94%) complain of poor sleep because they have trouble both falling asleep and staying asleep.27  Lab studies show that those with RLS have “severe nocturnal sleep disruption compared to normal controls, including longer sleep latency, reduced sleep efficiency, and [shorter] total sleep time.”28

These symptoms cause the person distress, disturb his or her sleep, and result in impaired functioning (e.g., cognitive, physical, social, occupational, educational, etc.). RLS’ effects are  variable, depending upon its severity. Among those with RLS, 46.2% of men, and 22.2% of women, reported experiencing Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS).29  Individuals who suffer from moderate-to-severe RLS report quality of life disruptions that match (or exceed) that of chronic conditions, including diabetes, depression, or hypertension.30

27 Montplasir J, Allen RP, Walters A, Ferini-Strambi L, “Restless Legs Syndrome and Period Limb Movements During Sleep,” in Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W (ed.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th Edition), St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011, pages 1026 - 1037.
28 Montplasir J, Allen RP, Walters A, Ferini-Strambi L, “Restless Legs Syndrome and Period Limb Movements During Sleep,” in Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W (ed.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th Edition), St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011, page 1027.
29 Montplasir J, Allen RP, Walters A, Ferini-Strambi L, “Restless Legs Syndrome and Period Limb Movements During Sleep,” in Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W (ed.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th Edition), St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011, page 1027.
30 Montplasir J, Allen RP, Walters A, Ferini-Strambi L, “Restless Legs Syndrome and Period Limb Movements During Sleep,” in Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W (ed.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th Edition), St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011, page 1027.