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Rapid Eye, Periodic Limb

  health sleep tips sleep trouble
Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A lesser known sleeping complication is PLMD or Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. While many are aware of sleep disorders such as snoring and phase disorder, PLMD – the jerking or cramping of legs, is experienced by many without any awareness. This is also the only movement disorder that happens during sleep. Moreover, it happens every 20 to 40 seconds in a rhythmic manner. PLMD is a sleeping disorder because it leads to daytime sleepiness and disrupts the normal sleep cycle.

This syndrome was first observed and described back in the 50s and was then called nocturnal myoclonus. This problem can appear at any age although like most sleep disorders it is most common in older folks.

PLMD and rapid eye movement occurs mostly due to some underlying medical condition but it can also happen as the primary condition although no known causes have yet been linked with it. Scientists believe that it is due to abnormalities in the nerve signals travelling between the brain and limbs although no proof has been given for this. Some secondary causes for PLMD include spinal cord tumor or injury, diabetes mellitus and iron deficiency. Sleep apnea too associated with deep snoring is attributed to this issue. Even Uremia (build up of waste in blood) and narcolepsy (excessive sleepiness and urge to sleep during morning hours) are considered to be valid causes of PLMD.

While medication such as antidopaminergic agents and neuroleptics help in relieving PLMDthey aren’t entirely successful. No known cure for this condition exists but some believe that proper sleeping posture and sufficient hours can help reduce the symptoms over time. Using medicinal mattresses such as memory foam mattress from Jonathan Steven’s may help along with the right set of medication.

How To Diagnose If You Have PLMD

Obviously as the name suggests, you can expect leg movements during sleep but poor sleep and laziness throughout the day are also associated symptoms. In fact, the problem with this sleep condition is that many are unaware that it exists in them until their partners alert them of it.

Leg movements can include one or both the limbs, the ankle, knee joint or all bottom joints. It can either be jerky, strenuous, thrashing or repetitively kicking in nature lasting anywhere from 2 seconds or much slower over a cyclic period of 20 to 40 seconds. If you experience sleep deprivation during the day time, feel the need to sleep but can’t, it might be a good idea to ask your partner to observe your sleep through the night for any rhythmic jerks in the lower body. Above all start sleeping well and change the mattress to a medicinal one.