Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sensory-motor (movement) disorder characterized by uncomfortable sensations in one or both legs, which are worse during periods of inactivity or rest or while sitting or lying down. There is often a positive family history of the disorder. The symptoms of RLS may begin at any stage of life, including childhood, adolescence, or adulthood; however, the disease is more common with increasing age.
Fifty percent of patients report that discomfort in the legs prevents them from getting a good night’s sleep. Those with severe symptoms may sleep for only a few hours each night and, as a result, experience excessive daytime sleepiness. Increasing difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep is usually associated with a worsening of RLS symptoms.