Is Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) Causing Your Child to Lose Sleep?

To ensure their proper physical and mental development, children ages 7 to 12 need at least 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night. If they don’t get the proper rest, their ability to perform academically, both now and later in life, could become severely compromised. That’s why it’s important for parents to monitor their children’s sleep habits if their children start exhibiting signs of sleep deprivation. The reason being, there are a number of different illnesses that can disrupt your child sleep, one of which is restless leg syndrome (RLS).

What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome is a disorder that causes sufferers to feel a powerful compulsion to move their legs. The impulse typically strikes the afflicted during periods of inactivity, such as when they are sitting for an extended period of time or settling down for bed. Typically, a few minutes of walking or running will cause the urge to dissipate. However, since even brief periods of aerobic exercise can have the effect of stimulating a person’s adrenal system, RLS sufferers often have difficulty getting back to sleep after an attack. Currently, the exact cause of RLS is unknown, but in some cases, the disorder has been linked to iron deficiency, kidney disease, certain neurological disorders and as a side effect of taking certain medications.

The Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome

When RLS strikes children, it can be difficult to identify the disorder as they might not possess the ability to articulate the exact nature of the problem. As such, parents should be aware of the different ways their children might try to explain what’s wrong with them. In trying to describe their RLS symptoms, kids may describe the unpleasant sensation that their legs are experiencing using terms like itchy, tingly or crawly. They may also refer their legs as feeling cramped, tight, pained or inflamed. Having encountered an RLS attack before, a child may say that they need to go to the bathroom or get a glass of water as an excuse to walk around. You should also be on the lookout for general sleep deprivation symptoms such as daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, irritability and difficulty waking up in the morning.

If you believe that your child may be afflicted with RLS, contact us today to set up an appointment. As an experienced sleep specialist, Dr. Shulka can determine the nature of your child’s illness and prescribe the proper course of treatment.


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