Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) or Nocturnal Myoclonus
A Brief Description
The experience of Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) includes involuntary movements in the legs during the night while the person is asleep. The person may or may not notice the movements while sleeping. The movements, while most common in the legs, can also affect the arms. They occur at fairly regular intervals of about 30 seconds. They are most common in the stage of sleep known as non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which usually occurs during the first half of the night. A person who suffers from Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) usually experiences periodic limb movements, but people who have PLMD do not necessarily have RLS. Periodic limb movements can wake the person from sleep throughout the night or go unnoticed.
How common is PLMD?
PLMD is relatively rare in persons under the age of 30 and becomes more common as we age. It affects men and women equally and often contributes to the inability to sleep in persons suffering from Insomnia.
What causes it?
The cause of PLMD is unclear. Many of the same factors that are associated with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) are also associated with PLMD. Some antidepressant medications can aggravate the symptoms associated with PLMD. Periodic limb movements are more common in people who have kidney disease or suffer from Narcolepsy.
How is it treated?
Many people who suffer from PLMD need no treatment because they sleep through their limb movements. Some people may improve by paying strict attention to their sleep hygiene or seeing a medical professional for alternative options