A new study on pregnant women has revealed that restless legs syndrome (RLS) is twice as likely cause inadequate sleep quality, poor daytime functioning and too much daytime sleepiness.
RLS is an uncontrollable urge to move the legs especially in the evenings. The results revealed that 36 percent of women in their third trimester suffered from RLS, and half of these women were having moderate to severe symptoms.
When contrasted with pregnant women not having RLS, those with RLS were twice as likely to report poor sleep quality and poor daytime function, and they were expected to have extreme daytime sleepiness.
Also, the study found a positive correlation between RLS severity and the sleep-wake turbulences. Lead study author Galit Levi Dunietz from the University of Michigan was quoted as saying that while the team expected that the observation of RLS in pregnant women was not surprising, but they were astounded to see the number of women who were suffering from the severe form.
Dunietz also said that these women experienced RLS symptoms at least four times weekly. They examined 1,563 pregnant women with an average age of 30 years, each of whom was in her third trimester.
RLS was diagnosed based on standardised parameters of self-reported symptoms and frequency. information on demographic and pregnancy was collected from medical records, and sleep information was gathered with the help of questionnaires.
The study found no proof for any relationship between RLS and delivery outcomes. According to the authors, health care providers often take lightly patient complaints of inadequate sleep and daytime sleepiness during pregnancy.
“These sleep-wake disturbances are considered common symptoms in pregnancy and are frequently attributed to physiological changes that occur in normal pregnancy, but our data suggest that RLS is an additional contributor to these symptoms,” said Dunietz.
The authors advised that the diagnosis and treatment of RLS in pregnancy – using non-pharmacological approaches – may relieve the burden of these symptoms for many women.
The results appear in the journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.