Can Sleep Deprivation Cause Restless Legs?

Many millions of people around the world suffer from various types of sleeping disorders. If the disorder becomes more serious and prolonged it can then be classified in sleep deprivation. Let’s have a look into this and see if sleep deprivation can be a contributing factor to RLS symptoms. There are numerous factors that relate to our resting periods, and how essential it actually is.restless leg syndrome signs and symptoms

Factors of this can include things like the stresses of modern living, increased use of technology, and a decrease in activity compared to our ancestors. Of course, people also may struggle with sleep due to medical conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea. The causes of sleep deprivation vary from person to person, and there is rarely one singular cause as to why a group of people may have trouble getting to sleep, and for that matter getting beneficial hours of sleep. Well going over complex topics such as this can give us greater insight into how our bodies are effected and specifically what impact not getting enough sleep can have on our agitated legs at night.

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Behavioral Choices

The little things we do on a daily basis can have a huge impact on the way we sleep and how many hours we get. Drinking coffee or caffeine-filled drinks can greatly affect your ability to sleep at night. Also, trading sleep for things like playing video games, reading, or watching TV can alter your sleeping pattern and make it harder for you to nod off at night. It is known that it can be difficult in this age of technology that we live in where everything is at our fingertips now with the advent of smart phones. Many times I have had to force myself to turn off the phone and to get a good nights sleep.

Bright lights from technology can be too stimulating to the mind and restrict your chances of settling down and mentally switching off so that you are able to sleep. It can be hard to pull ourselves away from our devices, but doing so can greatly enhance your bodies recovery time, which is essentially what sleep is. One simple fix for this can be to switch your phone to “night mode,” which will decrease the brightness, and switch the type of light to one that shouldn’t interfere as much with sleep. If your phone doesn’t have this option, there are also apps out there that will have the same effect. These technological or caffeine stimulants have the ability to keep you up at night and can severely affect the hours and quality of sleep that you are able to have. Not watching TV for a couple of hours before bed or not having caffeine filled drinks for at least several hours before bedtime can help to greatly improve your ability to sleep.

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Work and Lifestyle

Sometimes, the reasons we are not able to have a good night’s rest are not completely within our control. If you do shift work, then the time of day that you are active will vary on a day to day, week to week, or month to month basis. It can take your body a while to adjust to waking up and working in the daytime one week to being more active with work at night. Some people are able to adjust to the changes within a day or two whereas it may have a longer term effect on others and lead them to have fewer hours of sleep. This essentially is the same as being jet lagged, which many of us have experienced, and no one is a fan of.

symptoms of restless leg syndrome in adults

This can also apply to those in education, as at times, we find ourselves staying up late to finish essays or practice for exams. We then find that we have less time to sleep. Once the exam period is over, it may take some time to adjust to going back to a regular sleeping pattern.

Also, short term life changes can affect sleep. If you have an event coming up within your family and you spend a considerable amount of time awake planning it, the anticipation towards the event and the activity required to plan it can make it can make it difficult to relax at night. If you are experiencing leg twitches at night, it may begin to dwindle down after some good nights of rest.


Sometimes, when we are ill all we can manage to do is sleep. If anything, your body craves sleep in order to repair and heal itself. On the contrary, illness can be one of the main causes of sleep deprivation. A lack in your nightly body rejuvenation routine may have an impact of how your body can and will react while in that state. When you are ill, you tend to be uncomfortable due to a number of reasons. It may be that you have stomach pains, headaches, or you may be vomiting and experiencing diarrhea. Even minor common illnesses such as the cold can affect your sleep, as they can have an effect on your ability to breathe and your overall comfort.This cause for sleep deprivation will usually be alleviated as soon as you are better. Of course, there is prescription and over the counter medicines to remedy these types of sleep problems.

Chronic Illnesses

Some long term illnesses can greatly affect how much sleep you get. They usually have no cure, so long-term lifestyle changes will need to be made to adjust to them. Chronic pain, diabetes, and sleep apnea can be some of the reasons why an individual will not get enough sleep. The ability to sleep can worsen if and when the illness becomes more extreme, but with most illnesses, there are times when things are good and times when things are bad. So, for those suffering from chronic illnesses, they may find that their sleep improves when their condition is stable or at least manageable.

Stress and Mental Health
Those who are going through a difficult time mentally may find that they have trouble sleeping. This is extremely common and can come and go throughout your lifetime. Conditions such as anxiety and depression can have a great effect on how well you sleep and may lead to insomnia. Stress and mental health issues may lead one to become restless, feel on edge, or inactive. All of these things ultimately will have an effect on how well someone is able to sleep. Many find that once their stress or mental health issues are dealt with, their sleep will improve.

Some may find that they develop insomnia for no known reason or it continues after the trigger is dealt with.One in three adults has experienced insomnia at some point in their lives, with a large portion struggling with the condition on a long term basis. Insomnia can be anything from repeatedly waking up through the night, taking hours to fall asleep, or not being able to get back to sleep once awoken. 

Sometimes, there seems to be no particular cause as to why someone is unable to sleep and it may require a course of a therapy session or certain lifestyle changes to get things back to normal.

Testing and treatment

Fortunately, there are treatment options available for those who suffer from sleep disorders. The first step is to speak with your doctor. Depending on the reason for your complaint, they can refer you for different testing and treatment options. If your sleep problems arise from a psychological problem like depression or anxiety, they may have you visit a psychologist or psychiatrist. If you are suffering from symptoms such as heavy snoring, and especially if you are obese, they will refer you to a sleep specialist to determine if you have sleep apnea. The sleep specialist will either have you do an in-patient overnight stay, or sometimes a test at home, in which you will be connected to a device that will monitor your sleep patterns throughout the night. It typically shouldn’t take much to diagnose something like sleep apnea, and they can offer you a fix such as a sleep mask that will help you to better breathe. It definitely is worth looking in to.

No one likes to feel lethargic and poorly rested throughout the day. No matter the cause, there are treatment options available. Getting the medical treatment you need can greatly improve your life, helping you to feel more alert, rested, and function better throughout your daily life. If you think you have a sleep disorder, you shouldn’t just ignore it. Start by talking to your doctor, finding out what your options are, and taking the proper steps to improve your sleep, and your life. Usually, your insurance will cover the costs, and you and your family will be glad that you did.

So are there any connections with insomnia and restless legs syndrome? It is left up to you to make your own conclusions but in my mind I believe that there is correlation with not getting enough sleep and having your brain send irrational signals o your legs when you are in a rested position. The research will go on but I believe that sleep deprivation can cause restless leg syndrome

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PLMD And Alcohol

When people bring up PLMD rarely do they have in their mind that alcohol could be a contributing factor. To me I can tell you that I am sure that periodic limb movement disorder and alcohol abuse would most certainly go hand in hand. periodic limb movement disorder

Let’s take a step back for a moment a take a real good look at what alcohol is. Yes I know it is often fun to have a cocktail and enjoy your evening by “loosening up” but what is not commonly know or at least acknowledged is what this drink can do to your body.

Essentially what alcohol is, is poison. It will seep its way into every working organ in your body and eventually work on shutting it down. As I grew up around many alcoholics you could see the different way’s that it could effect someone. After many years of abuse you could tell that vital parts of the body had been shutting down or slowing production. Not only does the drinker suffer in his personal and professional life but it always seems to rob a person of any type of spiritual beliefs. After the body has begun to break down and the alcoholism has taken a firm hold on the person you will begin to notice a skin problems as well as nervous system pains.

This can be recognized by the constant shaking of the hands or immense pain on the inside of the body. Many time alcoholics will say their kidneys hurt, or I can feel my heart getting tight. Whatever the problem may be what is known but often overlooked is the abuse of alcohol and what it may be doing. Also we have all heard the benefits of having a glass of red wine a day. Now I’m not one to say this could be damaging or beneficial but I and many other medical professionals would not see a problem with having wine during the week. To me, having a glass could be  a little much everyday as unless you have great willpower, this sort of drinking acceptance could open the door to excessive drinking. If you have the discipline and have no problems then I say do what makes you feel happy.

Alright now let’s have a look at something else really quick since this is a mainly RLS informational website. A question I always get is, what periodic limb movement disorder vs restless leg syndrome? And the most simplest and quickest answer I can give is that RLS has to do with the legs and PLMD is the combination of limbs moving erratically. Now although there have not been many periodic limb movement disorder natural cures, you can be sure that limiting how much alcohol you body ingests will help.

Think of it like this. Your vital organs are always working to clear the body of toxins that are naturally in the water suppl and air. So if your out every night and all night drinking straight poison how hard do you think your vital organs have to work. Our bodies have not changed much or our organs adapted to the changing times that we now live in today. In taking of such chemicals and poisons has left us vulnerable to many of us today experiencing an untimely death.

In my mind I believe that PLMD and Alcohol do share a relationship but it is always recommended to consult with your doctor before making any possible life altering decisions.