When Your Spouse is Prize Fighting in Their Sleep – Periodic Limb Movement Disorder Explained

tossing and turning in bed can be a sign of a sleep disorder like RLS or PLMD

We recently received a message from a wife whose husband was unknowingly kicking her at night.  She had no idea what this was but it obviously disrupted her sleep and they both needed help.  We advised that he come in for a sleep consultation and most likely an overnight sleep study (polysomnogram) where we would measure his brain waves, breathing and probably most important for her, his limb movement.

Many people have heard of Restless Leg Syndrome; the urge to move or a feeling of burning, tightening or pins and needles in the lower extremities when a person is at rest that prevents them from falling asleep.  Most people with RLS also have periodic leg movements in sleep, which helps support their diagnosis.

What makes Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) different is that the involuntary movement happens when a person is already asleep.  These movements can come from the toes, ankles, knees or hips and sometimes the upper extremities.  PLMD can occur at any age but is more likely in middle-aged and older people.  The most common symptom of PLMD (besides your spouse complaining about getting kicked) is excessive daytime sleepiness, caused by that constant arousal. 

Sleep disorders like PLMD cause poor sleep for you and your spouse

Imagine (or maybe you don’t have to) waking up several times a night from what you might perceive as tossing and turning.  This is the lack of quality and sometimes quantity of sleep that wrecks your body’s ability to recover at night.  A person with PLMD may not realize that fatigue and all of the symptoms that come along with it are attributed to these movements, which is why it’s important to get into a sleep specialist who can schedule the appropriate tests to determine the next steps.

If you live in the northern California or western Washington regions, contact us today to schedule a sleep consultation so you can sleep better and live healthier.