Sleep Center

Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep (PLMS)

Periodic limb movements in sleep are repetitive movements, occurring most typically in the lower limbs, about every 20-40 seconds. Characteristics of PLMS, can include brief muscle twitches, jerking movements or an upward flexing of the feet. These episodes may last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Many times, a person with PLMS may not even realize they are moving their limbs during sleep until it is brought to their attention by their mate. PLMS is not considered medically serious, however in some cases it may be a secondary indicator of other medical conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, or anemia. This condition can also contribute to chronic insomnia and/or daytime fatigue due to awakenings during the night. The exact cause of PLMS is not clear, but there are treatment options and support groups that can help. If lack of sleep is affecting your life, you may benefit from a diagnostic sleep study. Consult your physician, or call to make an appointment with the UMMC North Sleep Center for diagnostic and treatment options (281) 453-7110.