Is Restless Legs Syndrome Related to Sleep Apnea?

Categories: Sleep Apnea, Snoring

restless legs syndrome Friendswood

Before we discuss the question posed in the title, let’s consider restless legs syndrome (RLS).

What is RLS?

If you have unpleasant sensations in your legs that make you want to walk around, you might have this painful and frustrating abnormality.

The Mayo Clinic describes it this way:

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation. It typically happens in the evening or nighttime hours when you’re sitting or lying down. Moving eases the unpleasant feeling temporarily. Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, can begin at any age and generally worsens as you age. It can disrupt sleep, which interferes with daily activities.

Does obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) put you at greater risk for RLS?

Possibly, though it hasn’t been studied rigorously. This is what one sleep disorder specialist concluded:

Clinicians have observed for many years that RLS can be associated with sleep‐disordered breathing, mostly obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), but it is unclear whether there is a causal relationship between those two disorders. Francoise Roux, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine in the Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine.

Cognitive therapy may help:

There are several treatments for both sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome. The most common treatments for OSA are CPAP (Continous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy and oral appliance therapy (OAT). Some analysts believe that when both conditions are present together, there may be an increased likelihood of a psychological component.

A study described here: Patients With Sleep Apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome Exhibit Higher Insomnia-Specific Psychological Symptoms concluded:

Compared with patients who have just sleep apnea syndrome (SAS), those with both SAS and restless leg syndrome (RLS) were shown to exhibit a higher degree of insomnia-specific psychological symptoms, which may indicate the benefit of cognitive-behavioral therapy in these populations. 

Restless Legs Syndrome and Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be treated

Regardless of whether the two conditions are related if you have either condition, you should seek treatment. Both conditions can severely your health and impact your general well-being.

Schedule a consultation with Doctor Montz

Call Houston Sleep Solutions at the number below to schedule a consultation with Doctor Montz. We can direct you to the right resources for diagnosis and treatment of any sleep disorder including snoring. If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, we can provide dental appliance treatment for OSA.

Contact Houston Sleep Solutions:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

1769 S. Friendswood Dr. Ste 107
Friendswood, Texas


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