When you are trying to fall asleep after a long day, few things are more frustrating than constantly having the urge to move your legs. This condition is known as restless leg syndrome. Restless leg syndrome is a neurological condition that causes a burning sensation in the legs when you participate in stationary activities, like trying to fall asleep.
Researchers aren't exactly sure what causes restless leg syndrome. Some cases seem to be hereditary, while others appear to be the result of environmental factors. For some patients, being overly tired can cause their symptoms to flare up.
Not only can restless leg syndrome make it take longer for you to fall asleep, but it can also interfere with the quality of your sleep. The next day, your tiredness from your prior night of poor sleep will exasperate your symptoms again, causing a seemingly endless cycle of restless leg symptoms and poor sleep.
To get to the root cause of your restless leg syndrome, your doctor may recommend that you undergo a sleep study. A sleep study is an overnight examination that monitors your sleep stages and vitals throughout the night. Read on to learn how a sleep study, with a doctor such as Mohsen M. Hamza, M.D., can help alleviate your restless leg syndrome.
1. A Sleep Study Can Diagnose Conditions That Exasperate Your Restless Leg Syndrome
There are a few sleep disorders that contribute to a poor night's sleep and the appearance of your restless leg symptoms. Fortunately, a sleep study is an easy way to diagnose these issues.
You may suffer from sleep apnea, a condition where your breathing stops multiple times for a few seconds over the course of a night. Patients with untreated sleep apnea usually feel tired due to their poor sleep quality. This tiredness may cause your leg pain to flare up.
You can treat sleep apnea by sleeping with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, undergoing surgery to remove excess tissue in the airway, and taking steps to reach a healthy weight.
Another disorder that can exasperate restless leg syndrome is periodic limb movement disorder. This illness is closely related to restless leg syndrome and causes your limbs to involuntarily flail when you are asleep. It also causes tiredness the next day. Treatments include implementing habits that promote a more restful night's sleep.
2. Your Sleep Study Will Identify Problematic Areas of Your Sleep Cycle
A sleep study arms your doctor with a plethora of information so that they can recommendations to help you achieve a higher sleep quality. If you take a while to fall asleep, your doctor may recommend that you avoid caffeine and alcohol. Or, if your study reveals that you don't spend enough time in a certain sleep cycle, your doctor can prescribe medication.