Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

The primary symptom associated with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is an overwhelming urge to move the legs when they are at rest. The urge to move the legs is usually, but not always, accompanied by unpleasant sensations.

The symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS) are often difficult to put into words, as each person’s experience with RLS is different. Some people use comparisons, such as “like ants crawling through my legs” or “like soda running through my veins” to try to describe the symptoms and feelings to their health care professionals. If you answer “yes” to many of the following questions, you may have RLS and should talk to your health care professional about your symptoms:

  • When you sit or lie down, do you have a strong desire to move your legs?
  • Does your desire to move your legs feel impossible to resist?
  • Have you ever used the words unpleasant, creepy-crawly, creeping, itching, pulling, or tugging to describe your symptoms?
  • Does your desire to move often occur when you are resting or sitting still?
  • Does moving your legs make you feel better or slow down the symptoms?
  • Do you have more of these symptoms at night?
  • Have you kept your bed partner awake with jerking movements in your legs?
  • Do you ever have involuntary leg movements while you are awake?
  • Are you tired or unable to concentrate during the day?
  • Do any of your family members have similar symptoms?
  • Has a trip to the health care professional not revealed any physical cause for your discomfort?