Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Periodic Limb Movement disorder (PLMD) refers to involuntary movements of the legs and arm during sleep. These movements cause arousals and sleep disturbances. PLMD are observed mostly in people over 50 years of age and are rare in people younger than 30. PLMD are more common in people who have kidney disease or narcolepsy. Individuals with PLMD may also experience Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).


  • Repetitive movements, most typically in the lower limbs, that occur every 20-40 seconds
  • Brief muscle twitches, jerking movements or an upward flexing of the feet during sleep


  • Many people sleep through PLMD and are not bothered by them. In these cases no treatment is needed.
  • Following the guidelines for a good night’s sleep will help people who are disturbed by PLMD
  • Certain drugs are reported to reduce PLMD, however, the effectiveness of these drugs are not proven.
  • Treatment is only necessary when PLMD is accompanied by Restless Legs Syndrome(RLS), insomnia or daytime fatigue