Jul 02, 2007 at 01:27pm IST

Restless legs kicking away sleep?

New Delhi:After a hard day's work one thing everyone longs for is a good night's sleep. But do you spend the night tossing and turning instead because of an unusual urge to moveyour leg constantly? Does that urge involve an uncomfortable, sometimes painful feeling? And does movement relieve that urge? If the answer is yes then you may be suffering from RLS or Restless Leg Syndrome.

"We don’t know the exact cause. There are lots of theories. It could be kidney problem, iron deficiency, stress," says Dr Amit Ray of Max Hospital.

RLS can be of two types, primary and secondary. Primary RLS occurs in those born with sleep disorders, and secondary RLS is usually associated with specific medical conditions, stress and the use of certain drugs.

While nearly 10 to 15 per cent of the Western population suffers from the disorder, Doctors say, in India, the number has increased from one patient a month to three to four patients a month at present, in the last five years.

"In India things get worse because it is under-recognised. People don’t go to doctors as they feel its a taboo, "adds Dr. Amit.

Doctors suggest that a shower before bedtime, regular leg stretching exercises, regular leg massaging, avoiding heavy meals at night and avoiding daytime naps may offer some relief to those suffering from the condition.

As a practice, they advise to avoid or limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine in take.

RLS can affect anyone and unfortunately there is no cure yet but a few measures like the ones mentioned above may get patients some good sleep.

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