What Is Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder that involves an uncomfortable sensation, such as tingling, burning or aching in the legs. The uncomfortable sensation improves with movement and worsens with rest.

People with RLS often cannot sleep at night due to the sensation and need to walk around to make their legs comfortable. When asleep, their legs can kick and disturb their sleep or a bed partner’s sleep. Leg twitching during sleep can occur without the restless legs symptoms when awake and cause sleep disruption.

Most people develop restless legs syndrome after age 45. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to develop the disorder. If you have a family member with restless legs syndrome, you are more likely to develop the symptoms before you are 45 years old. More than half of people with restless legs syndrome have a pattern of it in their family, as the risk is about three to six times greater.