Periodic movements in sleep (PMS) are stereotyped, repetitive, nonepileptiform movements of the lower extremities. A total of 409 sleep disorder patients were studied with all-night polysomnogram recording, and 53 (13%) had PMS. Such movements occurred in a wide variety of sleep-wake disorders in addition to insomnia. The prevalence and magnitude of PMS were not statistically greater in patients with insomniac disorders than in those with syndromes of excessive daytime sleepiness or other sleep-wake disorders. The results suggest that although PMS is responsible for disturbed sleep in relatively few patients, chronic sleep-wake disturbance is associated with PMS and may lead to the development of these movements.