SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • insomnia;
  • periodic leg movements;
  • sleep disruption

On the basis of polygraphic findings, it has been suggested that periodic leg movements during sleep are not responsible for sleep impairment (Lugaresi et al., 1972). However, for some authors it is an important cause of insomnia (Guilleminault et al., 1975; Coleman, 1982). Thus, the relationship between periodic leg movements during sleep, sleep disruption and the complaint of patients is particularly complex. We investigated the macro- and micro-structure of sleep with and without leg movements in 10 PLMS patients complaining of insomnia to clarify whether periodic leg movements are responsible for sleep disruption. The total sleep time without periodic leg movements was significantly longer than sleep time with leg movements. Sleep time without leg movements was longer than sleep time with leg movements in stage 2, slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Short lasting awakenings were significantly more frequent during periodic leg movements associated sleep whilst long lasting awakenings were equally frequent during sleep with and without periodic leg movements. The percentage of the four electroencephalogram (EEG) activities (delta, theta, alpha and spindles) did not show any significant difference between periodic leg movements associated and not associated with sleep stages and total sleep time. The lack of significant differences in both the macro- and micro-structure of sleep and EEG activity content regarding the association with movements confirm the hypothesis that periodic leg movements did not primarily cause sleep disturbance.