Periodic Limb Movement Disorder: What You Need to Know

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder: What You Need to Know


At 5 Little Monkeys, we're proud to help children everywhere experience the power of truly healthy, restful sleep by offering the best mattress for kids on the market. But while many kids lose sleep quality due to a low-quality mattress, some children deal with genuine sleep disorders. One lesser-known sleep disorder is known as Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, or PLMD – and if your child has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or simply doesn't seem to get rest even after a full night of sleep, PLMD may be a factor.

What Is PLMD?

Pediatric Periodic Limb Movement Disorder is a neurological disorder that limits a child’s ability to lie still and sleep at night, and the condition often has a negative impact on the quality or quantity of sleep. PLMD causes brief, unconscious leg or foot movements during sleep, usually occurring every 20-40 seconds in clusters that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. PLMD movements may present as brief muscle twitches, spasms, flexing of the foot, or kicking/jerking of the legs.

Often, children with PLMD won't know they have the condition, as the movements occur unconsciously during sleep, so there's no way for the child to be aware of them. However, that doesn't mean they don't affect quality of life. PLMD movements may wake a child up in the middle of the night or may contribute to chronic insomnia. Children with PLMD may also have difficulty staying asleep, which can destroy sleep quality and result in extreme daytime sleepiness.

Symptoms for PLMD can vary, but they may present similarly to any other disorder that affects quality of sleep. Due to poor sleep, children with PLMD may experience behavioral or emotional problems like irritability, anxiety, anger, poor concentration, or depression, as well as related problems like resisting bedtime or difficulty falling or staying asleep. A telltale sign of PLMD is erratic leg movements either while falling asleep or during sleep itself, and many children with PLMD also suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs while awake.

Contact Your Childrens Mattress Experts

PLMD isn't a very well-known condition, but it can have serious impacts on a child's sleep. If you think PLMD might be a problem for your child, you should talk with your pediatrician to discuss potential tests and next steps. However, sometimes a child's sleep problems come from something as mundane as a mattress – and that's where we can help. We've created a parent-approved children's mattress that's designed to provide growing bodies with what they need for healthy, restful sleep. Interested in seeing how proper sleep could change your child's life? Contact us today to learn more!