Do I Have Restless Leg Syndrome?

woman having trouble sleeping It’s estimated that up to 10% of people deal with restless legs syndrome, a disorder that can affect people of any age. Tingling, aching, and other sensations can create an almost uncontrollable urge to move your legs, interfering with your sleep and ability to relax.

In this blog, our doctors helps you determine whether you might need to talk to a doctor about restless legs syndrome.

What is restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by uncomfortable sensations in your legs as well as the urge to move them. It’s a nervous system disorder as well as a sleep disorder since symptoms are usually triggered when you’re resting or trying to go to sleep.

Symptoms often start in the late afternoon or evening, and they’re frequently described as a “pins and needles” or “creepy crawly” sensation in your legs. Sitting or lying down tends to make symptoms worse.

These feelings can come and go, and they may affect you slightly or severely. If you have severe symptoms, the quality of your sleep can be regularly disrupted, which affects your quality of life, safety, and overall health and well-being.

What causes it?

Doctors often aren’t sure exactly what causes restless legs syndrome. It’s thought to have a genetic component, however, since almost half, the people who have RLS have a relative who has it.

The following have also been linked to or may worsen restless legs syndrome:

  • Chronic diseases – including diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure, iron deficiency, and peripheral neuropathy
  • Certain medications – such as older antihistamines or antidepressants that increase serotonin
  • Alcohol or nicotine
  • Caffeine
  • Pregnancy

How is it diagnosed?

No specific test is available to confirm a diagnosis of RLS, so you should consult a sleep specialist to evaluate your symptoms. Generally, the following may lead to a diagnosis of RLS:

  • You have an overwhelming urge to move your legs, often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations
  • Your symptoms start or get worse when you’re resting or inactive
  • Moving your legs temporarily helps your symptoms
  • Your symptoms start or get worse in the evening or at night
  • You don’t have another medical or behavioral condition that causes the previous four features

Your sleep doctor will talk to you about your family and medical history, as well as your medications. A neurological and physical exam may also be conducted, and laboratory tests may be conducted to help rule out other conditions.

What treatment options are available?

Treatment for RLS may include:

  • Good sleep habits – establishing a consistent sleep routine and creating a comfortable atmosphere in which to sleep
  • Leg massages
  • Heat or cold - Hot baths, heating pads, or ice packs applied to your legs
  • Avoiding problematic substances – such as alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine
  • Treating underlying health conditions – such as iron deficiency or diabetes since they can cause or worsen restless legs syndrome
  • Medication - using FDA-approved medications
  • Sleep devices – to help improve symptoms

If you’re experiencing symptoms that could indicate you may have restless legs syndrome, make an appointment today for an evaluation with Sleep & Neuroscience Associates in Greenwich, CT. Our doctors specializes in diagnosing sleep disorders including RLS and is board-certified in sleep medicine as well as neurology. He'll provide an accurate diagnosis for your symptoms and devise an effective treatment plan to help you get rest and relief.

Thank you! We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Request an Appointment


We regret to announce that we will be closing the practice for in person and telehealth services for Sleep and Neuroscience Treatment as of 9/30/2023. The Practice was formerly owned by Dr. Malhotra and was located at 86 Bradley Road, Madison, CT 06443.

In February 2022, Waterstone acquired Sleep and Neuroscience Treatment under Dr. Thomas Abbenante, who has been working with patients in Greenwich and New Haven offices.

If you are seeking new services, please contact your health insurance company who can provide you with a list of providers that are in network with your current plan. For additional information or referrals, you can also contact the Connecticut State Medical Society at or by calling 203-865-0587.

For current or previous patients, please contact our agency for information regarding your account, appointments, or medical records. You may reach us at 203-245-0412 or fax requests to 203-427-0441. You will receive mailed information detailing closure and any follow-up instructions.

Please note that the business mailing address for Dr. Abbenante and Sleep and Neuroscience is:

Dr. Thomas Abbenante
Sleep & Neuroscience Department
c/o Waterstone Counseling Centers, LLC
86 Bradley Road
Madison, CT  06443