I did a sleep test because I often feel tired and not well rested after sleeping a full night.
I heard back recently and apparently I have PLMD and the doctor says it’s severe. Actually, I haven’t talked to the doctor yet. But the guy on the phone told me it was severe. My appointment isn’t for another month. So that sucks.
In the meantime, I of course checked in with Dr. Google and found out a few things.
1 – PLMD is characterized by periodic and rhythmic movement of your legs while you sleep and it can disrupt your sleep leading to daytime sleepiness.
2 – There are many potential causes and often they have no idea what causes it.
3 – Increasing dopamine helps reduce the movement.
4 – Sedatives reduces the movement.
That’s about it.
I haven’t looked too hard. I thought: hey this might be an opportunity to ask for modafinil from my sleep doc, so we will see how that goes.
The drugs they normally give are dopamine agonists. These drugs kind of scare me because of their side effects but I’ll try to be open minded with the doctor.
I did try taking acetyl-L-Tyrosine before bed, which is supposed to support dopamine production. The next day I felt horribly tired. Maybe that’s what sleep without my legs kicking is like? I’ll probably try it again before trying any dopamine agonists. I had taken cortex that day and two acetyl-L-tyrosine pills earlier in the day so it may have just been too much.
Dopaminergic drugs are kinda scary as I mentioned:
“While these agents confer many benefits, there are some adverse effects that should be recognized. Similar to patients with Parkinson’s disease, RLS patients treated with dopamine agonists may develop dopamine dysregulation syndrome.20–25These patients may exhibit an addictive pattern of dopamine replacement therapy use and/or behavioral disturbances including punding and impulse control disorders such as pathologic gambling, compulsive shopping, compulsive eating, and hypersexuality. One report20 indicated a prevalence of 7% for pathologic gambling and 23% for compulsive eating in RLS subjects treated with a dopaminergic medication. Case reports indicate that discontinuation of the dopamine agonist results in resolution or improvement of the impulse control disorder,26–28 although these patients may be particularly susceptible to dopamine agonist withdrawal syndrome.” source
The fact that it’s only ‘case reports’ that indicate discontinuation restores impulse control doesn’t give me much confidence.
My sister recommended looking into melatonin. I had always thought of that as being only for people who can’t fall asleep. I looked on pubmed and found a small study showing a significant improvement. There are some potential flaws to the study like the fact that they were asked to take 3mg of melatonin between 10pm-11pm. Perhaps a change in bedtime was what caused the improvement? Anyway, it’s worth a try.