Sleep In America Poll Data About Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

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From time to time, the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep In America PollTM tracks information relating to specific sleep topics and diseases.

  • 15% of the adult population responding to the NSF Sleep in America poll have symptoms of RLS a few nights a week or more, which could include unpleasant feelings in the legs such as creepy, drawly or tingling feelings, and 10% met the criteria for being at risk for RLS because – of those who experienced these symptoms -- such feelings were worse at night Of those who have symptoms of RLS, 86% are also likely to have insomnia symptoms and sleep just 6.3 hours per weeknight, which is less than the mean for all respondents of 6.8 hours.
  • Almost half (47%) of those experiencing RLS symptoms also take 30 minutes or more to fall asleep at night.
  • Although 28% of all adults state that they missed work because of being too sleepy, 52% of those with RLS symptoms reported missing work or other events due to a sleep problem.

2005 Adult Sleep Habits and Styles Sleep In America Poll TM

  • Even though 40% of adults polled rated their sleep as very good/excellent, just 20% of those with RLS symptoms reported the quality of their sleep this way.
  • Of the total number of adults polled, 16% report experiencing RLS symptoms at least a few nights per week; however, just 4% have been diagnosed with the disorder. 32% of those with symptoms have used a sleep aid while 46% of those diagnosed used a sleep medication.
  • Persons with RLS symptoms are more likely (60%) compared to the total (37%) to have daytime sleepiness a few days a month or more.
  • Quality of life is affected by RLS symptoms. Those with these symptoms report being tired (35% vs. 20%), pessimistic (16% vs. 10%), prefer to be alone (34% vs. 22%), stressed (37% vs. 21%) and be angry (15% vs. 6%) during a typical day.

2002 Adult Sleep Habits Sleep In America Poll TM