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Why curing restless leg syndrome may not cure insomnia

I've written about the link between restless leg syndrome and insomnia a number of times.

Now it would appear that insomnia sufferers with restless leg syndrome (RLS) may be able to blame their brain chemistry.

Researchers have found that those suffering from RLS have abnormally high levels of glutamate in their brains.

Glutamate is a neurotransmitter responsible for arousal.

The more glutamate found in the brains of those with RLS, the worse they sleep.

Although doctors may be able to reduce someone's urge to move their legs during the night, they will often find that their patient continues to struggle with sleep.

That is what makes this such an interesting discovery.

The implication is that insomnia may not be a symptom of restless leg syndrome. Instead, the two conditions may be down to unusual activity in the thalamus - more specifically, elevated levels of glutamate.

Here's hoping this research opens the way for new studies into better treatment options for RLS and insomnia.

Source: Neurology

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Last updated: August 19, 2013

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

Leave a Comment

  • A. Marina Fournier
    September 24, 2013, 1:08 am

    I’m not sure, but during a time during menopause, when I could not by any means get aroused, I was still dealing with restless legs.

    Being unable to move my lower legs freely can trigger an episode or RLS. The dogs are not allowed to sleep up against me below my knees for this reason.