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More Questions and Answers About Sleep:

I have asthma, which was well controlled until I gained 20 pounds. Since the weight gain, I find myself waking up at night with asthma attacks and frequently reaching for my inhaler. My asthma used to occur primarily when I would exercise, so why am I now having attacks while I’m sleeping?

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Ask the Experts: Questions and Answers About Sleep

I experience an uncomfortable feeling in my feet and legs lying in bed, which briefly improves when I wiggle them. This causes difficulty falling asleep. My 14-year-old daughter has a similar problem and I notice her kicking during the night. I think we have RLS. What can we do?


Your description is typical of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). The restless sensation (like a static feeling from the nerves) can make falling asleep difficult. The associated leg twitching during sleep can result in brief awakenings making you feel fatigued and un-rested in the morning. The most appropriate medications for treating this condition increase dopamine activity within certain parts of the central nervous system. This, in essence, filters out the static sensations. Sedating or numbing medications are not recommended as a first line therapy in treating this condition. RLS can be passed on genetically and occur in family members, but other causes such nerve damage can also be a factor. Iron deficiency can also cause RLS because the brain needs iron to produce dopamine. RLS can also contribute to ADHD symptoms. Properly diagnosing and treating RLS in adults or children can result in improved sleep and daytime functioning.



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