Restless Leg Syndrome

Described as an uncontrollable urge to move or shake the legs, restless leg syndrome (RLS) often occurs at night while at rest. RLS typically causes pain, itching, tugging, or other uncomfortable sensations in the legs, and sometimes in the arms, particularly during periods of inactivity. Various forms of movement, including walking and exercise, can help relieve the discomfort that accompanies RLS. Also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease, the condition is considered a neurological disorder, but because it can disrupt sleep it sometimes is characterized as a sleep disorder. Approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from RLS, including men and women, infants, and children. However, older adults generally suffer from the most severe forms of RLS.


UAB Medicine provides complete treatment for sleep-related disorders. We use a team approach that combines the expertise of multiple medical specialties, including internal medicine, pulmonology, otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat, or ENT), and surgery.

UAB was an early leader in sleep medicine, receiving our first accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 1986. Today, the UAB Sleep/Wake Disorders Center’s board-certified physicians continue to lead their field, and they are active in clinical trials and research on topics such as the relationship of sleep disorders to obesity, new therapies for restless legs syndrome, and how obstructive sleep apnea is connected to some forms of high blood pressure. Our pioneering work led the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to present us with the coveted Sleep Academic Award. As a result, patients with difficult sleep problems are referred to UAB from throughout Alabama.

UAB Medicine is home to the first sleep disorders technologist in the world to be fully certified in the Inspire Care Pathway. This is a set of guidelines or “best practices” for using the Inspire upper airway stimulation device, which is implanted to treat sleep apnea. Click here to learn more.

Our state-of-the-art facility at UAB Hospital-Highlands offers the convenience of easy access and free parking. A significant advantage of coming to UAB is that you will not have to wait several weeks to get test results after an overnight sleep study; instead, you receive the results of your sleep study, a diagnosis, a treatment plan, and any prescriptions the morning after your study. Generally, patients are ready to leave by 9 am following an overnight sleep study.

UAB has no financial ties to durable medical equipment (DME) companies who sell or service sleep products or CPAP/BiPAP devices. You are free to choose your own provider.





UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials