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One Common Sleep Problem Young Adults should be aware of.

Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is correlated with better overall health and a higher quality of life.  However, it can be exhausting trying to balance your work schedule, family, and social life, especially as a young adult. At a certain age, young adults gradually transition from the sleep habits and lifestyles of a teenager to one that is quite demanding and challenging. These new realities have led to most of them having a new set of bedtime-related woes. Relationships, families, and work maybe some of the most important and fulfilling aspects of our lives, but they can also be some of our greatest impediments to a good night’s sleep. So just how much sleep do you need as a young adult, and what can you do if you’re not getting enough of it?. In view of the above, Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a common sleep problem among young adults has a frequency rate of is 10%, and may even occur in young adults without comorbidities.

Sleep Requirements for Young Adults

The National Sleep Foundation recently overhauled its recommendations for the amount of sleep needed based on age. The sleep recommendation for people ages 25 to 64 is seven to nine hours per night. In some cases, as few as six or as many as 10 hours may be appropriate, but the National Sleep Foundation doesn’t recommend less than six. Sleep requirements, of course, vary greatly by individual.

One of the common sleep problem that is experienced by young adults albeit that have equally become prevalent due to the exigencies and vagaries of tight work schedules and other commitments are the Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also called Willis-Ekbom disease is a sleep disorder that can that cause an intense, often irresistible urge to move your legs (and even your arms or body). It occurs along with other sensations in your limbs described as pulling, creeping, tugging, throbbing, itching, aching, burning, or crawling. These sensations are becoming more prevalent among young adults and usually occur when lying down in bed or when sitting for long periods of time. RLS typically occurs in the evening, making it difficult to fall asleep.

Oftentimes, people with RLS want to walk around and shake their legs (or arms) to help relieve the uncomfortable sensations. RLS is one of several disorders that can cause exhaustion and daytime sleepiness, which can strongly affect mood, concentration, job performance, and personal relationships.  Young adults with RLS report they are often unable to concentrate, have impaired memory, or fail to accomplish daily tasks.  Untreated moderate to severe RLS can lead to about a 20 percent decrease in work productivity and can contribute to depression and anxiety.

Possible Causes of RLS

  • End-stage renal disease and hemodialysis
  • Iron deficiency
  • Certain medications that may aggravate RLS symptoms, such as anti-nausea drugs (e.g. metoclopramide), antipsychotic drugs (e.g., haloperidol or phenothiazine derivatives), antidepressants that increase serotonin (e.g., fluoxetine or sertraline), and some cold and allergy medications that contain older antihistamines (e.g., diphenhydramine)
  • Use of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
  • Pregnancy, especially in the last trimester; in most cases, symptoms usually disappear within 4 weeks after delivery
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage).

Possible Solutions to RLS

Lifestyle changes: Avoiding or decreasing the use of alcohol and tobacco, changing or maintaining a regular sleep pattern, a program of moderate exercise, and massaging the legs, taking a warm bath, or using a heating pad or ice pack.

Use of Iron Supplements:  For individuals with low or low-normal blood tests called ferritin and transferrin saturation, a trial of iron supplements is recommended as the first treatment.  Iron supplements are available over-the-counter.

Use of Anti-seizure drugs.  Anti-seizure drugs are becoming the first-line prescription drugs for those with RLS.

Dopaminergic agents: These drugs increase the dopamine effect are largely used to treat Parkinson’s disease.  They have been shown to reduce symptoms of RLS when they are taken at nighttime.

Use of Benzodiazepines: These drugs can help individuals obtain more restful sleep.  However, even if taken only at bedtime they can sometimes cause daytime sleepiness, reduce energy, and affect concentration.

Lastly, for those suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) which is a common sleep problem among young adults. it is paramount that talk to your physician about your options. For others, meditation can make a world of difference in resolving sleep problems, while some others may need sleep medication to get adequate rest.

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