Background: Periodic limb movements (PLMs) have been studied in both community and sleep clinic populations using polysomnography. An alternative detection method is actigraphy. Our aims were to determine the frequency of PLMs, measured by actigraphy in a community sample, and to assess the relationships of PLMs with age, gender, and reported sleep-related symptoms.
Methods: Volunteers had bilateral foot actigraphy (Cambridge Neurotechnology) at home and completed sleep questionnaires. Actigraphy was scored for PLMs per hour in bed (PLMI) and statistical analysis performed to assess possible associations.
Results: PLMI (mean of two nights) ranged from 0 to 60.3 and 37% of the sample had a PLMI≥5. Men had significantly higher PLMIs than females (P=0.003) but PLMI was not correlated with age. There was a modest but significant correlation between subjectively reported restless leg severity and PLMI (r=0.238; P=0.003), but none with reported sleepiness.
Conclusions: This actigraphy technique is a practical and reliable tool for community studies. A large proportion of this community sample, particularly men, had PLMs. PLMI was not correlated with age or Epworth Sleepiness Score.
PLMS Reference Paper