Kicking in Your Sleep? --- Top 7
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May 21, 2016


By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist






Do you regularly kick out when sleeping? Are you driving
your partner crazy with your kicks, and possibly causing
injury? Don’t worry – it is not likely to be a hidden sign of
marital tension playing itself out during sleep.

Kicking when you are asleep is most likely a type of sleep
disorder. Up to 11 percent of adults suffer from periodic leg
movements during sleep (PLMS), according to 2006 research
from University Hospital Freiburg in Germany, and kicking
while sleeping is also linked to restless legs syndrome.

Another, less common, reason for kicking out is REM sleep
behavior disorder. What can you do if you suffer from one of
these conditions? Is there any way to stop the kicking and
get a better night’s rest?

Periodic Leg Movements Syndrome Make You Kick

The American Sleep Association says PLMS, also referred to
as periodic limb movements during sleep, is defined by the
involuntary movement of the legs while you are sleeping.

Sufferers do not normally realize they are kicking or moving
their legs, and they do not normally wake up, but sleep is
highly disrupted, leading to daytime sleepiness, changes in
mood, and irritability.

The kicking occurs during the first stage of the sleep cycle,
before REM sleep. When sleep is continually disrupted in the
initial stages it can prevent the attainment of REM sleep
which is where you get your most restful sleep – this is why
you feel unrested after you have been kicking out at night.

This type of kicking can occur in both adults and children
although it is most common in older people – 34 percent of
people aged over 60 have the condition, according to the
American Academy of Sleep Medicine.  

Experts are unsure what exactly causes the kicking
associated with periodic leg movements during sleep, but it
could be linked to
iron deficiency, kidney disorders, central
nervous system issues, or hereditary.

Or It Could Be REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

A rare sleep disorder also can cause you to kick or even
punch during sleep. It’s called "REM sleep behavior
disorder".

During REM sleep, you normally lack the muscle tone to make
movements in your sleep but with the disorder sufferers
seem to maintain this ability, which causes them to act out
their dreams with often violent consequences.

This kicking disorder can predict the development of
Parkinson’s disease and dementia, according to 2010
research from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. More
than 50 percent of people with REM sleep behavior disorder  
develop either Parkinson's or dementia decades later.

[Editor's Note:

Though scientists do not yet know the exact link between
night kicking and these brain conditions, certain dietary
deficiencies are shared by people who kick during sleep and
those who suffer from Parkinson's, including low magnesium
levels.

A 2009 study led by Dr. R. Vink of the School of Medical
Sciences, University of Adelaide in Australia, observed that
"magnesium deficient mice are susceptible to developing
Parkinson's disease, which is consistent with earlier findings
that magnesium deficiency over a number of generations is
associated with the development of Parkinson's disease."]


Restless Legs Syndrome Can Cause Kicking

On the other hand, a condition called restless legs syndrome
a more common reason for kicking during sleep as well as
other involuntary limb movements.

Around 80 percent of people who have periodic leg
movements during sleep also suffer from restless legs
syndrome, according to the American Sleep Association.

With this condition you are plagued with the intense need to
move your legs, particularly when you are lying down or
resting.

Restless legs syndrome can result in kicking movements
when the sufferer tries to get relief from the discomfort
through leg movements.

We looked at recent scientific research to see what you can
do to remedy these conditions – and stop the kicking before
you do yourself or your bed partner serious harm.






























1.
Stop Smoking to Reduce the Risk of Kicking in Your Sleep

Recent research indicates that REM sleep behavior disorder
may be caused by smoking. If you want to avoid this sleep
problem, and other health issues, quit smoking for best
results. The 2012 study from McGill University Health Centre
(MUHC) in Montreal showed that people with REM sleep
behavior disorder were 43 percent more likely to be
smokers, and 64 percent of people with the condition had
smoked at some point in their lives. Researchers looked at
data from 13 different institutions across 10 countries to get
enough detail on the condition to inform the study.

2.
Magnesium Helps Prevent Kicking with Restless Legs
Syndrome


Studies show that magnesium supplements are useful for
treating the kicking and twitching leg symptoms of restless
legs syndrome, even if you do not have a magnesium
deficiency.

In a 1998 study from Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg,
Germany, 10 people with sleep problems related to restless
legs syndrome took magnesium every night for four to six
weeks and found their symptoms – including leg kicking –
improved. (Read more about
almonds and other foods rich
in magnesium
.)

3.
Vitamin E Can Help Calm Restless Legs

Another natural remedy for restless legs and the kicking,
itching, and general discomfort is vitamin E.

Experts suggest that a daily intake of vitamin E helps calm
leg movements in people with restless legs syndrome.

In a 1973 study carried out by Ayres S Jr and Mihan R,
seven out of every nine people given 400 to 800 IU daily
demonstrated virtual control over their restless legs
symptoms.

4.
Get More Exercise to Stop Kicking in Your Sleep

You can benefit from the immediate and long-term effect of
exercise if you suffer from leg movements during sleep,
according to scientists.

A 2009 study from the American College of Sports Medicine
says that exercise helps reduce periodic limb movements
during sleep, and helps to bring better quality sleep to
sufferers.

Participants completed an intense morning exercise session
while half the group also had completed a six-month long-
term training program of exercise three days a week. Both
groups displayed better sleep, more restful sleep, and
increased total sleep time.

5.
Take Iron to Prevent Leg Kicking During Sleep?

Low levels of iron in the blood are linked to leg movement
problems associated with restless legs syndrome, says a
1996 study from Royal Liverpool University Hospital,
England.

In one 1998 study from Johns Hopkins University Dept. of
Psychology, Baltimore researchers looked at 27 people with
restless legs syndrome.

The researchers discovered that those with the most serious
leg movement problems had lower than average levels of
iron in the blood.

In other studies, those people given iron who were deficient
in the mineral saw their leg kicking symptoms improve.
(Read more about
foods that help to boost your iron levels.)

6.
Folate Can Help Remedy Restless Legs

Folate is sometimes recommended for restless legs syndrome
and may therefore be useful for stopping involuntary leg
movements during sleep.

A 1976 study by Dr. Mihai Botez of the Université de
Montréal demonstrated that 45 patients given 5 to 30mg of
folate per day experienced a decrease in their limb
movement symptoms. However, further studies are needed
to replicate results such as these.

7.
Vitamin C or Vitamin B12 to Help Kicking Legs During
Sleep


Largely anecdotal evidence included in studies such as a
1996 report from Royal Liverpool University Hospital,
England and a 1997 study by the Mayo Clinic show that
vitamin C may be a useful supplement for treating restless
legs at night.  

Vitamin B12 could also be of help. But further double-blind
studies need to be carried out to define the link.















































































































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Adding almonds to your diet can
help stop kicking in your sleep
caused by magnesium deficiency.