Why do I have crazy feet in the sack?
January 12, 2006 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Why do I have a compulsion to constantly move my feet when going to sleep?

I've done it for as long as I can remember. Just a small back and forth motion with both feet until I fall asleep. Is this something that other people do or am I showing early symptoms of Parkinson's?
posted by bjork24 to Grab Bag (30 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe it's a form of Restless Leg Syndrome.
posted by dogwelder at 10:38 AM on January 12, 2006

Maybe it's Restless Leg Syndrome.
posted by dogwelder at 10:39 AM on January 12, 2006

Wow. I do this too. Drove my husband nuts when we first got married. It's not restless leg syndrome, at least for me. It's more of a comfort thing. Like rocking almost.
posted by jrossi4r at 10:43 AM on January 12, 2006

I do something similar... except it's wiggling my toes. If I concentrate, I can make it stop. I become uber-conscious of my feet, and begin to think they feel wrong. This has been going on consistently for about 5 years.

At times I wonder (like you) if it's something wrong, but mostly I just ignore it. Interested to see what responses you get. I just always assumed I was borrowing trouble thinking about it.
posted by voidcontext at 10:44 AM on January 12, 2006

Could it be Restless Leg Syndrome?
posted by Rubber Soul at 10:46 AM on January 12, 2006

You probably have Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). I have it, and it is easily treatable. Mine was brought on by iron deficiency, but it is also hereditary. I was treated with Klonopin for severl years until the RLS got so bad that it bothered me in the day. I went to a neurologist, who tested my ferritin serum level, gave me an iron supplement, and put me temporarily on a Parkinson's medication called Mirapex until my iron levels were normal. I highly recommend seeing a neurologist about this one.
posted by lunalaguna at 10:48 AM on January 12, 2006

Weird...I'm compelled to do the same thing, though being married forced me to quell the urge. I agree it's a kind of comfort thing.
posted by owen at 10:53 AM on January 12, 2006

Previously discussed. Also called "the jimmy leg" (you'll have to search for it).
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:44 AM on January 12, 2006

I would have to say that it's not Restless Leg Syndrome; I have RLS, while my partner does the foot movement thing.

The reason I say this is how you describe it: if you off-handendly describe it as a compulsion, as opposed to Oh-My-God-Someone-Chop-Off-My-Legs-So-They-Stop-Doing-This, then it's not RLS. I can't say what it is, other than it seems completely harmless, and psychological rather than physical.
posted by deadfather at 11:47 AM on January 12, 2006

I do this too and have since I was a kid. As far as I know, I don't have RLS.
posted by speranza at 11:48 AM on January 12, 2006

Yeah, I don't think it's RLS. It's definitely a comforting feeling, but I don't know why moving my feet would be associated with a feeling of comfort.

PS - I'm married and it doesn't bother my wife. Woo hoo!
posted by bjork24 at 11:52 AM on January 12, 2006

posted by TheLibrarian at 11:53 AM on January 12, 2006

Perhaps it's that Restless Leg Syndrome I've been hearing so much about.
posted by Hildago at 11:55 AM on January 12, 2006

Girlfriend does it.
posted by adamwolf at 12:07 PM on January 12, 2006

I do the same the same thing when I drift off sometimes. I liken it to a cat kneading down its bed before it sits down.
posted by boo_radley at 12:10 PM on January 12, 2006

I caught myself doing this at college and thought it was really weird. Then I went home on vacation (where I had a waterbed) and noticed I was doing it there, only my foot was on the frame of the bed and causing slight waves. I realized that at some point I'd unwittingly learned to rock myself to sleep. I still find myself doing it nowadays (haven't had a waterbed in almost 15 years), sometimes when I'm sitting in a chair, but always only when I'm sleepy.
posted by kimota at 12:11 PM on January 12, 2006

It's definitely RLS
posted by jon_kill at 12:17 PM on January 12, 2006

Definitely not RLS. I do the same thing - it's the equivalent of bouncing your knee at the dinner table or tapping your pen on a desk. Otherwise known as fidgeting. Indeed, I just caught myself doing exactly this as I type.

Interestingly, some studies have shown that fidgeting reduces incidents of obesity. All those little motions add up!
posted by aladfar at 12:43 PM on January 12, 2006

I toe wiggle and my partner foot wiggles. Not much help, but we are clearly destined for a lifetime of pre-sleep shaky bed.

(And it's not RLS for either of us, just deeply comforting like rocking, as previously stated.)
posted by birdie birdington at 1:16 PM on January 12, 2006

I do this, it's not through (obvious) discomfort, it's more a comfort thing.
posted by hardcode at 1:19 PM on January 12, 2006

I do this pretty often, but it's usually more noticable when I've been drinking. Any link between alcohol and leg moving?
posted by nitsuj at 1:33 PM on January 12, 2006

I do it too - the rhythm feels comforting. I think it's some kind of leftover desire to be rocked to sleep like a baby.
posted by andraste at 1:35 PM on January 12, 2006

My three sisters, my brother, my mom, my toddler niece and I all do it - I like it, as long as I've recently had a pedicure so there aren't any callouses on the balls of my feet or heels.
It takes our partners some time to get used to it, and one sister has convinced her husband that she has to knead her feet on his leg, but generally I think it's harmless and a form of self-comfort probably learned when you first start to put yourself to sleep.
posted by pomegranate at 2:06 PM on January 12, 2006

Is it something like when dogs go around in circles before they lie down? Are you smoothing out some primordial undergrowth?
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:21 PM on January 12, 2006

I have RLS, and it's anything but comforting. Please folks, listen to the questioner and don't automatically give a medical diagnosis.
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:47 PM on January 12, 2006

Eediots! enough with the RLS. Definitely not that. I do it too. It's just a self comforting thing. I don't have to do it - just feels nice.
posted by Dag Maggot at 3:56 PM on January 12, 2006

I'm a nocturnal foot wiggler too, and it's from growing up with a waterbed like kimota did. Flexing each foot downward created really soothing waves. It's been a decade since I owned a waterbed but if I'm very tired I notice myself still doing it.
posted by Mamapotomus at 5:22 PM on January 12, 2006

Okay... this may be totally wrong, but it's possible it's a symptom of Attention Deficit Disorder. I have ADD and I have the exact same thing with my feet. I've ruled out RLS. My guess is that it's a form of restlessness or excess energy (even if I'm totally exhausted, my body is more comfortable moving than being still). Anyway, if you have some other ADD symptoms it might be worth looking into with a doctor.
posted by zharptitsa at 6:38 PM on January 12, 2006

So, this foot - it vibrates?


My girlfriend does this, and it used to annoy the crap out of me - I couldn't get to sleep. I've basically conditioned her to stop it - mostly by gently nudging her foot with mine. Sometimes she would try to keep doing it (not consciously) by just moving so her feet weren't touching me, but her whole body moves while she's doing it. Now, after 8 years, she pretty much doesn't do it anymore.

I think she gets it from her dad, but I don't sleep with him, so he's allowed to keep doing it.
posted by wilberforce at 4:13 AM on January 13, 2006

My boyfriend does it and luckily, I find it comforting. But I sure would like to know where it comes from.

Supposedly, he was told that as a child, he was mildly autistic. Perhaps something to do with that?
posted by pizzylou at 2:11 PM on January 30, 2006

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