Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) has been associated with anxiety, depression, insomnia, lifestyle factors and infections. We aimed to study the prevalence of symptoms of RLS during the COVID-19 pandemic versus pre-pandemic. We hypothesized that pre-existing RLS symptoms worsened and pandemic-related factors may have triggered new symptoms of RLS. METHODS: Adults (≥18 years) from fifteen countries across four continents participated in an online survey between May and August 2020. The harmonized questionnaire included a validated single question on RLS with response alternatives from 1 to 5 on a scale from never to every/almost every evening or night. Other measures were the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), measures of symptoms of anxiety (GAD-2) and depression (PHQ-2), and questions on different pandemic-related factors. RESULTS: Altogether, 17 846 subjects (63.8 % women) were included in the final analyses. The mean age was 41.4 years (SD 16.1). During the pandemic, symptoms of RLS (≥3 evenings/nights per week) were more common 9.1 % (95 % CI 8.7-10.1) compared to 5.4 % (95 % CI 4.9-6.0) before the pandemic (P 

Original publication




Journal article


Sleep Med

Publication Date





389 - 398


COVID-19, Insomnia, Prevalence, Psychiatric disorders, RLS, Restless legs syndrome, Sleep disorders