Consensus diagnostic criteria for a newly defined pediatric sleep disorder: restless sleep disorder (RSD)

Sleep Med. 2020 Nov;75:335-340. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2020.08.011. Epub 2020 Aug 17.


Background: Restless sleep is a frequent complaint in clinical practice and has been reported in the medical literature since the 1970s. Most often, it has been described in association with specific sleep or medical conditions. However, more recently, publications have emerged that describe a disorder characterized by restless sleep as the core feature. To assess this further, the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (IRLSSG) appointed a task force composed of international sleep experts.

Methods: A committee of 10 sleep clinicians developed a set of 16 consensus questions to review, conducted a comprehensive literature search, and extensively discussed potential diagnostic criteria. The committee recommendations were reviewed and endorsed by the IRLSSG Executive Committee.

Results: Based on the medical literature and expert clinical experience, the task force found sufficient evidence to formulate diagnostic criteria for a clinical entity designated "restless sleep disorder" (RSD). Eight essential criteria were agreed upon, which include a complaint of restless sleep, observed large body movements during sleep, video-polysomnographic documentation of 5 or more large body movements/hour, occurrence at least three times a week for at least three months, clinically significant impairment, and differentiation from other conditions that might secondarily cause restless sleep. However, the current evidence limits application to ages 6-18 years. Diagnostic coding, addition to existing diagnostic nosologies, and name selection are discussed.

Conclusions: Consensus diagnostic criteria for RSD have been developed, which are intended to improve clinical practice and promote further research.

Keywords: Children; Consensus; Diagnosis; Pediatric; Restless sleep; Restless sleep disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Consensus
  • Humans
  • Movement
  • Restless Legs Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / diagnosis