In the present study, the nocturnal electroencephalographic sleep pattern, the number of periodic leg movements (PLM) during sleep and wakefulness, and the subjective sleep parameters of patients with uremic (n = 10) and idiopathic (n = 17) restless legs syndrome (RLS) were compared. The main finding was that the total number of PLM (p = 0.019), the PLM index (p = 0.018), and the PLM index while awake (p = 0.003) were significantly higher in patients with uremic RLS compared with patients who had idiopathic RLS. Additionally, both groups showed a distinct time-of-night pattern of PLM activity. Polysomnographic measures of sleep continuity (total sleep time, sleep efficiency, sleep onset latency, time awake) and sleep architecture (amount of nonrapid eye movement sleep stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 and the amount of rapid eye movement sleep) did not differ between uremic and idiopathic RLS patients. With regard to subjective parameters, sleep quality was estimated to be worse in uremic RLS (p = 0.033), whereas other parameters (for example, severity of RLS, quality of life) did not differ between the two groups. It is suggested that uremia itself worsens the motor symptoms of RLS, probably as a result of increased excitability.