The prevalence and associated risk factors of restless legs syndrome among Saudi adults

Nahid Sherbin, Anwar Ahmed, Abdulhamid Fatani, Khalid Al-Otaibi, Fares Al-Jahdali, Yosra Z. Ali, Abdullah Al-Harbi, Mohammad Khan, Salim Baharoon, Hamdan Al-Jahdali*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this cross-sectional study was to determine the prevalence, risk factors, other associated sleep disorders and commodities of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) among a sample of Saudis population. The diagnosis of RLS was based on the four criteria designated by the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (IRLSSG). Of 2095 participants, the average age of the sample was 42.3 (±15.5), and 848 (40.7%) were females. The prevalence of RLS was 14.7% with 95% confidence intervals (CI) of 13.3–16.3%. The presence of RLS was higher in males than females (16.3% in males vs. 12.5% in females, P = 0.016). Risk factor for RLS was smoking (P = 0.002), depression (P = 0.001), short sleep duration (P = 0.005), hyperlipidemia (P = 0.013), poor sleep quality (P = 0.001), and high risk for sleep apnea (P = 0.001). The prevalence of RLS was not affected by various age groups (14.1% in the young age group (18–29 years), 15.9% in the middle-age group (30–60), and 11.7% in the elderly (over 60), P = 0.139). Among participants with RLS, 20.8% reported severe RLS, 30.7% reported moderate RLS, and 48.5% reported mild RLS. Using the multivariate logistic regression model we found that smoking (aOR = 1.686; 95% CI 1.199–2.372; P = 0.003), short sleep duration (aOR = 1.568; 95% CI 1.024–2.400; P = 0.039), poor sleep quality (aOR = 1.969; 95% CI 1.236–3.139; P = 0.004), and high risk of sleep apnea (aOR = 1.598; 95% CI 1.113–2.295; P = 0.011) were all significantly associated with the presence of RLS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalSleep and Biological Rhythms
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Poor sleep quality
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Short sleep
  • Sleep apnea


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