American Academy of Sleep Medicine

View all recommendations from this society

Released December 2, 2014

Don’t use polysomnography to diagnose restless legs syndrome, except rarely when the clinical history is ambiguous and documentation of periodic leg movements is necessary.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurologic disorder that can be diagnosed based on a patient’s description of symptoms and additional clinical history. Polysomnography (PSG) generally does not provide additional information necessary to make the diagnosis. If a patient’s clinical history for RLS is ambiguous, PSG to assess for periodic leg movements may be useful to help confirm an RLS diagnosis.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

The Executive Committee of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine developed 21 candidate recommendations for ways in which medical waste could be minimized while care for patients with sleep disorders is improved. Members of the Executive Committee then voted to assign priorities to each, and the top five were selected. Final wording of the five statements were approved by the full Board of Directors of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The Secretary/Treasurer and research staff of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine developed rationale and references for each recommendation. The final statements, explanations and citations were approved by a final vote of the Board of Directors.

The AASM disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at


Kushida CA, Littner MR, Morgenthaler T, Alessi CA, Bailey D, Coleman J Jr, Friedman L, Hirshkowitz M, Kapen S, Kramer M, Lee-Chiong T, Loube DL, Owens J, Pancer JP, Wise M. Practice parameters for the indications for polysomnography and related procedures: an update for 2005. Sleep. 2005 Apr;28(4):499-521.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. International classification of sleep disorders, 3rd ed. Darien, IL: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; 2014.