Background: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a complex sensorimotor disorder occurring with a typical circadian fashion. Association with additional features, like alexithymia and nocturnal compulsive behaviors further complicates the framework. ObjectivesTo assess interoception in RLS. MethodsA total of 25 RLS patients and 28 controls underwent the heartbeat tracking task (interoceptive accuracy [IAC]). RLS symptoms' frequency, disturbance and duration, nocturnal behaviors, interoceptive awareness (IAW), alexithymia, depressive and anxiety symptoms were also collected. ResultsRLS patients showed significant lower IAC (P = 0.0003) and IAW (P = 0.012), and reported more nocturnal eating behaviors (P < 0.001). IAC positively correlated with IAW (R = 0.32), and negatively correlated with age (R = -0.58). Nocturnal eating behavior negatively correlated with IAC (R = -0.44) and IAW (R = -0.50). ConclusionsRLS patients presented reduced interoceptive abilities correlating with higher nocturnal eating behaviors. Future studies are needed to explore the role of interoception in RLS pathophysiology, also in relation to other sensorimotor aspects.
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