Stop Leg Cramps at Night! My Final Five Leg Cramp Relief and Prevention Options

If you want to stop leg cramps at night, you need to be careful of how you keep your feet when you sleep.

So for the final 5 of the 16 options I've written about, let's start this article with...

#12: Those darn bed sheets

If you lie on your back, and point your toes down while you sleep, and get them caught up in the bed sheets, it may bring on night leg cramps. So keep your sheets and blankets untucked at the end of the bed.

One way to prevent your feet from getting caught in the sheets is to put a pillow under the sheets at the end of the bed. This will keep you from stretching out your legs while you're sleeping.

As an alternative, prop your feet on the pillow, if you sleep on your back. If you sleep on your stomach, hanging your feet over the end of the bed may help.

One of the ways to stop leg cramps is to untuck the bed sheets on the bottom.

#13: Speaking of feet...

To stop leg cramps from occurring in the first place, buy some new, comfortable shoes if yours are getting worn out. This is especially true for runners who suffer muscle cramps. In fact, good running shoes are beneficial to just about anyone, even for those who don't jog.

New shoes with good arch support may also help stop leg cramps from happening in children who have flat feet and get leg and foot cramps.

Another option would be foot supports you put inside your shoes (called orthotics). Aging weakens the ligaments in our feet and ankles and arches flatten out. This can lead to changes in how pressure is put on our feet when we walk. The extra strain can often lead to foot and leg cramps.

For some people, new shoes and supports may be a simple cure for leg cramps.

#14: Medications can cause night leg cramps

There are several medications that can cause nighttime leg cramps. So be aware you may be on a medication that needs adjusting by your doctor if cramps are a frequent problem.

For example, people taking a diuretic for high blood pressure may be losing metabolites such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium due to frequent urination.

Also, do keep in mind the warning I gave you about statins in my article on what causes leg cramps at night.

#15: Magnesium and potassium in foods

In my previous article on nocturnal leg cramps, I showed you how magnesium is often recommended by medical experts to stop leg cramps.

Yet I also showed you evidence that magnesium does not seem to prevent cramps for most people...although there is some evidence that it will help pregnant women with their cramps.

Even so, magnesium is an essential mineral that loads of people are deficient in. In the event that magnesium may help you avoid night cramps, here are some foods rich in magnesium: beans, spinach, almonds, and whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice.

What about potassium?

You certainly don't want to start popping potassium supplements without a doctor's advice. You can get plenty of potassium from foods.

In the fruit family: bananas, grapefruits and their juice, cantaloupes, oranges and orange juice, avocados, and apricots are good sources.

Baked potatoes and beans are full of potassium. Fish, especially tuna fish, sardines, and herring have a lot of potassium. Nuts and seeds such as almonds, pecans, cashews, and sunflower seeds have lots of potassium.

Here's something else to keep in mind. Diarrhea is one major cause of potassium deficiency. Just one more reason to make sure your digestion is healthy, as I pointed out in #10 of my article on night leg cramps.

#16: So what about nutritional supplements?

Leg cramps cause such misery. Yet medical science doesn't really know what causes leg cramps.

Perhaps there's some hidden nutritional deficiency caused by digestive problems, poor dietary choices, and too many junk foods.

As an example, back in 1998 there was a small study (28 adults) that tested whether a B-complex vitamin could help with nocturnal leg cramps. Here are the dosages: B1 (50 mg), B2 (5mg), B6 (30 mg) and B12 (250 micrograms).

The study states: "After 3 months, 86% of the patients taking vitamin B had prominent remission of leg cramps, whereas those taking placebo [fake, inactive pills] had no significant difference..."

I've also read that vitamin D supplements may stop leg cramps from occurring. However, I haven't seen any studies that show low vitamin D levels are a cause of leg cramps.

Even so, it's astounding the numbers of people in this world who have low vitamin D levels.

If you can't get outside daily for ten minutes or so, and get some sunshine on your skin, consider taking 800 to 1,000 I.U.s of vitamin D.

This example of vitamins B and D is why I'm a big believer in taking a good multivitamin everyday. It makes sure you're at least covering the basic nutrition you may be missing in your diet.

One company has taken this to a super-healthy extreme.

With the help of one of the top biochemists in the world, they've created a line of supplements for men, women, and children. They cover just about every nutritional angle you can think of.

Click here to see a supplement overview of how they create Total Balance in your life, now and for the future (link opens in a new window).

It's interesting information. And who knows, it might even help stop leg cramps from keeping you up at night.

Now for one last important point...

Finally, if nothing I've given you in my series of articles works for you to prevent or stop leg cramps...and they keep occurring...consider getting checked by your doctor. You may have an underactive thyroid or some other underlying health issue.

References for Stop Leg Cramps At Night!

  1. Leg Pain and Lower Extremity Arterial Disease. Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California.

  2. Nocturnal Leg Cramps. Diseases and Conditions. Cleveland Clinic.

  3. Sleep. The Complete Guide to Sleep Disorders and A Better Night's Sleep. By J. Paul Caldwell, MD

  4. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the safety and efficacy of vitamin B complex in the treatment of nocturnal leg cramps in elderly patients with hypertension. J Clin Pharmacol. 1998 Dec;38(12):1151-4.

Here are more articles you may find helpful

What Causes Leg Cramps at Night?

Nocturnal Leg Cramps: Can They Be Prevented?

Leg Pain At Night: 16 Lower Leg Cramps Treatment Options

Night Leg Cramps Treatments: Six More Options

4 Essential Facts About Insomnia

Return From Stop Leg Cramps to Sleep Disorders Home Page

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