Leg Cramps

cold feet spasming out from under the blanket

In some people, the calf and other leg muscles go into spasm while they are sleeping — causing them to wake during the night.

Though it may help (though painful) to walk the cramps off, they disrupt sleep and prevention is a better answer.


Nutritional deficiencies, tight calf muscles or cold feet can all contribute to night time leg cramps.


  • Therapies & Advice

    • Stretch

      Stretch your calf muscles before you go to sleep. This can be done by pulling your toes towards you when you’re sitting on your bed.

    • Keep Your Feet Warm

      Wearing socks at night can also help because cold feet will sometimes be a trigger.

    • "Odd" Bar of Soap Trick

      Interestingly, several readers of Dr. Peter Gott’s medical column have noted that leaving a bar of soap under their bed sheet stopped their leg cramps.

      It seems odd, but it is cheap, safe, and easy to try — and has been working for folks! (I have no idea why it works.)

  • Recommended Supplements

    • Potassium

      Supplement with potassium. This can be done by prescription or by eating a banana and/or drinking 12 to 16 oz (360-480 cc) of V8 or tomato juice daily.

    • Calcium

      Take calcium 500 mg at bedtime. It must contain magnesium and vitamin D in the calcium tablet.

    • Magnesium

      Take magnesium 200 mg plus B complex (or simply add a multi-nutrient powder for overall nutritional support).

  • Medications

    • Quinine

      Although the FDA recommends against its use, taking a Quinine tablet 200 to 300 mg before bedtime can help in severe and refractory cases.


Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is a board certified internist and author of the popular free iPhone application “Cures A-Z,” which was ranked in the top 10 of all health/wellness downloads on iTunes.

Dr. Teitelbaum is the author of the perennial bestseller From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery Penguin), which has sold over half a million copies; Pain Free 1-2-3 (McGraw-Hill); Three Steps to Happiness: Healing Through Joy (Deva Press); the Beat Sugar Addiction Now! series (Fair Winds Press);  Real Cause, Real Cure (Rodale Press); The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution (Penguin/Avery); and his latest, The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction (Fair Winds Press, 2015).