Couch to 5K

Night Cramps

I've been suffering for sometime now with leg cramps during the night, sometimes they are so painful I end flying out of bed, hopping around the bedroom trying to stretch them out. I get them both in my Calves and the Hamstrings (Not at the same time). I've found if I bend my knees whilst lying on my side, (like the fetus position) that often brings them on.

I've tried several things like drinking Tonic Water (Quinine) and extra stretching but to date it has not helped. It's driving me mad, not only is it painful it's also now impacting on my sleep :(

I guess I am hoping it's not related to running!

Has anyone else experienced anything similar?

Best Wishes

13 Replies

I get night time calf cramps periodically, with me it's a family thing and I've had them all my adulthood, so not connected with running in my case. From what I've read it can be caused by a variety of things, low potassium, low sodium, dehydration (mine are worse in summer so that would figure).

Maybe try tweaking your diet, making sure you eat enough potassium (bananas are good), and are drinking enough water, getting healthy level of sodium, see if it helps. If not perhaps check with your GP.


Unfortunately yes, periodically I do. In my case it's often brought on by an increase in exercise. I've had this previously when undertaking more hiking/hillwalking and at periods when increasing my cycling distances. I also suffered a couple of episodes when I was new-ish to running and increasing from 30 minutes running onwards.

Touch wood, I've not had an episode for over a year.

Sometimes the pain is so bad, that despite stretching the muscles (bend toes back to my body) at the first twinge, and putting weight on my foot, I've passed out from the pain. Husband has been woken up twice when I've bumped off the wardrobe as I fell in a dead faint when trying to attempt to stand or walk to the bathroom despite the pain. :(

I've read that it is thought it's possible that a potassium deficiency could lead to nighttime cramps. I usually try to increase the intake of this by eating more fruits like bananas, nectarines, apricots, raisins or grapes.


I get them in my calves occasionally. When I did quite a hardcore low-carb diet a few years ago I was plagued with them almost nightly, but I've not had them from running. Also Mr TT gets them sometimes (he doesn't run) and I am woken by him howling and jumping around the room - seems to be linked to dehydration as they happen most when he's had a glass or two of wine.


Thanks for all the replies, I have a fairly low Carb diet so there might be something in that. I've just read that Low Carbing can leave you Potassium deficient (amongst other things) so I'm going to get some Potassium supplements this afternoon to see if that helps.


On second thoughts I'm now thinking it's highly unlikely that I am deficient in Potassium as I drink several litres of High 5 Zero each day which provides trace elements including Potassium.


I'd be wary of self supplementing. My dad was put on potassium for his cramps a few years back (his bloods showed he was deficient) but after a while the GP stopped them as she advised it wasn't safe long term, he just has a banana every day now.


I am going to suggest a dietary problem too. I used to suffer terribly with calf pains at night when I was a kid so I sympathise. I really suffered with it, crying with pain and nothing helped it.

Hubby has had this when he has been drinking alcohol too, like a previous poster says. I think his was due to dehydration. He is teetotal now and never ever experiences it now. I am not suggesting your pains are related to drinking alcohol by the way.

I found some suggestions here: *

Try to incorporate some new things if you don't eat them, e.g., bananas, nectarines, dates, apricots, raisins or grapes, cabbage, broccoli, Oranges, grapefruit, fish, pork, and lamb. Sometimes I think a change is good as we may be lacking some vitamin or mineral. I don't take any supplements but try to listen to what my body needs. Sometimes I feel really tired and am craving red meat for example, so then I will eat a steak. I mainly stick to fish so if I fancy steak, I will make sure I have it.

I hope you manage to sort it out as I know how debilitating these night time pains are and how stressed you can feel next day as a result of poor sleep.

* It suggests a possible cause could be too much potassium. You could try drinking plain water for a while and seeing if this helps?


Ouch. I used to get similar problems after martial arts class. It truly is painful! I got a foam exercise roller, and use it to "roll out" my legs after exercise. That seemed to help: I do some rolling if my legs have had a good workout, and haven't had a painful night for years.

I got a "half sized" roller (a cylinder 18 inches/46 cm long): that does the job & is less troublesome to store than a longer roller.

There's a bit of technique to using a roller properly - a book, such as the Foam Roller Workbook by Dr Karl Knopf would be worth looking at, or web pages such as this:

Hope that helps!

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I've always suffered periods of leg cramps. It just comes and goes, but it is unpleasant so I sympathise. I eat a banana every day now and fingers crossed, it has been better of late.


I get it occasionally too, in my case it seems to be caused by cold feet..


Hi, I realise its an old post but I find taking magnesium helps with cramps I'd suffer in my feet.


I regularly take supplies magnesium tablets and cramps just disappear almost instantly.

1 like

Laying mine on a cold floor really helps


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