Why do (my) leg cramps always happen at night?

I am getting the most unbelievable leg cramps. They start in the evening often if i am lying stretched out on the sofa and go on through the night. Last night they started early so I had a banana and took my hot water bottles to bed. At midnight when I was in agony and had already hopped out of bed several times to stand on the floor to straighten my leg out, I went downstairs and cut a slice of bread and buttered it with salty butter to see if that would help. It didn't so I was in and out of bed like a yoyo trying to get rid of the pain. This morning when I got up the muscles in my leg were still really painful.

Any idea why I don't get cramp during the day and it tends to happen as soon as I lie down?

Thanks, Liz

12 Replies

  • Leg cramps at night, and not during the day, are very very common, more so in older people. GPs will often run routine blood tests but in many cases no underlying cause is found. The usual treatment is quinine sulphate tablets, 200mg or 300mg each evening.

  • Hi Liz,

    I've been suffering with that lately too - when I goggled I found such a thing called "night cramps". I saw a nutritionist and she told me to take magnesium at night. From my understanding levothyroxine may cause a depletion of magnesium. I've started taking Viridian brand supplement of calcium, magnesium with zinc. However, please look into it further before taking any advice from me as I'm not a hundred percent sure of this and have only just started the supplements so don't have the results yet either.

    All the best.

  • Hi May just be your thyroid. More likely low Vit D, ,if low, corrected calcium test before treatment.It can be low sodium ( U`s and E`s) kidney function. Should not be too high but never under range as an electrolyte. The cramps are very bad from that., especially at night, no food then! Magnesium in food is good but never take it in tablets except on a script with weekly blood tests, it is an electrolyte , must be in range and has a tiny range.

    Best wishes,


  • Thanks everyone, I will up my salt intake a bit- i have never liked salty food and dont often add salt to food - if we eat out or have a ready meal I usually waken up really thirsty - will speak to my doctor about it soon.

    The cramp is so painful and totally disturbs my sleep, I was up leaping about from 2.00 am to about 4.30 so annoying and so painful.


  • Hi probably is salt then, however, you only want it just in range, as not good for the body, low sodium effects the BP , sometimes makes it too low, of course, reverse too as well. ideally never use salt for cooking but Ok to add a little, and good to, when eating food.

    Best wishes,


  • Probably is salt - wonder why it has got so much worse recently - since I started levo really - I haven't been cutting down for health reasons or anything like that, even as a child I never liked salty food - my mother used to salt everything to within an inch of its life when she was alive - we have even seen her salt a curry! She obviously believed in 'salt first, taste later' - suppose she was used to it, then when she got older she she used to do it to annoy my ultra health conscious brother and his wife, she lasted until she was 87 though so it couldnt have done her much harm.

  • Funnily enough, I have a friend who has just started on T3, after blood test etc, and she has suddenly found the same problem too. Since I told her She cannot take any T4, but normally, if lucky the T4 should convert in the body to FT3, it often does not ,which is why a lot of us need T3 too., it has been better. make sure all your thyroid bloods are up to date, ie TSH, T4 and Free T3, FT3 and t4 should be in range.I have never read of a connection , but too much of a coincidence.I dscovered all this years ago in myself, now both connections ie BP and cramps are well known.


  • Use a good quality sea salt, not table salt. It's been stripped of minerals, bleached and has added chemicals to prevent it from clumping together.

    Good luck x

  • I have just the thing at home - got it in France last year at a salt farm but it is still in its unopened bag because we hardly ever use it, tend to use pepper or herbs instead. Must get it out and start using it.


  • Sounds great! x

  • Hi, I get the awful night cramps too but for the last few weeks have been applying magnesium oil (easily obtainable online or made up with 50% magnesium flakes and 50% water) to my skin once a day, usually my legs and have seen a vast improvement. Magnesium oil applied to the skin is so much better absorbed than tablets and need only be on the skin for half an hour then it can be washed off. Valerie

  • I agree with magnesium deficiency. For years I took a 500 mg calcium/magnesium pill before bed. If you take your levo at night, I suppose you could just make that a magnesium pill. I think you will notice it.

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