When to see a doctor

By Mayo Clinic Staff

For most people, night leg cramps are just a bother — something that jerks them awake sometimes. But some people who have them might need to see a health care provider.

Seek medical care right away if you have:

  • Severe cramping that continues.
  • Night leg cramps after coming into contact with a toxin, such as lead.

Schedule an office visit if you:

  • Are tired during the day because leg cramps interrupt your sleep.
  • Have muscle weakness and muscle wasting with leg cramps.


To help prevent night leg cramps, try to:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, but limit alcohol and caffeine.
  • Stretch leg muscles or ride a stationary bicycle for a few minutes before bedtime.
  • Loosen the sheets and covers at the foot of the bed.

To relieve night leg cramps, try to:

  • Stretch the leg and flex the foot up toward the face.
  • Massage the muscle with ice.
  • Walk or shake the leg.
  • Take a hot shower and point the water at the cramped muscle, or soak in a warm bath.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips, current health topics, and expertise on managing health. Click here for an email preview.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

March 02, 2023