Q. I am a nurse and I have “secretly” used soap under the sheets of patients who struggle with restless leg syndrome (RLS). They all tell me the only nights that they get sleep and wake up feeling rested is when I am on duty. The other nights they are miserable and their sleeping meds don't work.

I use soap under my sheets at home too, and I don't wake up with a charley horse or pain any more like I used to. I don't know why or how soap works against leg cramps or RLS. I'm just glad it does.

A. We too cannot explain why a simple bar of soap could help. One reader wrote: “My husband has suffered with horrible leg cramps for years. They often woke him up three or four times a night. He tried every thing imaginable without any relief.

“I was afraid he would think I was crazy to recommend soap, but he said he would try anything if there was a chance it would help. We have been using the soap for about a year and it is a miracle for us.

“When the doctor wanted to know why my husband wasn’t complaining about leg cramps anymore we mentioned the soap. I know the doctor thought we were nuts, but we don’t care. Until the soap, my husband hadn’t slept a full night without leg cramps for 10 years.”

Not everyone benefits from soap under the bottom sheet, but there are other options. Some people find that pickle juice, yellow mustard, magnesium supplements or stretching can help. For more details on these and other remedies for leg cramps and restless legs we offer our Guide to Leg Pain.

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  1. WRJ
    Reply

    Concerning the soap treatment for charley horses and associative leg pains,
    my wife and I have been using this for years. This application has almost totally eliminated the pains. It really works!

  2. Glenn M.
    Reply

    Leg cramps and Restless Leg Syndrome are two completely different conditions. It would be helpful if contributors to this forum would determine which condition they are discussing. RLS is most often described as an irresistible urge to move ones legs (most sensible at specific joints not just limited to the legs and is usually limited to one side of the body). This is not painful. It is most often treated by dopamine agonists that stimulate dopamine secretion not occurring on its own. This is sometimes related to abnormal iron metabolism, but not always.
    Leg cramps are painful and are treated with quinine and other remedies.

  3. logcabiny
    Reply

    I was bothered by RLS since childhood. It has greatly diminished (almost totally gone) since about 2-3 months after I started on daily doses of Co-Q10 in the range of 200-400mg every night. The relief has lasted for 8 years to date.

  4. susan s.
    Reply

    So, do you have to use a big bar of soap or will the hotel/hospital size work just as well?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE:
    Hospital or hotel soap should work…if it works at all. you will also find “Bed Soap” on our home page that is larger and flatter than typical bar soap.

  5. Jane M
    Reply

    where do you put the soap? Do you put a bar under the bottom sheet in any particular place?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: THE BAR OF SOAP GOES UNDER THE BOTTOM SHEET IN THE VICINITY YOUR LEGS WILL BE WHEN YOU LIE DOWN. LEGS ON TOP OF SHEET, SOAP UNDERNEATH

  6. PLH
    Reply

    where do you place the soap under the sheets?I assume it must be in a particular place right? My mother is bothered with this.

  7. Bev
    Reply

    My leg cramps vanished when I started on V8 juice. I previously tried the soap and it worked for a while and the leg cramps came back. When I first started drinking the V8 juice when I missed a night I would almost always get a cramp. Now that I have been on it for months I find missing a night or two doesn’t bring back the leg cramps. The low sodium V8 was recommended but since I did not like the taste I went with the regular V8.

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