There appears to be enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that putting a bar of soap under your bed sheet will prevent you from having nighttime leg cramps. Sounds crazy, of course, but what have you got to lose, especially if it works and eliminates the painful cramps, allowing you to sleep peacefully. You may be a skeptic but if your leg cramps are bad enough that they are waking you up at night, grab a bar of soap and try this technique.
One theory is that bar soap has sodium in it, including sodium chloride—which is salt—just as Gator Aid does. Gator Aid consumption helps curb cramps. According to Healthdiaries.com, the electrolytes from the sodium in the soap may in fact enter your skin through the bottom of your feet. The increase in electrolytes in your body may reduce the incidence of cramping. Electrolytes can be lost through sweating or too much urination, which occurs if you take water pills (diuretics.)
Another theory is that the soap absorbs excess C02 that is in our body. Too much C02 may cause our muscles to cramp.
Dr. Peter H. Gott, author of “Live Longer, Live Better,” is a general internist who has been practicing in Connecticut for more than 40 years. He writes a daily column that is syndicated by the Newspaper Enterprise Association. He recommends using the soap technique although he doesn’t know how it works; only that it does. Don’t use Dove or Dial, according to Dr. Gott. Put the bar of soap under the bottom sheet in the area where your legs and feet will be resting.
Some individuals who have successfully tried this technique note that the soap has to be Ivory whereas others say it doesn’t matter what kind you use. The bar of soap should be replaced once a month. Others recommend that you actually rub the soap on your legs before going to bed to prevent cramps. Some choose to sleep with the soap under their pillow if they are having aches and pains in the upper area of their body. There are claims that the soap method also helps quell rheumatoid arthritis pains. Those suffering from restless leg syndrome have also found relief by using this technique, notes Dr. Gott.
It could be that the soap approach simply has a placebo effect, meaning if you believe in the soap method and think it is going to work, that’s what makes it work. Even if it is placebo effect, what’s wrong with that? Getting rid of your cramps was the hoped for outcome, and if you’ve achieved that who cares how crazy the soap idea seems.