Sleep Education

American Academy of Sleep Medicine 

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Sleep Leg Cramps - Diagnosis & Treatment


Talk with a family doctor about your painful leg cramps. Your doctor may be able to help you find simple ways to relieve the pain and deal with the problem. You may need to see a sleep specialist if the leg cramps continue to cause severe sleep problems that affect your daily life.

First, the doctor will need to know when the leg cramps started. He will also want to know what else has been going on in your life. You should complete a sleep diary for two weeks. This will give the doctor clues as to what might be causing your problems. You can also rate your sleep with the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. This will help show how your sleep is affecting your daily life. The doctor will need to know your complete medical history. Be sure to inform him of any past or present drug and medication use. Also tell him if you have ever had any other sleep disorder.

Doctors do not need any tests to treat most patients with leg cramps. He or she may test your blood in the lab if it is suspected that you might have a related medical problem.


Effective treatments for sleep related leg cramps still have not been developed. A daily exercise program that involves stretching of the leg muscles may be the best way for you to prevent and relieve leg cramps.