Can A Bar Of Soap Really Help You Get A Better Night's Sleep?

You've been having a lot of trouble sleeping at night. Your legs have been cramping up due to a new workout routine. According to Cleveland Clinic, leg cramps at night are typically caused by factors like your nervous system, intense exercise, or stress. You might also be an individual who suffers from restless leg syndrome (RLS). RLS is more than just a cramp; it's a need to move your legs. It could feel like a pain in your legs or a constant need to move your legs. The only cure for the uncomfortable feeling is to fidget. This condition can affect sleep at night as you move around on the bed. 

You can find several leg cramp and RLS treatments through a simple Google search. You might have even seen the home remedy on TikTok to put a bar of soap under your sheet at night. While there is very little research on putting a bar of soap under your sheet to give you a better night's sleep, it won't do any harm in trying it. We'll help expand your home remedy knowledge by discussing the proper placement of the soap as well as theories on why it might work for you.

How to use a bar of soap to get a better night's sleep

Cramping and RLS don't only affect your sleep but also the sleep of anyone that's sleeping next to you — meaning it can make your night miserable all the way around. When you've tried almost every method you can think of, try a home remedy that many people have had success with. All it takes is a bar of soap under your sheet.

On TikTok, meaganonline recommends using classic Irish Spring soap. But other users of this hack have also tried Ivory, Imperial Leather, and lavender-scented soaps successfully (per Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases). It was also suggested to stay away from Dial or Dove soap (per Live Science). 

You'll first want to unwrap the soap since it won't be much help inside the package. It will then be placed at the foot of your bed under the fitted sheet. It doesn't matter where, as long as it's at or near your feet. You might want to lay down a piece of parchment or wax paper to keep it from leaving soap residue on the mattress. Then it's time to hit the hay.

The reason that soap might give you sounder sleep

It might seem silly to place a soap bar under the sheet in your bed, but some people swear that it helps them to sleep sounder. And there might be a bit of research behind why this remedy works for some people who are struggling with conditions like RLS or muscle cramps.

It's been shown that lavender oil can be beneficial when people massage it into their legs for RLS, according to 2015 research in Nursing and Midwifery Studies. The results of the study showed that lavender aromatherapy massage is helpful in calming patients. Therefore, people that place lavender-scented soaps under their sheets may be getting the benefits of lavender in calming the symptoms of their legs.

The other theory for why some people may have success with soap at the foot of their beds comes down to the chemical makeup of the soap. Most traditional soaps that you can buy at the store include magnesium. A study in 2023 in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies showed that magnesium helped alleviate the symptoms of those with RLS. While these patients were taking a magnesium supplement, there might be something to the magnesium of the soap being absorbed through your feet while you sleep. 

Magnesium is also often used as a remedy for muscle cramps due to the role it plays in muscle contraction. However, a 2021 review published in the Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions, found that the evidence in its favor was "conflicting" and "not reliable." Leg cramps are different from restless leg syndrome, which can be a frustrating and debilitating condition, but there isn't any harm in trying a bar of soap under your sheet for this condition if it helps.

It could also just be a placebo effect. However, many do swear by this remedy.

Other ways to deal with RLS and muscle cramps

It's unknown why soap works for some and not for others. The Annals of Rheumatic Diseases noted that patients feel renewed effects after getting a new bar or scraping off the top, leaving some to believe the scent helps. Regardless of why or how it works, medical practitioners agree that, given the lack of harm, using soap under your sheet is worth a try.

In addition to trying the soap remedy, changing your diet and getting enough water can also be helpful (via Healthline). For example, you'll want to limit foods or beverages — like those containing caffeine — that can make it hard for you to sleep. It's also recommended to stop smoking and get enough exercise. Research in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that yoga helped alleviate the severity of symptoms and pain from restless legs. It also helped to reduce stress. Kim Gladden, M.D., told Good Housekeeping, "If you are experiencing cramping, it's important to look at your hydration first. You want to make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day."