Purpose: To evaluate the impact of nocturnal calf cramping (a condition that affects one in two people over 60 years of age) on quality of sleep and health-related quality of life.
Methods: Eighty adults who experienced nocturnal calf cramp at least once per week and eighty age- and sex-matched controls who never experienced nocturnal cramp were recruited from the Greater Newcastle and Central Coast regions of New South Wales, Australia. All participants completed the SF-36v2 and the Medical Outcomes Study Sleep Survey (MOS-SS).
Results: People who experienced nocturnal muscle cramps reported more sleep disturbance (p < 0.001), less adequate sleep (p = 0.001), less quantity of sleep (p = 0.02) and more snoring (p = 0.03). Both sleep problem summary indices for the MOS-SS identified people who experienced nocturnal muscle cramp as having more sleep problems than the controls. People who experienced nocturnal muscle cramps had lower health-related quality of life for the SF-36 domains role physical (p = 0.007), bodily pain (p = 0.003) and general health (p = 0.02). SF-36 domains that primarily relate to mental health were not significantly different between groups. The impact of nocturnal calf cramps on health-related quality of life was largely explained by their negative impact on quality of sleep.
Conclusions: Nocturnal calf muscle cramps are associated with substantially reduced quality of sleep and reduced physical aspects of health-related quality of life.