January 18, 2012
Sometimes, while asleep, we feel some painful muscle contractions in our legs that wake us up in the middle of the night. It’s a distressing condition, and we feel disturbed. If you have yet to experience leg cramps during sleep, then this may sound odd to you. However, this is just normal. In fact, a number of people suffer leg cramps almost every night. And it frequently occurs due to infrequent strain, when muscles are being used whilst in a resting position
How does this happen?
It’s an obvious truth that we, while asleep, are unaware of our changing positions. When we turn to an uncomfortable position for the calf muscles, there will be possible tension and shortening of the muscle, which makes our legs susceptible to cramps. This stimulates the tendon receptors and causes the calf muscles to contract. In addition, there will be an obstructed blood flow, nerve compression and damaged muscles.
What are other possible causes of night cramps?
Another stimulant of unwanted cramps is the depletion of certain nutrients that are essential to the body. When a person’s body is dehydrated of water or is lacking in magnesium, the possibility of leg cramps becomes increasingly higher. Magnesium is the electrolyte that is needed to make muscles relax.
Other reasons include the over-exertion of muscles (too much exercise without cooling down), and the imbalance of sodium or potassium level in the body, which results to alter the balance of salts in the bloodstream. Also, an untreated underactive thyroid gland, and a narrowing of the leg arteries, which causes poor circulation, can result to the cramping of legs in the night. Frequent drinkers of alcohol are warned too, for an excess of drinking might lead to the same misfortune.
How do we prevent this?
You can often prevent night cramps by exhausting the stretch reflex before you go to bed. Stretch your calf muscles with wall pushups. Another suggestion is to apply a heating pad for 10 minutes on different part of the legs before you go to sleep.
To resolve dehydration and shortage of magnesium in the body, drink plenty of water or fluids. Take magnesium supplements. To get potassium, gobbling on bananas and orange juice will be helpful.
If you feel that your leg muscle cramps are getting severe, it’s best to talk with your doctor. These may be symptoms of another problem.