Waking up to a muscle cramp in the middle of the night is certainly no way to get a restful night’s sleep. Yet, it is reported that upwards of 60% of adults suffer from this malady at least occasionally. They are painful and frustrating. Typically occurring in the calf muscles, they can also impact the feet or thighs. It is important to know how to combat these cramps, so continue reading to learn how to do exactly that.
If you want to know to overcome the muscle cramps that wake you up in the middle of the night, it is first important to understand how the cramps manifest themselves in the first place. Following are a few things that you should be looking out for.
• Vigorous Workouts – If you work out too hard before you go to sleep, your muscles will be worn out. They will have no outlet to work themselves out as you sleep, so cramps are a likely result. To avoid this, you need to give your muscles time to cool off and recuperate prior to hitting the sack.
• Overactive Thyroid – If you know that your thyroid is a bit on the overactive side, then you should expect some cramps from time to time. This is because such a thyroid has a difficult time absorbing and properly utilizing calcium. Such calcium deficiency leads to cramps and the pain that comes with them.
• Not enough water – Since your muscles are more than 75% water, you need to have plenty of it in your system to keep them functioning properly. This is why so many athletes cramp up during a warm-weather competition.
• Diabetes – Since diabetes leads to a certain level of nerve damage, you will often feel some numbness in your muscles. Over time, this leads to dehydration and cramps.
• Too much alcohol – If you drink too much before you go to bed, you are likely to become dehydrated.
These are just a few of the many reasons why you might be experiencing muscle cramps throughout the night. Understanding which of these may be affecting you can help you to take measures to make the cramping stop once and for all.
What Can I Do to Prevent Nighttime Leg Cramps?
While it is hard to pin point the exact reason why you are experiencing muscle cramps, there are a number of steps that you can take to prevent nighttime leg cramps. These include:
- Take a daily multivitamin.
- Avoid drinking coffee and cola beverages, both of which have been found to lead to dehydration.
- When experiencing a muscle cramp, apply a hot compress to relax and loosen up the muscle.
- Ensure that blankets and sheets are kept loose around your feet to prevent distorting the toes and the angle of your feet as you sleep.
- Drinking plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
- Take a warm shower or bath to relax muscles if you are experiencing cramping over a larger area of the leg.
- Boost the magnesium levels in your diets. Nuts and seeds are both high in magnesium.
- Take the time to stretch out your leg muscles prior to gong to sleep, easing any tension and tightening in the muscles.
- If you wake up experiencing a muscle cramp, get up and walk around, telling you brain that the muscle needs to contract and relax.
- Sports drinks that are high in electrolytes to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Apply an ice or cold back to the muscle during cramping to relieve tension.
- Eat potassium rich foods including bananas, broccoli, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, apricots, cabbage, fish, pork, and lamb.
- If you are experiencing cramping in your legs, massage the muscle in question for approximately 10-15 minutes.