Muscle cramps are strong, painful contractions which come on suddenly and last for a few seconds to minutes. Muscle cramps during sleep or nocturnal leg cramps, are rather painful; they are involuntary spasms of muscles of your legs, usually occurring when you’re in bed.
They normally involve calf muscles; however, muscles in the thighs of feet may go in to spasms as well.
Common causes of muscle cramps in sleep include:
- Excessive exercising
- Overuse or injury to the leg muscles.
- Exposure to cold temperatures.
- Insufficient amounts of calcium and potassium in the body.
- Thyroid anomalies – hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
- If you stand on hard surfaces for a protracted period of time.
- Sitting in one position for very long, or placing the legs in an awkward position whilst sleeping.
- Use of certain drugs such as – diuretics, statins, contraceptives, antipsychotics, and steroids.
- Diabetics also complain of night time leg cramps.
- Kidney disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Liver cirrhosis
- Spinal stenosis
- Parkinson’s disease
Natural Remedies For Muscle Cramps In Legs
In case your night time cramps are episodic and occur occasionally, it may be only due to overexertion and fatigue and will pass off.
Investigations and tests will reveal the exact cause and your doctor will start your treatment. Work with your doctor regarding the medications and preventing aids which will help avoid the leg cramps.
- Night time leg cramps strike just when you are about to fall asleep or when about to wake up. To avoid them, stretch your legs before you climb under the covers.
- Wear shoes that provide good support.
- Drink plenty of fluids; make sure you drink 2 to 3 liters daily and stay well hydrated.
- Stretch the calf muscles and massage every night. Talk to your physiotherapist and learn simple stretches that will benefit you. Also, gently massage the legs using essential oils. Oils such as clove, nutmeg and lavender have been used extensively to manage spasms, cramps and discomforts.
- Do not exercise close to bedtime and also confer with your trainer / gym instructor if you feel the spasms come on after a rigorous exercise routine; try to modify your workout session.
- Taking a warm bath before getting in to bed helps to relax the muscles and prevents strong, painful contractions. A heating pad placed on the muscle also helps.
- Every night soak your feet in a bucket full of warm water to which Epsom salts have been added.
- You could also talk to your health care provider and take a painkiller and muscle relaxant; it affords relief.
- When your health care provider prescribes some medicines for the cramps, you should take it accurately as prescribed to you. Consult him in case you experience any side effects after taking the medicine.
- Furthermore, your doctor may prescribe multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplement; in case there is a deficiency of calcium, magnesium, iron or vitamin B complex in your body, these will reinstate the inadequate nutrients and ward off cramps.
- Thyroid anomalies, kidneys disorders, diabetes mellitus and neuropathies need to be managed successfully by your physician to keep the spasms under control.