Reasons Why Your Legs Cramp Up At Night and How to Fix It

Muscle spasms are a common condition among both regular adults and athletes. Muscle spasms occur for a number of reasons, including excessive stress and injury. However, when it comes to night cramping, one of the leading side-effects is certainly sleep deprivation.

Night cramps characterize with sharp pain and numbness in the muscles, mostly in the legs. These leg cramps usually happen as a result of improper sleep or physical inactivity.

Below, read everything on night muscle cramps, their causes and how to get rid of them.

Restless Leg Syndrome vs. Nocturnal Cramps

While many consider these two similar, the conditions are actually very different. Yes, both a restless leg syndrome and nocturnal cramps interfere with proper sleep. However, restless leg syndrome is a more uncomfortable and painful condition. Typically, restless leg syndrome can be prevented by moving the legs around until the muscles relax.

On the other hand, nocturnal leg cramps are more complicated and don’t allow the muscle to relax at all.

Nocturnal Leg Cramps vs. a Charley Horse

A Charlie horse represents an aching spasm of the muscles, any muscles to be exact. When happening in the leg or calf, Charley horses prevent normal sleep and cause additional pain, even long after the cramp ceases.

What are the Main Causes of Nocturnal Leg Cramps?

To make sure you have a proper diagnosis (you should still see a doctor, though), here are the main 9 triggers of nocturnal leg cramps.

  1. Overworking the Muscles

    Nocturnal leg cramps often happen due to an increased or exaggerated physical activity. To avoid this, it is best to train in tune with your body, and listen to what it’s saying. If you feel like your workout is going overboard, taking a milder approach might save you nocturnal cramps.

  2. Meds

    Some meds, even if over-the-counter, can lead to nocturnal leg cramps. Some of the pills which can cause this condition include diuretics, birth control, naproxen, statins, and asthma meds. To prevent this, discuss the problem with your doctor to find a more suitable med therapy for you.

  3. Limited Physical Movement

    Sitting for too long is one of the greatest causes of nocturnal leg cramps. The best way to prevent this and cramping is to stay physically active for as much as possible. Also, move around at work, instead of remaining ‘glued’ to your chair for the entire day.

  4. Poor Posture

    If you don’t hold your body upright, you can easily suffer nocturnal leg cramps. The same goes for proper sitting and walking, so make sure you do yoga to keep your body in shape.

  5. Hormonal Imbalance

    Hormones can lead to many diseases aside from nocturnal leg cramps, including diabetes and thyroid issues. If you want to make sure your cramps are toned down, check your hormones and keep an eye on your diet.

  6. Pregnancy

    Nocturnal leg cramps can also be a side-effects of pregnancy. Moms who are experiencing nocturnal leg cramps should keep an eye on their diet. Namely, taking plenty of magnesium, vitamin B and E can easily help prevent nocturnal cramps in the legs.

  7. Bloodstream problems

    If you are suffering nocturnal leg spasms, the reason might be a poor blood flow. At the same time, dehydration can also lead to painful cramps in the legs, and especially at night. The best way to avoid this is to check your blood and drink plenty of fluids.

  8. Weight

    Excessive weight puts extra burden on the legs, which is why nocturnal spasms happen. By maintaining your weight, you will not only lose bedtime cramps but will also increase your over quality of life.

  9. Painful Nerve

    If you are suffering from a compressed nerve, it can easily lead to nighttime muscle spasms. To prevent a pinched nerve, you should get regular massages and possibly an MRI scan to determine the severity of this issue.

Disclaimer: All information provided on this website is not an alternative to a medical diagnosis or treatments, but is merely informative to the audience. In case you are suffering a medical condition or are taking prescribed meds, consult your medical doctor first before making an individual health decision. The provided website content should not be considered a medical guideline, therefore make sure you seek appropriate medical advice and treatment when and if necessary.



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