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Cramps at Night Disturb Sleep: Here's How To Treat And Prevent Cramps

Cramps at Night Disturb Sleep: Here's How To Treat And Prevent Cramps

Defined by involuntary or uncontrolled movements of the muscles, cramps can occur at any time, often accompanied by painful contractions. However, it seems that this phenomenon is more common during the night, when the muscles are at rest. A handicap for those who try somehow to preserve the quality of their sleep because although the cramps are generally benign, they do not fail to disturb our rest. Affecting mainly the lower limbs, these can be caused by various factors.

Cramps at Night

Rarely disabling, cramps are still extremely troublesome muscular contractions when they occur. Although they usually last only a few seconds or minutes, they are nonetheless unpleasant, especially during the night.

Many of us tend to associate cramps with physical exertion and therefore do not understand their nocturnal manifestation. However, this phenomenon would be quite logical since at rest, the body undergoes a slowing of the blood circulation and a stagnation of toxins which create an environment favorable to the appearance of muscular contractions.

Where do the cramps come from?

According to Dr. Ducasse, cramps manifest themselves in different ways and can be caused by different factors. Here is what could be the cause:
  • A bad position
  • Cold
  • An intense physical effort in the hours before falling asleep
  • Dehydration
  • Joint problems at the foot or knee
  • A deficiency in certain minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium)
  • Venous insufficiency (poor circulation of blood)
  • Taking certain medications (diuretics, cortisone, irritating laxatives ...)

Dr. Linh, a sports doctor, joins his opinion and sheds a light on the subject. According to him, the cold is a reason that justifies the appearance of muscular tension since it will reduce the vascularization and thus prevent the muscle from warming up to stretch and release the pain. To know that it is essential to carry out the stretching in a progressive way in order to avoid any lesion on the level of the muscle or the tendons.

In addition, cramps can be due to deficiencies and deficits in trace elements, especially in mineral salts when the hydration is insufficient. For this purpose, athletes are strongly encouraged to drink plenty of water during their exercise sessions. Especially since during a physical activity too intense, the muscles can be over-solicited and because of this, prolong the pain, leading to night cramps. These consequences are not exclusive to athletes. A sedentary lifestyle can also have repercussions, affecting the relaxation of the muscles. When you go from inactivity to effort, they may have trouble making that transition. The contraction / relaxation movement will therefore have difficulty operating, resulting in muscle tension that will manifest during the night, because muscle relaxation can not be done optimally.

Night cramps: prevention and solutions
Of course, in view of the factors involved in this phenomenon, the first prevention measures relate to lifestyle, including nutrition and hydration. Foods rich in potassium and / or magnesium such as bananas, dried apricots or lentils are preferred. Drink a minimum of one and a half liters is also strongly recommended, the muscle containing nearly 75% water.

Thus, by fighting against deficiencies and by hydrating enough, it is possible to reduce certain factors responsible for the troublesome muscular contractions. The same goes for physical activity that must be regular to avoid sudden movements or forces for the muscles. This includes warm-up, progressive training, fitness-specific exercises, and appropriate equipment to prevent injury. It is also possible to do some stretching before going to bed to warm the muscles and avoid painful tensions during the night.

-If the cramps still end up manifesting themselves: Release the clenched muscle by trying to stretch it gradually

- If cramping occurs in the calf: Rest your foot on the ground by squeezing and releasing the muscle with your hand. You can massage from the bottom up to stimulate blood circulation and relieve pain

- If cramping occurs in the thigh or foot: Step on a cold floor to relieve pain

- If cramps continue to persist during the night: Medical advice will be needed to determine the exact cause.