Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night due to a sudden calf cramp? Find out why you get cramps not only when running a marathon, but also when you're comfortably lying in bed!
Why do you get them at night and what can you do to avoid them?
What are cramps?
Cramps are an involuntary contraction of a muscle in the body, often leg muscles, and can be localized on a single muscle or a whole muscle group such as the calf or thigh.
At least once in life, everyone has experienced the acute and sudden pain triggered by a cramp but, except in cases of particular medical conditions, they usually happen after a prolonged physical effort, as the practice of any type of sports activity.
But then, why do you happen to wake up in the middle of the night with a cramp in your leg?
Nocturnal cramps, what are the possible causes?
- First of all dehydration and the consequent lack of minerals: especially in the summer make sure you keep yourself hydrated also to avoid disturbing episodes such as nocturnal cramps.
- The sudden lack of potassium and magnesium, essential for the correct contraction of muscles, triggers these involuntary and very painful reactions.
- For the same reason wrong eating habits, perhaps linked to an inadequate diet, could cause nocturnal cramps, in addition to other damages to your body.
- Even illnesses such as anemia and diabetes can cause nocturnal cramps, as well as psychosomatic disorders: in fact, anxiety and stress can trigger episodes of hyperventilation resulting in poor oxygenation of muscles.
- Finally, also pregnancy can set off disorders such as nocturnal cramps due to imbalances in the intake of mineral salts and also due to excessive tiredness.
What should we do if we wake up in the middle of the night with a leg cramp?
Don’t panic: even if the awakening isn’t so great, just act as usual, stretching and massaging the affected area, you will feel the pain disappear within a few minutes.
What are the remedies for preventing nocturnal cramps?
Hydrate! Especially in summer we often happen to drink less than necessary and nocturnal cramps are a clear symptom. However, we advise you not to fill up on water before bedtime as you might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night not because of a cramp but for a run to the bathroom!
Furthermore, you can help yourself with simple stretching exercises in the evening before going to bed!