How to deal with nighttime leg cramps
Many of us have experienced this: you’re exhausted after a long day and all you want to do is sleep but a painful leg cramp wakes you up in the middle of the night. But what actually causes these cramps? There are a variety of reasons and here we’ll deal with the most common and give you some tips on how you can prevent this rude awakening from ruining a good night’s sleep…
1. You’re cold at night
This is really a bit of a dilemma because it’s actually better for your sleep cycles if the room isn’t too warm. The best thing to do is leave a window slightly open (but of course not when it’s freezing cold outside) and make sure that your legs are kept warm under the covers. It’s unclear why cold legs cause cramps but some theories suggest that our muscles contract when cold, which constricts the blood flow and results in cramps.
Regular exercise is crucial for good health and even though we might get sore muscles after working out too hard, this physical activity makes our muscles stronger. Generally speaking, strong muscles are less susceptible to cramps — but don’t forget to stretch thoroughly before and after to keep them from seizing up!
3. Lack of water
If your body is dehydrated, it tends to cramp up. And since your legs have some of your body’s largest muscles, they’re particularly susceptible. If you sweat from exercise and don’t drink enough water, your muscles will cramp up. If you sweat a lot, you should also make sure to consume the electrolytes that are a common ingredient in sports drinks.
4. Standing the whole day
People who have jobs that require them to stand all day are particularly at risk of leg cramps because their legs are exposed to constant stress. And if you have to wear shoes with high heels, you’re definitely going to feel it in your legs at some point. In this case it helps to take regular breaks and sit down for a while. Avoiding heels is also a good idea if possible.
5. Eat a banana
Competitive athletes swear by this natural kick. Bananas have a lot of magnesium which supports the development of muscle and contributes to relaxing your body after exercise. And they’re delicious too!
6. A bar of soap
This trick might sound a little mysterious at first but it really works. Try putting a bar of soap between your bed sheets and the mattress. It sounds totally unbelievable, but thousands swear that it really helps with preventing leg cramps while you sleep.
7. A warm shower
This fits in the same category as warming up before exercising. If your muscles are warm, the blood vessels expand and more blood and oxygen can be transported to them. This is why a hot bath or shower can help combat cramps.
8. Pickle juice
Many people will think it’s disgusting at first, but the juice from pickles is really good for you. The reason lies in the electrolytes — the juice from pickles is full of them. The mixture of salt, vinegar and sugar is ideal for boosting your electrolytes, which in turn prevents cramps.
Wow, the soap thing sounds a bit strange, but why not? Even if it doesn’t help with your cramps, it’ll at least keep your bedsheets smelling good. Try out some of these tips and chances are your nighttime leg cramps will soon be a thing of the past.