Why Legs Cramp at Night and How to Stop This

Leg night cramps or nocturnal cramps are pain in sleep hours. This wakes people up and happens after inactivity. It is common in calf, also thigh, feet and such. This can last from seconds to minutes. After this passes, sore muscles will linger and until the next day even. Men and women have this but mostly people older than 50.

Night leg cramps is not restless leg syndrome

Nocturnal cramps and RLS are both at night, but are different. Many things make them different like:

  • RLS has no pain and cramps
  • RLS is discomfort in legs
  • RLS makes no need to move legs, and nocturnal cramps limit movements
  • Moving in RLS gives relief, and cramps block moves

Risk factors and causes of leg night cramps

The cause is not known yet, but causes are:

  • Sitting for long time
  • Extended leg muscles
  • Working on concrete floors
  • Bad sitting
  • Alcoholism
  • Pregnancy
  • Dehydration
  • Parkinson’s
  • Neuromuscular issues
  • Flat feet
  • Endocrine issues
  • Diabetes
  • Statins, diuretics, beta meds

Treating and prevention

Treating this always depends. If the cramp is from dehydration, get more water. Other methods are:

  • Horse chestnut for better blood flow
  • Relaxing bath before sleep
  • Heat pad
  • Acupuncture to loosen muscles
  • More Mg and potassium
  • Stretching legs before sleep
  • Water workouts
  • Ergonomic shoes

What to do next

When this happens, you will feel paralyzed. Handle this properly and be less sore after that.

  • When you sit down on floor, extend legs in the front. Flex feet and ankles, point the toes and tug the feet for better stretch
  • Get up slow and walk around
  • Massage the area in circle moves
  • Have sheets and blankets that are loose
  • Have spoon mustard


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