Suffering from Painful Leg Cramps during Sleep? Natural Tips to Relieve Cramps
Do you suffer from excruciating leg cramps during sleep? Do the cramps disturb your sleep and leave you weary when it’s morning?
Leg cramps are much more common than we realise. Most of us have experienced painful leg cramps, especially during pregnancy. Muscle cramps usually occur when a muscle involuntarily contracts and is unable to relax. It stays in the tight, constricted position and causes pain. We’ve all experienced painful leg cramps on the underside of the leg; the calf area. The pain can be severe and the cramps may linger without relief. The muscles in our calf area behind the knee are particularly vulnerable to night cramps.
How are Leg Cramps Caused?
Muscle cramps usually occur in muscles that we are unable to directly control. Cramps usually begin as a spasm that refuses to resolve itself. Leg cramps may be caused due to a number of reasons including lack of iron and calcium, poor posture or poor muscle health. Unsuitable furniture and poor posture can also cause cramps in the legs as your muscles are tight and coiled all day.
Experts suggest that night leg cramps occur because of our natural position of sleep. Most of us tend to sleep with our knees slightly bent and our toes pointing downwards. This specific foot and knee position tends to make the calf muscle shorter than usual and this leads to cramps.
In addition, cramps can also be aggravated by certain nervous conditions and an underactive thyroid gland.
Treatments for Leg Cramps
The best way to ease a leg cramp is to gently massage your muscles or stretch the leg. You can also practise leg stretches several times in a day in order to keep your leg muscles relaxed.
Here are some suggestions to minimize leg cramps:
- Use a pillow to raise your legs especially under the calf area
- Place blankets or rugs at the bottom of the bed to avoid downward pointing of your foot and toes
- Try applying a hot water compress to the area to ease tight muscles
- Increase intake of potassium. Fruits including bananas, dates and prunes are excellent sources of potassium
You may also want to increase water intake as lack of hydration may cause stiffness in muscles. Opt for loose, comfortable duvets and rugs; tight blankets will force you to curl up and point your legs downwards. Yoga stretches can help strengthen your leg muscles and reduce the risk of frequent leg cramps.