Nocturnal leg cramps or night leg cramps are painful muscle spasms or contractions that usually happen during the sleep, mostly in people over the age of 50.
In most cases, the pain appears in the lower leg, but the thighs and feet may also be affected.
These muscle cramps cause intense, sharp pain which can wake you up and can last for several seconds to several minutes. Even after the pain is gone, the soreness can be felt until the next morning.
Leg cramps vs. restless leg syndrome
It is important to understand the difference between these two, as they both appear during the sleep, but are not the same thing. Restless legs syndrome is a neurological disorder, manifested by an uncontrollable and overwhelming urge to move the legs, and when you move them, you feel a relief. This is not the case with the night leg cramps.
Leg cramps can be caused by:
- Improper sitting posture
- Sitting for a longer period of time
- The use of some medications
- Certain exercises
- Standing on concrete floors
- The following tips can be of great help in the prevention and treatment of leg cramps:
- Place a heating pad on the painful areas
- Consume more magnesium and potassium
- Do some exercises in water to build the leg muscles
- Take horse chestnut to improve circulation in the legs
- Wear ergonomic shoes
- Take a warm bath before going to sleep
- Stretch your legs before going to sleep
Furthermore, here is how to solve the problem with muscle spasms during sleep:
- Sit on the floor and put the legs in front of you. Then, bend the feet and point the toes toward your knees. Gently pull the feet to stretch the legs better.
- Slowly get up, slightly turn around, and shake the legs to stimulate the blood flow.
- Rub the area with circular motions.
- To soothe the discomfort, you should consume a tablespoon of yellow mustard.