When we move, our muscles contract and these contractions of the muscles enable us to perform any physical movement. Muscle cramps occur when the muscle or group of muscles involuntarily contracts suddenly. Even though any muscle in our body can be cramped, we mostly experience leg cramps. Leg cramps are popularly known as Charley horse cramps. When the muscles in the calf, quadriceps, or hamstring, as well as the small muscles in the feet, contract violently, the leg cramps occur.
Leg cramps in bed
Night leg cramps or leg cramps in bed is the muscle cramping that occurs when we are resting at night. In the majority of cases, thigh muscle cramps, as well as feet and calf muscle cramps, occur during the night and they can last from several seconds to several minutes. The pain that appears with every muscle cramp is sharp and severe, and it usually wakes the person from his/her sleep and even when the cramp ends, the soreness in the muscle stays for a while. Although night leg cramps may occur in every person, elderly women are among those who are the most prone to experience it frequently.
Causes of leg cramps in bed
The leg cramp is a condition that has no a medical cause, but there are several potential explanations why this muscle disorder occurs. There is a theory that states that the muscle is cramped when it is forced to contract after being in a shortened position. The muscles in the legs, especially in the calves, are in the shortened position when we bend our legs with the knees pointing downwards. In this position, the muscles in the legs may cause cramps.
Furthermore, it is considered that leg cramps in bed may be induced by several conditions like pregnancy, excessive drinking of alcohol and low thyroid gland. Dehydration, some nerve disorder and muscle overuse may also be responsible for the incidence of nigh leg cramps. When we are lying or sitting in one position for a long period of time, the blood flow to legs may be limited and as a consequence, the leg cramps may occur.
In addition to all the above mentioned causes, it is also regarded that the people who have low levels of certain minerals in their body are more susceptible to experience night leg cramps very frequently. Therefore, it is recommended to eat foods high in potassium, magnesium and calcium in order to reduce the risk of night leg cramps.