What are Leg Cramps at Night?
Nocturnal leg cramps mainly are muscle contractions which take place while an individual is sleeping. These spasms are completely involuntary and are more common for older people, especially those who are over 60. Yet, exact causes of this condition are not clear, making it a bit of a mystery. What we know is that nocturnal cramps may be indicators of something more serious, like a disease.
Possible Causes of Nocturnal Leg Cramps
One of the common causes of this condition is called hyponatremia. Basically, it's a lack of sodium in one's body, especially blood. When sodium, which is involved in many important processes in our body, including regulating fluid levels and blood pressure as well as moving molecules in and out of muscles cells, has its levels decreased in our body, water gets into our cells in order to compensate for this loss. However, this imbalance of sodium results in the onset of muscle cramps and a feeling of weakness and restlessness affecting our legs. One of the ways of dealing with this problem involves consuming drinks rich with electrolytes. If this proves to be in vain, seeking medical help may be necessary.
Speaking of electrolytes, a cause of their deficiency in our body, causing the cramps and other leg problems at night, may be dehydration. Namely, our body needs water in order to function correctly. Once deprived of sufficient amounts of water, our body cannot function correctly since, among other things, the electrolyte levels are too low. Then, leg cramps are quite possible. Dehydration, when neglected for long time, can have catastrophic influence on one's health. Therefore, it is a dire situation needing to be taken care of.
Next, excessive stressing of the leg muscles, combined with previous leg and body inactivity may easily lead to the development of the restless leg syndrome, which manifests through prominent cramping and nervousness felt in the legs, usually during the night. Alternatively, heart problems, and/or diabetes may be behind this condition too.
Finally, certain medications may lead to the deficiencies mentioned above, causing these nocturnal cramps.
Treating these cramps is achieved through treating their causes. Therefore, you should be careful about your lifestyle, staying physically active, well hydrated and not consuming beverages or food which dehydrate you without compensating for your losses. Finally, if a certain medical condition is causing you these problems, you are to deal with it first in order to stop these painful nocturnal cramps in legs.