The experience of waking up at night due to cramps in the legs is common. According to a study published in 2012 in the American Journal of Justice, up to 60 percent of adults experienced mice on their legs at night. Muscle cramps in the legs, commonly referred to as “ratches,” mean rapid muscle contraction and can last from seconds to minutes. It may appear on the back of the thigh, but it usually occurs on the calves and feet. It is generally known to experience it more often after the age of 50.
Muscle spasms interfere with sleep. There are heterogeneous opinions on the cause of convulsions, but it is not known exactly why rats occur. Potential reasons vary. The U.S. health and medical media “Prevention Dotcom (prevention.com)” introduced the causes and preventions that can cause cramps at night.
the cause of muscle spasms
- Not enough stretching
Some researchers look for reasons in modern lifestyles. Ancient ancestors spent a lot of time in squatting positions that stretched leg tendons and muscles, while modern times do not. There is also evidence that the lifestyle of sitting in a chair can lead to convulsions while reducing the length and flexibility of muscles and tendons.
- Sleep in an awkward position
You can sleep with your feet on the floor when you’re lying on your stomach on the bed. Moving the toes away from the body means contracting the calf muscles. If you leave your feet in this position for a long time, even a small movement of your feet can cause cramps. It can be helpful to sleep on your side, or to keep your toes neutral.
- The seasons change
A study showed that night leg cramps are more common in summer than in winter. Although this is not the case for everyone, the frequency of convulsions is the highest in mid-July and tends to be the least in mid-January. These muscle spasms are caused by nerve problems, not muscle disorders.
Then why does it happen more often in summer. Scott Garrison, a professor of family medicine at the University of Alberta in Canada, explains, “High vitamin D levels can make nerve growth and recovery more active in the summer.” The body produces vitamin D by exposure to sunlight. Higher vitamin D levels in summer accelerate nerve recovery in the body. This explains that it can cause leg cramps in the legs.
There is evidence that dehydration promotes night cramps. Michael Beringer, a professor of sports science at Goethe University in Germany, said, “There is a clear seasonal pattern in the frequency of muscle cramps, which is higher in summer and lower in winter.” “This suggests that, along with the heat, fluid balance potentially affects the occurrence of convulsions,” he said. “Dehydration can promote blood electrolyte imbalance, which can also be a cause of convulsions.”
- strenuous exercise
Intense exercise is associated with muscle spasms. According to a study, skeletal muscle overload and fatigue can cause local muscle spasms in overworked muscle fibers. This phenomenon is also common among professional athletes. While maintaining moisture and stretching may help, there is no effective way to prevent this kind of excessive cramp.
- Nutrient deficiency
There is also evidence that calcium, magnesium, and potassium imbalances play a role in spasms. Each electrolyte helps maintain fluid balance between blood and muscles. However, more research is needed to find out how these nutrients directly affect convulsions.
- stand all day
Studies show that people who stand for a long time every day are more likely to experience leg cramps than people who sit down. Blood and water tend to accumulate in the lower body if you hardly move in a standing state. This can lead to body fluid imbalance as well as muscle and tendon contractions, which can lead to convulsions.
Dr. Garrison said diuretics and asthma drugs could be related. It is explained that these drugs have a “stimulating” effect on motor neurons and receptors, which can promote night cramps.
Pregnancy can lead to more frequent leg cramps due to weight gain and blood circulation disorders. In addition, there is a possibility that the pressure of the growing fetus on the mother’s blood vessels and nerves may cause convulsions.
- Specific health problems
Diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, neurological disorders, and depression are also associated with leg cramps. Drugs can also be affected, but some conditions such as diabetes can interfere with nerves or even cause death. This can cause convulsions.
- Getting older
Aging can also cause leg cramps. Dr. Garrison explained, “It’s similar to when we start losing motor neurons and when convulsions start to become common, which is about the early 50s.” Muscle strength and balance exercises can help prevent muscle and nervous system by maintaining good function.
Treatment and Prevention of Leg Spasms
There is no definite cure because there is no definite cause of night leg cramps. Nevertheless, it is worth considering the following methods.
In 2012, a small study published a result that hamstring and calf stretching right before bed significantly reduced the frequency of convulsions. What should I do if I have a cramp? “Stretching muscles affected by spasms helps stop spasms,” Garrison said. If you have cramps in your feet, try stretching your calves. If you have a cramp on your upper leg, hamstring stretching will help.
- a balanced diet
Getting enough magnesium in your diet can be helpful. Beans, nuts, whole grains and leafy vegetables are excellent sources. A small study found that taking vitamin B supplements can also help. Eating more fish, whole grains, and vegetables without supplements is certainly harmless.
- Maintaining moisture
Try to drink more water during the day. This is even more so if you sweat or exercise. Dry mouth, headache, tiredness, and dry skin are signs of not drinking enough water. The lack of moisture can be seen by the color of urine. If it’s closer to dark yellow, you should drink more water.