Night Cramps

Suffer with Night Cramps? Arise Motion Furniture can help….

Electric adjustable beds and chairs will help night crampsCramps are unpleasant, often painful sensations caused by muscle contraction or over-shortening. Common causes of skeletal muscle cramps may include muscle fatigue, low sodium, low potassium, and/or low magnesium. Smooth muscle cramps may be due to menstruation or gastroenteritis.

Nocturnal leg cramps are involuntary muscle contractions that occur in the calves, soles of the feet, or other muscles in the body during the night or (less commonly) while resting. The duration of nocturnal leg cramps is variable with cramps lasting anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Muscle soreness may remain after the cramp itself ends. These cramps are more common in older people. They happen quite frequently in teenagers and in some people while exercising at night. The precise cause of these cramps is unclear. Potential contributing factors include dehydration, low levels of certain minerals (magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium), and reduced blood flow through muscles attendant in prolonged sitting or lying down. Nocturnal leg cramps (almost exclusively calf cramps) are considered ‘normal’ during the late stages of pregnancy.[citation needed] They can, however, vary in intensity from mild to extremely painful.

Lactic acid can build up around the muscles which can trigger cramps; however, these happen during anaerobic respiration which happens when a person is exercising or engaging in an activity where the heart beat speeds up. Medical conditions associated with leg cramps are cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, pregnancy, and lumbar canal stenosis.


Stretching and drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, may be helpful in treating simple muscle cramps. With exertional heat cramps due to electrolyte abnormalities (primarily sodium loss and not calcium, magnesium, and potassium) appropriate fluids and sufficient salt improves symptoms.

Various medications may cause nocturnal leg cramps:[6]

  • Diuretics, especially potassium sparing
  • Long acting adrenergic beta-agonists (LABAs)
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins)
  • Besides being painful, a nocturnal leg cramp can cause much distress and anxiety.
  • Gentle stretching and massage, putting some pressure on the affected leg by walking or standing, or taking a warm bath or shower may help to end the cramp. If the cramp is in the calf muscle, pulling the big toe gently backwards will stretch the muscle and, in some cases, cause almost immediate relief.