8 Simple Tips That Can Help Get Rid Of Painful Nighttime Leg Cramps

Date February 14, 2018

Most adults know all too well what night leg cramps are. You've probably had a leg cramp that woke you up at least once, right? Or maybe nocturnal leg cramps are a regular occurrence for you and you wonder how to get rid of them? Well, your legs may cramp while you sleep for a variety of reasons, but there are ways to relieve them and prevent them from happening in the first place.

Here's what you can do to get rid of these pesky nighttime leg cramps.

1. Massage your legs.

Massaging the muscles affected by a cramp can help bring back a normal sensation to your leg, as massage stimulates circulation. You can also use a warming ointment for the best effect.

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2. Stretch regularly.

Stretching can relieve cramps and prevent them from happening. Stretch your leg muscles regularly, especially if your job involves sitting a lot. Here's one of the stretches recommended by Cleveland Clinic:

  • put your palms on the wall while standing straight with your arms stretched out;
  • step back with the affected leg;
  • lean forward on the other leg with your palms pressed against the wall.
  • repeat the stretch a few times.

3. Drink enough fluids.

Muscle cramps can be caused by dehydration. Optimal fluid intake is different for every individual, but you should drink enough plain water throughout the day, not just tea, coffee, juice, and other drinks.

4. Apply heat.

You can use a heating pad or a simply a bottle of hot water wrapped in a towel to relieve leg cramps. Heat stimulates circulation in your legs and relieves cramping. A warm bath can have the same effect (add a little essential oil to your warm bath for a soothing effect).

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5. Use a cold compress.

Put an ice pack on the affected muscle to relieve pain. If there are no ice packs at hand, you can use a bag of ice cubes or frozen peas wrapped in a towel. Don't hold the compress for longer than 10 minutes at time.

6. Introduce exercise gradually into your regimen.

The emphasis here is on the word "gradually". If you have started exercising recently, don't overdo it, as straining your muscles can lead to cramps. Do some stretching before the main exercise routine.

7. Revise your diet.

Muscle cramps can result from lack of certain nutrients in your diet. If there's an imbalance of electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium) in your body, you're likely to have leg cramps. The best way to correct this imbalance is not by taking supplements but by eating a diverse diet that includes plenty of various fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products.

8. Change your shoes.

Your shoes may be one of the reasons behind the painful nocturnal leg cramps. Wear comfortable shoes with proper arch support, especially if your job involves standing on a hard surface for prolonged periods of time.

Natural remedies and self-care measures work well in most cases, but they may not be enough if the cause of your leg cramps is serious. If these tips don't help, tell your doctor about the unpleasant nighttime disturbance you're experiencing.

Source: Cleveland Clinic, Every Home Remedy, Home Remedies for You

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This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.