Posted in exercise, health, pain

Do You Have Nighttime Leg Cramps? Find out Why

Have you ever been woken up in the middle of the night by a strong cramp in your leg that felt as if it was going to tear your muscle apart? A nighttime spasm or tightening of a muscle is a common, usually harmless, occurrence that most often affects muscles of the calf, thigh or foot.

I can vouch for the agony of nighttime cramps, occurring for me at times, waking me up and leaping out of bed.  Awfully painful.

It can cause a lot of pain and steal away a chunk of your precious sleep. Although no one is immune to them, cramps are more common in older people, and about 1 in 3 people over the age of 60 experience them regularly.

There are some simple steps you can take to prevent the cramps and ease their onset. In some cases, it’s also important to look for the underlying cause and address it.

What Causes Muscle Cramps?

In many cases, the reason for these painful contractions is unknown – in the medical jargon, the condition is referred to as ‘idiopathic leg cramps’.

Other reasons could be:

Extreme exercise – you may have been exercising a lot and the muscles got tired, so they started to spasm.

Pregnancy – pregnancy can be associated with nighttime cramps, especially in the later stages.

In some cases, however, cramps are a symptom of another problem you might not even be aware of. Some of the conditions that can cause leg cramps include:

Dehydration – when your body loses a lot of fluids, the salt levels get depleted, which can trigger the muscles in the legs to contract. Usually, the reason for dehydration is not drinking enough, but severe diarrhea and vomiting can cause it as well. Make sure you are aware of the 7 warning signs of dehydration.

Deficiency in potassium, calcium or other minerals.

Specific medical conditions such as kidney disease, thyroid disease (see the signs in this post), liver problems and multiple sclerosis.

Conditions that affect the blood flow, for example, peripheral arterial disease.

Some infections or exposure to toxins – for example, high levels of lead or mercury can result in leg cramps. You may want to try my heavy metal detox smoothie.

Remainder of this article:   Healthy and Natural World



Writer, poet, blogger, advocate of mental illness stigma

4 thoughts on “Do You Have Nighttime Leg Cramps? Find out Why

  1. My husband suffers from the idiopathic nighttime leg cramps every now and then. They are agonizingly painful for him. While there isn’t much to do once they have started – they just have to run their course – he did find some homeopathic leg cramp pills that can help prevent them if you feel one *might* be coming on. They are not 100% effective but they are still better than anything else he’s tried! Might be worth looking into, if you suffer from those too.


      1. I am so sorry! 😦 I get recurrent migraine attacks – which means once I get an attack, they keep happening as soon as the pill wears off, for several days on an end – and it is intensely exhausting. I cannot imagine how you must make it through with chronic migraines. I hope you have some good blackout curtains/sunglasses and ear-buds/noise-proofing.


      2. Yes, I definitely have black out curtains! I’m getting migraines everyday now, some days they are horrific, other days they are manageable. Migraine pain is migraine pain which is excruciating no matter how many times you have it. Thanks for commenting. BTW I’m closing this blog, join me at my other blog “Living in Stigma” and follow me there. Stay strong. Hugs. Deb

        Liked by 1 person

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