Leg Cramps While Sleeping
A Quick Guide to the Causes of Leg Cramps While Sleeping
When someone suffers from leg cramps while sleeping there is usually an underlying condition that is contributing to the problem. Most leg cramping is caused by poor blood circulation, and a problem with the leg arteries, typically causing the legs to cramp after exercising more than usual.
Though most leg cramps happen after exercising the legs, it is possible that they will occur at night. When someone experiences leg cramps while sleeping the pain can be quite severe, even to the point that it will wake them from a deep sleep.
One of the most common contributors to nighttime leg cramps is the shortening of the muscles in the legs and feet while sleeping; this can cause leg cramps while sleeping to the point that the calf muscle will become visibly taut. Another cause of nighttime leg cramping is dehydration; when the body does not have enough water the muscles will begin to cramp. Calcium channel blockers can also cause muscle cramping.
Another known cause of leg cramps while sleeping is peripheral arterial disease, also known as PAD. This is a condition that occurs due to plaque buildup in the leg arteries. When there is plaque buildup in the arteries, the arteries begin to harden and become narrow, which restricts the blood flow, causing bad blood circulation in the legs.
Addison's disease is another medical condition that can cause leg cramps while sleeping; malfunctioning of the adrenal gland causes this disease. Another condition that can lead to leg cramping is Parkinson’s disease.
Diabetes can also contribute to leg cramps during the day, as well as at night. When someone is taking insulin, chances are they are going to have a potassium deficiency, which in turn leads to leg cramps. Anything that lowers the potassium can cause leg cramps.
Leg cramps while sleeping is a common complaint of pregnancy, especially in the last two trimesters. When a woman is pregnant and in her last months she is carrying around a lot of extra weight, which can put too much pressure on the legs, causing leg cramps. Almost anyone who has been pregnant can attest to the miserable leg cramps during the night that can get them straight out of bed.
Basically any condition that lowers the potassium, causes dehydration, or overextends the leg muscles can cause leg cramps while sleeping. This not only includes pregnancy, but also may include those who are overweight; stand on the legs for long periods of time, or over exerts the leg muscles during exercise.
If you are having trouble with leg cramps while sleeping there are a few different things you can do to help ease the problem. For those that are pregnant and getting leg cramps one of the best ways to prevent the cramps is by not standing on your feet for long periods of time, and ensuring that you drink plenty of water during the day. It also wouldn’t hurt to eat a banana to keep your potassium up.
Overweight people can also help prevent leg cramps by following similar steps. It may also be a good idea to talk with your doctor about a diet and exercise program to help you lose weight and reduce the strain on your legs.
If there is an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or Parkinson’s disease that may be contributing to your leg cramps while sleeping, it may perhaps be a good idea to contact your doctor to get a diagnosis. Leg cramps can be an indication of a more serious problem, so seeing your doctor is the best course of action.