How to Eliminate Leg Cramps at Night. Leg cramps, also known as charley horses, are painful muscle spasms that can come on suddenly, especially during the night, waking you from a sound sleep. While some attack you in the calf or the thigh, others take hold of the soles of your feet, lasting as little as a few seconds or as long as several minutes. Read on to learn how to eliminate these painful nocturnal cramps.
Eliminating Night Cramps When They Occur
Attempt to relieve cramp by extending the leg and angle the foot in toward the knee. Alternatively, grasp onto your toes and pull them in the direction of your knee.
Get up, walk around, and shake your leg vigorously, then go back to bed and prop your leg up on a pillow.
Gently massage the area applying a circular motion to help to relieve the tight muscle.
Loosen your sheets and blankets so that your toes and feet don't point which may cause your muscles to contract and bring on another painful cramp.
Soak in a warm bath, take a shower or apply a heating pad to the cramp for at least 10 minutes.
Eliminating the Cause of Night Cramps
Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day so that vitamins and minerals can adequately be absorbed in the body.
Stretch your legs every night. One way is to stand at a forward tilt about 30 inches from a wall, keeping your heels flat and steady. Slide your hands up the wall to lengthen the muscles in your legs. Hold for about a minute.
Maintain supple muscles by swimming or participating in water exercises.
Wear appropriate walking shoes and stay away from high heels.
Be sure that you are getting enough calcium, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamins E and A.
Include bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe and citrus fruits in your daily diet. These foods contain potassium, which is a key mineral in helping to regulate muscle activity.
To increase your calcium intake, it is advisable to take a non-phosphorus calcium supplement before bed than to rely solely on drinking milk or eating other dairy products.
Do not substitute caffeine or alcoholic beverages for drinking water as they are diuretics and dehydrate more than hydrate. Pregnant or postmenopausal women who don't consume enough calcium may suffer more from leg cramps at night. Some prescription drugs can cause nighttime leg cramps. Consult your doctor if you suspect this is the cause.