Not a few people wake up at night because of sudden leg cramps. If you experience it, then you are not alone. According to the American Family Physician study in 2012, 60 percent of adults in the country experience leg cramps at night.
Cramps are common in the legs to the calf and can also attack the hamstring muscles. According to the BMC Family Practice study in 2017, these cramps will even become more common over the age of 50 years. Although many people experience it, there is still no clear treatment for this cramping.
"You will find a lot of opinions, but in fact, no one really knows why these cramps can happen," said associate professor of Family Health Sciences at the University of Alberta, Scott Garrison, M.D., Ph.D. Garrison, who had previously published many studies on leg cramps at night.
There are at least 5 possible causes of foot cramps at night. Maybe one of them is the cause of cramps that you have been feeling.
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1. Lack of muscle stretching
Some researchers blame the current lifestyle. Our predecessors were thought to spend a lot of time doing squats, stretching tendon muscles in the legs.
There is also some evidence that the habit of sitting or staying quiet somewhere can reduce the length and flexibility of tendon muscles, which will cause cramps.
2. Wrong sleeping position
A number of other experts observe, when we lie on our stomach, our feet will tend to be in the position of "plantar flexion". Plantar flexion's position is when the toes move away from us, this is considered to be able to shorten the calf muscles.
When the legs are in that position for a long time, even the slightest movement can trigger cramps. Sleep on your side, neutral toes.
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3. Changes in weather
Garrison's personal research shows that nighttime leg cramps tend to occur more frequently in summer than winter. This does not necessarily happen to everyone. However, it is important to understand that muscle cramps occur due to nerve problems, not muscle problems.
An electromyogram test shows that the nerves move from the spine and down to the calf, causing cramping. Why is it summer? Garrison explained, growth and repair of nerves will be higher in the summer due to greater vitamin D content.
At that time, the body produces Vitamin D from sun exposure. So, when Vitamin D reserves are at their peak, the body will accelerate the repair of nerves which will trigger cramps.
There is some evidence that dehydration can also trigger cramps.
Professor of Sports Science at the German Goethe University Michael Behringer, M.D., PhD. explained, there is a clear seasonal pattern of the frequency of muscle cramps, which is high in summer and low in winter. "This shows that heat temperatures have the potential to disrupt fluid balance and affect cramping," Behringer said.
Dehydration has the potential to cause electrolyte imbalances in the blood so cramps occur.
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5. Heavy exercise
An author of a study in the journal Current Sport Medicine Reports explains, skeletal muscles that work too hard and fatigue will trigger local muscle cramps in the muscle fibers used to work.
This is common in professional athletes. Keeping your body hydrated is important. However, there is no definite method to prevent the cramps from recurring.