Night Leg Cramps

Written by Jenni Wiltz
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Night leg cramps are a much more painful experience that many people think. My father's family is prone to them, and I've inherited this alarming propensity. As a result, I've researched possible causes of these extremely annoying muscle spasms.

Painful night leg cramps tend to affect older and middle-aged people; however, since there is no proven cause, people of any age group can be affected. As opposed to leg muscle cramps experienced during the waking hours, scientists believe nighttime cramps have a cause rooted in the nervous system, rather than the muscles themselves. Another possible explanation is the connection between dreaming and waking, and whether a sleeper has had a gentle transition between the two.

Preventing Night Leg Cramps

Doctors have been able to show that people with insufficient amounts of important minerals are more prone to leg and foot cramps. A possible solution is to take supplements of any or all of the following: calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. These minerals, also known as electrolytes, are crucial for maintaining healthy muscles.

Doctors have isolated these electrolytes based on patient research. Magnesium has been shown to relieve leg cramps immediately upon consumption; however, if your deficiency is severe, this will not be the case. Vitamin E is another helpful tool in preventing cramps--studies show that taking anywhere from 400--800iu of Vitamin E per day can help prevent your muscles from contracting.

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