Nocturnal leg cramps are one of the most painful problem you can experience – they occur in the middle of the night and the sharp pain can ruin your sleep, leaving you without energy and with sore leg muscles in the morning.

Leg cramps are involuntary contractions of the calf muscles that usually occur overnight. They can also strike at the soles or other muscles.

The cramps may last from a few seconds to a few minutes, and the intense pain is often difficult to bear. Nocturnal leg cramps affect everyone regardless of age or gender, although they’re more common in middle aged people. Although science is still unsure of the main cause, there are numerous factors that contribute towards it.


Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of nocturnal leg cramps. Proper hydration means proper body and mind function, including the contraction of muscles. If you’re not keeping properly hydrated during the day, you will experience cramps overnight. Without sufficient amounts of water, your muscles will be robbed of essential nutrients they need to work normally.

Nutritional deficiencies

Potassium, magnesium, calcium or sodium deficiency can definitely cause the dreaded leg cramps. All these nutrients play different vital roles in your muscles and help them contract – if the muscles are robbed of them, they will fail to work properly. Potassium works with sodium and chloride and generates electrical impulses in the nerves and muscles, while calcium generates proper muscle contractions and nerve impulses. Magnesium stabilizes the levels of adenosine triphosphate, so any of these mineral deficiencies will result in an increased risk of muscle cramps and other problems.

Standing for too long

Standing for prolonged periods or wearing improper footwear can overburden your muscles and increase the risk of nocturnal leg cramps. According to one study, the same factor raises the risk of varicose veins, so make sure to cut the time spent on your feet. Sitting with crossed legs or sitting for too long can also cause the condition.

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