Our legs carry us from A to B all life – and sometimes we complain of their suffering in the middle of the night with leg cramps.
But seriously: Where do the nightly leg cramps come from, and what can you do about them?
1. What Happens in a Leg Cramp?
On the whole, a cramp is nothing more than the uncontrolled contraction of muscles in a specific part of the body without them relaxing immediately afterwards.
Our calves, toes and toe flexors (which extend from the back of the lower leg to the lower foot) are particularly often affected. How so? Science has been asking this to this day.
2. Why Do the Leg Cramps Come at Night?
What is known for this is one of the most common reasons for the painful affair: magnesium deficiency.
- Because while calcium is responsible for giving our muscles the strength to tense up, magnesium does precisely the opposite in the body.
- If the mineral is missing, our nerves can begin to contract muscles involuntarily. During periods of rest (such as at night), our magnesium level naturally drops.
- Then comes the already existing deficiency; all you need is a movement in your sleep, and – who would have guessed – there is a calf cramp.
3. Where Does the Magnesium Deficiency Come From?
- Magnesium deficiency is particularly common in pregnant women. In the last trimester, the demand for the mineral increases sharply.
- Athletes who sweat a lot and put a lot of strain on their muscles are also often affected. In both processes, the body consumes a lot of magnesium, which then has to replenish.
- Various medications and diseases can also result in magnesium deficiency. In case of doubt and persistent fights, it is, therefore, worthwhile to check with a doctor.
4. What Can We Do About Evil?
In most cases, occasional calf cramps are harmless. The counter-stretch that most of us do reflexively is just the right immediate measure.
In addition to sufficient water, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and not drinking alcohol, many swear by the following tips:
- Bananas are super suitable as a nutrient supplier and contain magnesium, potassium, and vitamins.
- For very sweaty activities, water can be fortified with a pinch of salt to prevent cramping due to a lack of sodium chloride.
- And: before going to bed, it is always worth loosening your muscles briefly. A few stretching exercises in the legs and calves are often enough for a cramp-free night.