Nocturnal leg cramps are not only painful, but they also prevent you from having a good night’s sleep, which is important to your health. Lack of fluids and blood flow to the legs are some of the most common reasons for nocturnal leg cramps. The cramps and pain generally last for a few seconds. But the resulting muscle soreness can continue for up to a couple of days.
Individuals who suffer from these cramps are usually above 50 years old, but that doesn’t mean that younger people are exempt. Leg cramps most commonly affect the calf muscle; however, some people have experienced them in their feet and thigh muscles as well. Here are some things you can do to prevent leg cramps:
1. Up Your Magnesium
Well-known for its relaxing properties, magnesium has been proven to be valuable for alleviating leg cramps.
While eating foods rich in magnesium such as dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, dates, yogurt, bananas, or dark chocolate is helpful it might not be enough.
That’s where magnesium oil comes in. Just rub some on your legs before you go to bed, and you’ll be set for the night.
How To Make Magnesium Oil
- ½ cup Magnesium Chloride Flakes
- ½ cup distilled water
- Bring water to a boil.
- Throw in the magnesium flakes.
- Stir until everything is dissolved.
- Remove from heat and let it cool.
- Store in a spray bottle.
How To Use:
Apply 5-10 sprays to each leg one hour before going to bed.
2. Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D
If you eat healthy already but still experience cramps, then it could be due to a shortage of vitamin D. Why?
Vitamin D plays a role in the absorption of calcium that you get from the foods you eat. If you don’t have enough of this vitamin, then the calcium isn’t properly absorbed. And calcium is an important electrolyte that helps balance fluid levels in the body.
The easiest way to get Vitamin D is by exposing your skin to sunlight, but that isn’t always possible depending on where you live.
If you don’t get a lot of sun exposure, try eating more mushrooms and seafood. You can also consider taking a vitamin D supplement.
3. Do Some Stretching Exercises
Leg cramps can be prevented by adding simple stretches. Doing these will promote blood flow, which helps transport oxygen and nutrients.
One of the easiest stretches is to find a ledge and rest the ball of your foot on it while your heel is touching the floor.
Next, slowly shift your weight towards the ledge (imagine pressing the accelerator of your car).
Maintain the position for only a count of 2 and then rest for 10 seconds. You should feel a good stretch in your leg muscles.
Repeat this stretch 6-8 times on each foot. This exercise will stretch out your calves which is the part of the leg where most people experience cramps.
Just note that the ledge should not be too high off the ground to avoid unnecessary pressure on the calves. You can easily create this ledge using a pile of books.
4. Electrolyte Imbalance
Sometimes, something as easy as drinking enough water can help prevent leg cramps. If that doesn’t work for you, then it might be because of an electrolyte imbalance.
In this case, drinking an electrolyte-rich drink can prove to be very helpful.
Simple Electrolyte Drink
To make a quart of a basic electrolyte at home combine 1 quart of water, 6 teaspoons of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of uniodized sea salt.
To please the taste buds replace sugar with ¼ cup organic honey and reduce sea salt by half.
Add the juice squeezed from 1 decent sized lemon and 2 limes to the above mixture. Drink an entire quart every day for optimal results.
How to Get Instant Relief From Cramps?
If you suffer from a nocturnal muscle cramp here’s a few things you can do to quickly get relief:
- Extend the cramped leg in front and flex at the ankles. The toes should point upwards in the direction of the knees. Tug on the feet to get a solid stretch.
- Rise up gradually and walk slowly, making sure to shake your legs to improve blood flow.
- Massage the calves in circular motion to get relief from the cramps.
15 Additional Foods That Help Leg Cramps
- apple cider vinegar
- pumpkin seeds
- green leafy vegetables
- sea salt
- salmon and sardines
- greek yogurt