What are muscle cramps?
When you get a cramp, your muscles suddenly contract and sting. Muscle cramps are most common in feet and calves and occur most often during the night. They’re common in the elderly, as well as pregnant women, especially during late pregnancy.
What causes muscle cramps?
Reason 1: Dehydration.
Because a lack of fluid affects blood circulation, dehydration can cause your muscles to cramp. The body gives priority to vital organs during dehydration and redistributes liquid away from your muscles and other less “important” parts of the body. Drink water or sports drinks (which often contain salts such as sodium, magnesium, and calcium) to protect yourself against cramps.
Reason 2: You’re cold.
Many of us sleep better when our bedroom is cool. But make sure it’s not too cold, and remember to cover your legs with a blanket.
It is not entirely clear why cold can cause cramps, but it may have to do with lower temperatures causing muscles to contract and harden, which can cause cramps and spasms.
Reason 3: Not moving enough during the day.
If you stand up for the entire day on the job, you’re basically performing a workout. But the difference is, you feel stiff afterward, right? Moving all day and carrying heavy stuff is exhausting for the muscles and can cause cramps at a later stage—especially if you’re on your feet, like many people who work in stores.
Cause 4: Training.
It may not come as a great surprise that the muscles can pay a price for training too hard. Exercise is obviously good because it builds muscles and makes them less susceptible to cramps in the long term. But you can often get cramps after a tough workout because your muscles are fatigued.
Tips to avoid cramps?
Trick 1: Sleep with a bar of soap.
It sounds a bit strange, but many people claim to have stopped nocturnal cramps by placing a bar of soap in bed. People who had leg cramps for years have testified that they immediately disappeared when they put a piece of soap in bed.
Certainly, there are people who think this unexpected folk remedy is just a placebo effect, too. But it doesn’t hurt to try.
Trick 2: Take a hot shower.
There’s a reason why we warm up before exercise—heated muscles work better. A hot shower before bed can be the perfect medicine to relieve sore muscles. In addition, water acts as a soothing massage. If you have leg pain and don’t want to stand up, take a warm bath.
Trick 3: Drink pickle juice.
Don’t have a sports drink or another good rehydration liquid on hand? Drink a little pickle juice. It contains most of what your muscles need to stay cramp-free during the night.
Trick 4: Eat a banana.
After working out, it’s always good to eat a banana. Bananas contain many of the minerals that can counteract cramps, and bananas contain carbohydrates that replenish your glycogen stores and shorten the time it takes to recover. Although eating a banana doesn’t always help, it may be worth a try!
Trick 5: Try magnesium.
Magnesium supplements have helped many people curb their nocturnal cramps. Taking magnesium glycinate before bedtime can do wonders for your sleep (and your muscles).
Trick 6: Eat dried apricots.
Dried apricots contain a lot of potassium, which can help reduce muscle spasms, and they’ve helped a lot of people who have problems with nocturnal cramps. Try eating two dried apricots twice a day for a month.
Please share this list if you know someone who has problems with muscle cramps at night.
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