Calf cramps while sleeping
I have been getting calf cramps while I sleep more and more frequently. I am looking for the cause, so I can remedy the situation. I have looked around and found a lot about cramps during exercise, but all I have found on cramps while sleeping is that they are not sure what causes them.
For me it has been at least once a week lately. I have even had both cramp in the same night 2 hours apart. At first I thought it was because they were overworked, but I can have a very hard workout day with no problem and then get the cramps on an easy workout day. My nutrition is in check. I have reduced the amount of milk I drink since I am cutting and limiting liquid calories, but I still get at least 2 cups a day. I usually have around 5 or 6 bananas a week as well. The rest of my diet is pretty healthy and I pay very close attention to what I eat.
EDIT: Just wanted to add that my average daily potassium is at 3580 mg and magnesium at 543 mg. Well above the minimum recommondation of 2000 & 420.
If anyone has any advice I would appreciate it.
Last edited by Drex; May. 08/08 at 09:39 AM.
WQow, I was ready to tell you to eat a banana until I read through your whole post! Are you drinking enough?
Does stretching help with muscle cramps? Do you stretch the cramping muscle as part of your workout?
Thanks for the response Greenhorn Gal. I drink plenty of water, if anything it is on the high side.
Originally Posted by Greenhorn Gal
I stretch out the muscle when I feel them coming on, which helps. At first I wasn't awake until it was really locked in, but my body has become aware enough that I pop wide awake right as they start now and I have a chance to minimize the cramping effects.
Stretching depends on what I am doing. I usually do light stretching that includes the calf before and after running & biking. I usually don't stretch at all around lifting. Maybe I will try to do a stretching routine right before bed and see if that helps any.
A dear friend of mine is a massage therapist, and one day we had a conversation about muscle cramps/charlie horses. She told me that the best thing to do when faced with cramps is to LET IT CRAMP! When you wake up in the throes of a cramp, fight the urge to stretch it out, let it cramp and force yourself not to fight the cramping process, even tho I know it hurts! If your potassium is OK, the cramps may be coming from the muscle not getting enough oxygen for whatever reason--this is common while we are sleeping which is why cramps happen most often at night. While the muscle is cramping, breathe deeply--as deep as you can, to try to increase your blood oxygen levels. When the muscle does whatever it needs to do, it will RELEASE and is less likely to continue to cramp up again--also it's less likely to hurt AFTER the cramp is done. The worst thing she said you can do to a cramping muscle is stretch it out in the middle of a cramp, because the muscle can actually be injured that way.
I am NOT a therapist and am not claiming to have doctor's knowledge of this. However, after we had the conversation, I took her advice and it really worked for me.
Do you take a cholesterol medication by any chance?
Originally Posted by Greenhorn Gal
Interesting. It always seems to be "not as bad" if I can get it stretched before it really locks in, both during and after, but I will try letting it go next time.
I'm not on any meds.
Originally Posted by jaackdeth
Im probably not going to be much help but I get them every now and then as well however I have noticed it is only a result of "stetching" while I sleep. I.e. when I really extend my legs out and push my feet foward like you are a ballerina hence tensing my calf muscle causing it to cramp up.
You havent had a day off exercise in a year right? Maybe it is time to have that rest and that your body is telling you that. Cramps can be down to problems with calcium ballance etc I sont know if that means anything to you?
I would suggest throwing in a multivitamin if you are not already taking one. Are you doing a lot of cycling/bike cardio?
dehydration and sodium level
Eat more Pickles..............
p.s. the letting it cramp concept is the shortest distance to the end of the cramp.
Thanks NBS, Tribal and FF.
I am kind of ruling out over training at this point. I feel excellent and better than I have ever felt. It was my inital thought as well, but when they would happen on easier days and not harder days, it did not seem it was related to the stress of the days workout.
Calcium was one thought. I am still well over the RDA recommended amount, but as my dad told me, I do more than the RDA expects most people do and due to my cut, my milk consumption has been one of the things I have reduced. I have a calcium suppliment I will start taking on a regular basis. I had already started taking them last week, but only a couple so far on random days.
I already take a multivitamin. It is low in calcium though.
FF, you may be on to something with dehydration too. I have been cutting down water at the end of the day so I only have to get up 2-3 times during the night to pee rather than 4-5. My sodium level is about 4400 mg a day, which is probably too high already and I know much higher than the recommended 3,000 mg for my diet level. Balance between the sodium and other nutrients seems ok as they are all over.
All good things to think about and work with, thanks.
EDIT: To the bike question, yes, I have been doing a fair amount of cycling.
Last edited by Drex; May. 11/08 at 03:03 PM.
It sounds like your body is dehydrated. I would recommend increasing your water intake. If you weigh 200 lbs X 50% = 100 oz a day is a good formula to start with.
Drex, Be glad you're just getting them at night, my calf cramped during sex yesterday morning. Kinda killed the mood. LOL! Anyhow, I used to get them all the time during hs when I was a sprinter in track. I sprinted in my run the night before (on my toes going as fast as I can kind of sprint) and this was the 1st time I got one for months. I know I didn't stretch it as good as I should have afterwards, so that was my problem.
If that isn't a joke, then i think you have a problem there. How many times does someone need to wake up in the middle of the night to go pee?
Originally Posted by Drex
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