The Reasons Why You Get Leg Cramps While Sleeping, And How to Stop Them

Those uncomfortable and painful sensations throughout the legs at night, or leg cramps, are certainly no fun, to say the least. They can cause a person to lay awake for hours, and they happen when the legs are in a state of inactivity for a long period of time. If you are a little less unlucky, these cramps can also last for only a few minutes, but the muscle pain that results may not go away immediately, maybe not even until the next day. And before we examine how to fight leg cramps, let’s look a little deeper into what they really are.

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Leg cramps vs. restless leg syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (or RLS) and leg cramps are quite similar in the fact that they both happen during the hours of slumber. However, this is one of the only similarities. These, on the other hand, are some of their key differences:

  • RLS does not involve any pain or cramping
  • RLS causes an involuntary urge to move the leg, leg cramps do not do this
  • With RLS, movement causes relief; with leg cramps, stretching causes relief


The precise cause of leg cramps sometimes, unfortunately, can be completely unknown. However, there are certain some risk factors that have been linked to leg cramps such as:

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  • Sitting still for long periods of time
  • Excessive strain on the leg muscles
  • Walking on reinforced concrete or sand
  • Improper posture while sitting

There are also certain conditions that can make someone prone to experiencing leg cramps. These include pregnancy, alcoholism, dehydration, Parkinson’s disease, flat feet, and diabetes.


The proper treatment for leg cramps can depend on the cause. For example, if they are caused by dehydration, then rehydrate as soon as possible. You can also help prevent the cramps by happening by taking a warm bath before going to bed in order to relieve muscle tension.

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Muscle tension can be relieved also by applying a heating pad to the affected area. Acupuncture is another effective way to relieve your muscles. Also, make sure you are getting enough magnesium and potassium in your diet. Make sure to always stretch out the leg muscles before getting into bed. There is also the option of buying ergonomic shoes. 

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