A painful leg cramp while you're in the midst of a peaceful slumber is about as welcome as kick up the arse. But what causes these random instances of agony and how can we prevent them?
The answer to the latter question is a lot simpler than the former. The reason for nighttime leg cramps is pretty much unknown according to Michael Jaffee, M.D., neurologist at the University of Florida Health.
He told Men's Health that 'the most common form of nocturnal leg cramps are considered idiopathic, meaning that there is no known cause.'
This theory is countered by Christopher Hogrefe, M.D., an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at Northwestern Medicine, who says 'there might be structural or mechanical causes, like flat feet or circulation problems.'
Whatever the reason is, the question we all want to know the answer to is how the hell do we stop them? Dr. Jaffee says that 'pointing the toes of the affected leg toward your head while keeping the knee extended' is an effective method.
The article goes on to say that pre-bedtime measures like taking a hot shower and staying hydrated may help. While surprisingly, pickle juice may be the best option because it triggers a reflex in the region in your throat, reducing the neurons involved in cramping muscles.
Who knew? Here's to a pain-free night.