Do you ever wake up with intense muscle cramps in the middle of the night? Then you suffer from what is called sleep cramping—which usually occurs in the feet or calves.
Who Is Prone To Sleep Cramping?
The bad news? “Athletes and individuals who perform manual labor are at greater risk of sleep cramping and muscle cramps of all kinds,” explains Ian Clark, Founder and CEO of Activation Products, which creates a product to prevent cramping. “Magnesium deficiency is often the cause of this sort of cramping. Physical exertion causes the body to burn through magnesium at a greater rate, so runners are definitely very likely to suffer from it.”
According to Clark, women are at a greater risk for magnesium deficiency—and the related muscle cramps.
“Women are more susceptible to magnesium deficiency because of the way the body uses magnesium in response to sex hormone fluctuation,” he adds. “When the body is using more magnesium—when estrogen and progesterone levels go up—women may experience increased muscle cramping, as well as migraines, dizziness, bloating and sugar cravings. Increased magnesium supplementation during these times (the second half of the menstrual cycle) may help to alleviate these symptoms.”
What Do You Do If You Experience It?
So what can you do if you experience sleep cramping? Clark recommends taking a magnesium supplement to see if your sleep cramps, restless leg syndrome or charley horses are resolved. It is available in both oral or topical form (such as EASE Magnesium), though oral magnesium is not well-tolerated in many people.
You can seek professional attention to confirm your magnesium levels and how supplementation may affect any existing medical conditions you may have. In addition, stretching properly after exercise is important to help keep muscles loose and less prone to cramping. Addressing the issue is important.
“Getting a good night’s sleep can help with your overall recovery, make you feel more motivated to get out for your run and further improve your performance,” concludes Clark.