Do Cramps Disturb Your Sleep ?
Cramps are a very common complaint, especially in middle aged and older people. They often occur at night or when a person is resting and can be extremely painful. This can lead to disturbed sleep and restless nights.
The most commonly affected muscles are those at the back of the calves but both the foot and the thigh muscles may also be involved. Usually it is only one foot or calf which is affected at a time. The cramp may last only a minute or two but the muscle may be tender for a few days afterwards.
There can be many reasons for cramps but one common cause is that the muscle does not receive enough blood. This could be because of diseased arteries or when excessive heat or exercise has caused sweating and salt is depleted from the body. Excessive alcohol can also sometimes cause cramps.
It now seems that the best way to treat cramps is without drugs. For many years quinine was prescribed but it is no longer considered safe. Magnesium is often recommended as some medications (including diabetic medication, diuretics, some anti-inflammatories and statins) may deplete the body of certain minerals. Stretching and massaging the affected muscle can be most effective once a cramp occurs.
Stretching the calf muscles during the day, for even a few minutes and especially before going to bed, may stop cramps occurring. If you can work the calf muscle enough to increase the blood flow to the muscle, there is a good chance you will sleep the night undisturbed.
One easy way to stretch the calf muscles and increase the blood flow is by using an Aircycle inflatable exerciser while sitting watching TV in the evening. Many people have had success in reducing their cramps with this simple exerciser.
A phone call from a woman reporting she’d had her Aircycle two days and had two night’s undisturbed sleep came in just two minutes after an email from someone with a restless legs problem. Strangely the email said the same thing, “I’ve had my Aircycle for two days and had two night’s sleep without being disturbed with restless legs!”.
Another person phoned after seven weeks and said she’d not suffered night cramps once in that time. For many years she’d been up every night with cramp.
The Aircycle is a soft, inflatable circulation booster which helps to reduce swollen ankles, joint pain and stiffness and strengthen leg muscles to help improve balance and walking.
It is useful for those with arthritis and diabetes, convalescent patients, office workers and travelers – anyone who sits long periods and requires gentle exercise and increased circulation.
It is available on the website, www.aircycle.co.nz.nz and is in many pharmacies in New Zealand.