You wake during the night with an intense feeling of pain in your leg or foot. A muscle suddenly contracted and tightened.
The pain may last for a few seconds or several minutes. Then it ends as suddenly as it began.
This describes a typical episode of a sleep related leg cramp. These leg cramps can be disruptive to your sleep. Lingering soreness from a leg cramp also can make it hard for you to go back to sleep.
Sleep related leg cramps are most common in older adults. They also occur frequently in pregnant women.
You may be more likely to have leg cramps if you have diabetes. They also may be more likely to occur if you are dehydrated.
You may be able to relieve the pain by stretching the affected muscle. Massaging the muscle also may help.
Regular exercise may help prevent sleep related leg cramps; this exercise should include stretching the leg muscles.
The drug quinine has been used to treat leg cramps. But in 2006 the FDA cautioned consumers about serious safety concerns and risks related to the drug.
“Because of the drug's risks, FDA believes it should not be used to prevent or treat leg cramps,” said a FDA news release.
Learn more about sleep related leg cramps on SleepEducation.com.