Training & Nutrition - Leg cramps while sleeping
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08-21-09, 08:38 AM
Does anyone else experience this or know what causes it? It's gotten pretty hot here in NY in the last few weeks, and I've started getting cramps in my calves and feet while I'm sleeping. I guess I flex my calves or feet while I'm asleep, and am woken up when they tighten up and I have to physically push on my feet/toes to get it to relax.
I have never cramped while riding (I've always been very careful about hydration and getting electrolytes) but I'm wondering if all of my long rides in the heat are contributing to it. Any ideas?
08-21-09, 11:24 AM
My wife has been bothered by this for years, so we've researched the hell out of it and tried about everything. There is no agreement as to cause. Most doctors say they simply have no idea.
However . . .
Pulling out the sheets and blankets from the foot of the bed definitely helps.
Taking cal/mag supplements totallying 1500mg calcium, 750mg magnesium definitely helps.
Taking more magnesium than that can give a person the runs.
Salt is an issue. If you eat a natural foods diet, i.e. you cook from scratch, add up your daily salt intake. It must be at least 3/4 tsp./day, which it may take a little work to achieve. This is for no exercise. Add to that the salt you need to take in to combat salt losses due to exercise. Endurolytes during exercise worked best for her. We didn't increase our base daily intake to take exercise into account. We both have low BP.
Doing the salt calculation fixed 90% of the remainder of her cramping problem. It's still a problem, but it's minor. Maybe we need to increase salt a little more, but we like how our food tastes as it is.
08-21-09, 07:33 PM
Do you stretch your calves before going to bed at night?
08-21-09, 09:11 PM
To me your problem is a symptom of Magnesium deficiency.
Your muscles use magnesium to relax and calcium to contract. A cramp is a muscle contraction that failed to relax.
I wouldn't be adding much calcium to your diet particularly as most people get more than enough calcium already.
Yes too much supplemental magnesium can cause loose bowel movements but some forms of magnesium are better than others. Look for forms of magnesium such as Orotate, Aspartate, Gluconate, Chelate and avoid forms of magnesium such as Oxide or Heavy.
08-22-09, 08:17 AM
I get calf cramps every year or so. Mine are infrequent so I haven't really looked into the cause. I can say that the second I feel the cramp I jump out of bed and stretch as hard as possible. When mine "lock up" it's pretty serious and hard to undo. There is usually alot of screaming.
08-26-09, 09:17 AM
I get leg cramps at night when I low carb. It's lack of potassium. They go away when I start eating fruit.
08-26-09, 10:04 AM
I can think of two things other than potassium that may be a cause.
1.) The position your legs are in when your asleep. I went through this short period where I would point my toes down, into the mattress, when I was asleep on my stomach. Both times that happened I was awoken by the most excruciating leg cramps that I've ever felt.
2.) You're not getting enough protein and the catabolic loss that naturally occurs in atheletes at rest is severe enough to cause fatigue/cramps.
09-02-09, 10:07 AM
I've recently had some cramping while resting. it was really annoying because I had an itchy foot and every time I brought my foot up toward my hand that hamstring would cramp. it was like I had 2 seconds to scratch and if I went over - BANG - it would cramp. so had to scratch the itch in shorts bursts. very strange. I know that sometimes my hamstrings are prone to cramping after some training sessions, so I am usually cautious about contracting those muscles too far.
09-03-09, 09:40 AM
I was just researching the issue of leg cramps this morning because I've been experiencing some cramping in my calves since I started seriously bicycling a couple months ago. The answer appears to be that there is no simple answer, but that some of the prime suspects are insufficient magnesium, potassium, or electrolytes, failure to stretch adequately, and/or insufficient hydration. Personally I'm going to start modifying those elements of my life and see what works best for me.
09-03-09, 09:45 AM
yes, exactly, but go easy on the Magnesium, too much can cause loose stools. nice huh?
no ideas, but nice signature. mmm, Jawbreaker
09-10-09, 07:40 AM
but I'm wondering if all of my long rides in the heat are contributing to it. Any ideas? Probably - and who knows - maybe a mineral supplement will help. But more than likely, you're doing everything right but your body simply takes longer to restore balances to some muscle tissues.
If you really wanted to "test" this theory, change the timing and quantity of your recovery fueling. For instance, instead of just "downing" a lot fuel and fluid at once - use a sports watch with a timer to drink 8oz of fluid every 15 minutes for several hours.
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