Dehydration and cramps: 13 Genius Hacks That Will Help You Drink More Water
13 Genius Hacks That Will Help You Drink More Water
You know you need to stay hydrated for body and mind — but why is it so important to get a certain amount?
Well, water makes up about 60 percent of the body, says New York City–based Jaclyn London, RD, head of nutrition and wellness at WW, and data from the U.S. Geological Survey, a government agency, backs that up.
Because it’s such a big part of your makeup, water is involved in a multitude of functions, says Ryan Andrews, RD, principle nutritionist and adviser at Precision Nutrition in Norwalk, Connecticut. For example, water dissolves and transports other substances around the body, assists in metabolic reactions, lubricates tissues like eyes and joints, regulates body temperature, provides minerals, and acts as a building material for cells.
So it makes sense that you need so much of it. “Without adequate hydration, you experience dehydration. It can be mild or severe, with symptoms ranging from dry mouth, headache, dizziness, and fatigue to heat stress, sunken eyes, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and delirium,” Andrews says.
RELATED: 6 Unusual Signs of Dehydration You Should Know About
That’s the bad news — the good news is what adequate hydration can do for you. “Growing research suggests good hydration can help with everything from joint health and workout stamina to mood and mental focus,” London says. A review published in January 2019 in Nutrients outlines some of these findings. “And in practice, I’ve found that a little self-check-in of ‘have I had enough to drink today?’ can be a game changer for so many clients who are often mistaking hunger and thirst.” And that’s how drinking enough can factor into weight loss goals.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that men consume 125 ounces of total fluid from beverages and food, and that women consume 91 ounces of fluid. That fluid can come from beverages including water, as well as water-rich foods like produce. However, the reality is we’re skimping on plain water. “The fluids we consume have really become a vehicle for other ingredients, like sugar and caffeine,” Andrews says. And that, unfortunately, can make plain water seem, well, too plain.
Add that to a busy lifestyle and you may forget — or not be motivated — to drink h3O. It’s like when you’ve had a nonstop day and realize in the evening that you drank barely a cup, London says. “This is especially true now that routines have been upended and our homes have become de facto schools, workplaces, and gyms. It can be so easy to get caught up in daily life and responsibilities and neglect hydration,” she adds.
RELATED: 53 Self-Care Tips for Taking Care of You During the Coronavirus Pandemic
There’s even a type of water drinker called a “low drinker”: a healthy adult who has adequate water access but who doesn’t habitually drink enough, notes an article published in June 2019 in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. These people aren’t dehydrated, but their bodies are actively preserving the water they do have by suppressing normal functions like urination. They also aren’t extra thirsty, so they don’t have that internal cue to drink more water. If that’s you, you might need a little help.
Luckily, there are numerous options to help you meet your water quota, from hydration trackers and smart water bottles that connect to and monitor consumption to bottles that infuse flavors into your water and handy apps. Of course, you don’t need all of them. Andrews suggests exploring those that interest you and trying the one that fits easiest into your life.
Here are 13 great, innovative options at a variety of price points that make such a basic task — drinking water — doable and a bit more fun.
1. h3OPal Converts Most Bottles Into a Smart Water Bottle
The benefit of tracking your intake is that you’ll know if you’re falling short and can adjust accordingly earlier in the day, rather than feeling pressured to glug a bunch of water that night. h3OPal is a smart hydration-tracking device that comes with a water bottle. You can also take off the tracker at the base and attach it to a water bottle you already have (as long as the base is about three inches), boosting its versatility. This will monitor how much you drink and reminds you when to take a sip through the app.
Buy h3OPal, $99, h3OPal.com.
RELATED: 6 Smart Tips for Staying Hydrated Throughout the Day
2. HidrateSpark STEEL Keeps Drinks Cold and You On Track
8 Water-Packed Foods to Help You Avoid Dehydration
You’ve no doubt heard the advice to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. But do you know where that advice for avoiding dehydration comes from, and if it’s still relevant? Sean Hashmi, MD, the regional physician director of weight management and clinical nutrition for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, says it originally came from a recommendation from the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board in 1945. (1) “But people misread the statement,” Hashmi says. “The second part of the sentence said most of that water you get from food.”
That said, you still need to drink water during the day to avoid health risks like kidney stones. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine, or IOM) generally recommends ½ ounce (oz) to 1 oz of fluid, including water, daily for each pound of body weight. That means if you weigh 150 pounds, you’d need between about 9½ and 18¾ cups of fluid per day. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need more. (2)
The exact amount you need also depends on factors including age, gender, and activity level, says Rachel Lustgarten, RD, a registered dietitian nutritionist with Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.
The good news for those who have a hard time sipping H2O all day: The foods you eat play a big role in keeping you hydrated. Shreela Sharma, an associate professor and registered dietitian at UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston, estimates about 20 percent of the body’s hydration needs come from foods. “These foods are not just hydrating, but also nutritious and provide various nutrients, including vitamins and fiber,” she says.
Another plus: You don’t have to overthink it. “If you are eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, this should not be hard,” says Julie Devinsky, RD, a clinical dietitian at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. To hit the mark, you can follow tried-and-true nutrition advice by aiming for two to three servings of fruit and five or more servings of veggies daily.
That said, some foods are more hydrating than others. “Foods that rehydrate are typically the ones that hold the most water,” says Garth Graham, MD, MPH, the president of the Aetna Foundation and a cardiologist based in Hartford, Connecticut.
Just keep in mind that the fruit or veggie will lose water if it’s cooked. “To optimize the hydration aspect of these foods, it’s best to eat them raw or minimally cooked,” Devinsky says. And for the best, most hydrating effect, enjoy these foods with a glass of water. “As much as it is important to eat your daily dose of fruits and vegetables, don’t use it as an excuse to skimp on water,” Devinsky says.
Muscle cramp – Symptoms and causes
A muscle cramp is a sudden and involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles. If you’ve ever been awakened in the night or stopped in your tracks by a sudden charley horse, you know that muscle cramps can cause severe pain. Though generally harmless, muscle cramps can make it temporarily impossible to use the affected muscle.
Long periods of exercise or physical labor, particularly in hot weather, can lead to muscle cramps. Some medications and certain medical conditions also may cause muscle cramps. You usually can treat muscle cramps at home with self-care measures.
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Most muscle cramps develop in the leg muscles, particularly in the calf. Besides the sudden, sharp pain, you might also feel or see a hard lump of muscle tissue beneath your skin.
When to see a doctor
Muscle cramps usually disappear on their own and are rarely serious enough to require medical care. However, see your doctor if your cramps:
- Cause severe discomfort
- Are associated with leg swelling, redness or skin changes
- Are associated with muscle weakness
- Happen frequently
- Don’t improve with self-care
- Aren’t associated with an obvious cause, such as strenuous exercise
Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp. In many cases, however, the cause isn’t known.
Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as:
- Inadequate blood supply. Narrowing of the arteries that deliver blood to your legs (arteriosclerosis of the extremities) can produce cramp-like pain in your legs and feet while you’re exercising. These cramps usually go away soon after you stop exercising.
- Nerve compression. Compression of nerves in your spine (lumbar stenosis) also can produce cramp-like pain in your legs. The pain usually worsens the longer you walk. Walking in a slightly flexed position — such as you would use when pushing a shopping cart ahead of you — may improve or delay the onset of your symptoms.
- Mineral depletion. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps. Diuretics — medications often prescribed for high blood pressure — also can deplete these minerals.
Factors that might increase your risk of muscle cramps include:
- Age. Older people lose muscle mass, so the remaining muscle can get overstressed more easily.
- Dehydration. Athletes who become fatigued and dehydrated while participating in warm-weather sports frequently develop muscle cramps.
- Pregnancy. Muscle cramps also are common during pregnancy.
- Medical conditions. You might be at higher risk of muscle cramps if you have diabetes, or nerve, liver or thyroid disorders.
These steps may help prevent cramps:
- Avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of liquids every day. The amount depends on what you eat, your sex, your level of activity, the weather, your health, your age and medications you take. Fluids help your muscles contract and relax and keep muscle cells hydrated and less irritable. During activity, replenish fluids at regular intervals, and continue drinking water or other fluids after you’re finished.
- Stretch your muscles. Stretch before and after you use any muscle for an extended period. If you tend to have leg cramps at night, stretch before bedtime. Light exercise, such as riding a stationary bicycle for a few minutes before bedtime, also may help prevent cramps while you’re sleeping.
March 03, 2021
- Muscle cramp. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00200. Accessed Nov. 18, 2015.
- Winkelman JW. Nocturnal leg cramps. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 18, 2015.
- Muscle cramps. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/approach-to-the-neurologic-patient/muscle-cramps. Accessed Nov. 18, 2015.
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Are You Dehydrated? 6 Signs You May Need to Drink Up
- Six to eight glasses
- Half your body weight in ounces
- At least two liters (including what’s in your food)
These rules of thumb aren’t bad or wrong, but they are just that: guidelines. There is no set amount for every single body. What keeps you hydrated may not be enough for me.
So how can you tell if you’re adequately hydrated or need to up the ounces? Listen to your body.
What dehydration looks and feels like
Proper hydration is essential for your body to function best. Fluids help preserve and provide nutrients to the brain, kidney, liver and heart.
While adequate hydration comes with no signs or symptoms, you can likely assume you’re hydrated if things are functioning properly and you feel well on a consistent basis.
If you’re not properly hydrated, however, your body will let you know.
Here are some signs and symptoms of dehydration:
When our bodies are dehydrated, they experience a decrease in blood volume. And when our brains aren’t getting enough blood flow, headaches can occur.
Dehydration headaches can be mild or severe. They can be felt in one specific area of the head or all over, and they usually get worse with movement. Some migraine sufferers even report dehydration as a trigger for their attacks.
Muscle cramps and aches
Cramping isn’t just an athlete’s problem, but exercise can contribute to dehydration, which is a common cause of muscle cramps.
Our muscles require plenty of water and electrolytes to do what we ask of them. Without enough fluid, our muscles can become extremely sensitive and spasm or contract involuntarily.
We need water to flush our bodies of cellular waste. A buildup of toxins can lead to inflammation, which often results in pain. Water, which helps lubricate our joints, can also help ward off joint pain and discomfort.
Dry mouth and bad breath
A glass of water may provide instant relief for a dry mouth and throat, but consistent hydration helps ensure that the mouth always produces enough saliva.
Saliva is vital in keeping the growth of bacteria in the mouth at bay. An overgrowth can lead to bad breath and tooth decay.
Lack of urine output
Most adults produce at least two cups of urine a day. Urination is critical in helping our bodies get rid of waste and toxins.
Decreased urine output can cause a number of complications, including infection. If you’re urinating less than three or four times a day, you may be dehydrated.
Dark, concentrated urine is often another sign of dehydration, and that can eventually cause kidney stones.
Inability to sweat
Sweating is the body’s way of cooling itself. Without perspiration, the body can overheat.
Heatstroke is a serious, sometimes fatal condition that can occur when our bodies reach a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Just feeling off
The majority of the brain is composed of water, and without enough of it, the brain’s energy supply can dip. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, lethargy, mood swings and even depression.
Difficulty concentrating at work or school can also be the result of even slight dehydration.
When in doubt, take a sip
When it comes to how much water you need and how often you need it, there are several variables involved. They include:
- Temperature and climate
- Body strength and size
Those who are ill, small or frail; those who live in warmer climates; and those who exercise often generally have greater hydration needs. But everyone really ought to make it a priority.
Just as you may carry a phone with you wherever you go, get in the habit of carrying a water bottle – and refill it as needed. Spread hydration out slowly over the course of the day. And when in doubt, take a sip! Many people are often surprised at how many issues and ailments can be remedied by simply improving their hydration levels.
Does Dehydration Cause Leg Cramps?
What are leg cramps?
If you’ve ever felt the muscles in your legs suddenly tighten, and become painful and stiff, you’ve experienced leg cramps. They usually last seconds, but in some cases can last up to ten minutes, or perhaps even longer . Some people may also get muscle spasms, or twitches. Scientists don’t agree on what causes leg cramps, why they vary in duration, or why some people get them, and others not at all. Does dehydration cause leg cramps? Here’s a rundown of what we know about leg cramps and hydration.
What causes leg cramps?
More than 100 years ago, scientists noticed that the occurrence of leg cramps were related to the amount of salt in your body, or perhaps lack thereof . You lose salt all the time, through everyday activities, but it often takes more extreme conditions—like exercise or the stomach flu—to throw your body’s salt levels off-balance. Scientists have theorized that having the wrong amount of salt in your body fluids may lead to cramps. Or rather, becoming dehydrated, which changes the amount of salt in your fluids, may lead to cramps.
Scientists have also observed that leg cramps occur more frequently in older age, in pregnancy, in liver disease, and if you take certain types of medications . Leg cramps are also often experienced during or straight after exercise; these are called Exercise-Associated-Muscle-Cramps, or EAMCs . In exercise you lose lots of salt and water, mostly through sweat, and you become dehydrated. This may explain why leg cramps occur more often in exercise. But it’s hard to say definitively that dehydration causes cramps.
The question, therefore, is how could these changes in salt and water levels in your body cause leg cramps?
What happens in a cramp?
A muscle cramp, twitch, or spasm, happens when the muscles in part of your body contract very suddenly, and remain contracted, sometimes for a long period of time.
When you want to contract a muscle, your nerves send a signal to the muscle telling it to get shorter. Your nerves open and close tiny holes that allow salt to move in and out of your cells (we can call them salt-gates) in order to make the signal, and transmit it to your muscles. Your muscles do the same thing, opening and closing salt-gates, in order to contract, and relax again.
If you are dehydrated, the amount of water and salt in your body changes, which might cause these salt-gates to function less frequently, or change the total amount of salt moving in and out of your cells. This could mess with the signals from your nerves to your muscles, and also within your muscles themselves, leading to twitching and cramp.
So, are cramps due to dehydration?
It’s hard to say whether dehydration causes leg cramps. As we’ve discussed, many people experience leg cramps for lots of reasons, not only during exercise—when you’re likely to lose water and salt—but also in lots of other situations that don’t make you dehydrated. Scientists have lots of theories about cramps and how they happen. Although one called the ‘electrolyte depletion hypothesis,’ is based on dehydration, we can’t rule out the others .
So, there may well be a link between leg cramps, twitching and spasms, and dehydration. Although it hasn’t been proven, it’s still a good idea to keep hydrated during and after exercise, and if you are experiencing leg cramps. Even if dehydration isn’t the cause, restoring the right balance of salt and water in your body will help you feel more energized, awake and ready to go. So it’s always a good idea to hydrate.
Are you concerned about your own hydration levels? Take the quiz below to find the best Hydrant for your hydration routine.
The Link Between Dehydration, Electrolyte Imbalance and Muscle Cramps
If you’re sleeping or are in the middle of a tough workout when a muscle cramp strikes, you know how painful and debilitating it can be. The painful, involuntary contraction of the muscle comes suddenly and without warning, leaving you to deal with the aftermath.
Muscle cramps are common and usually harmless, but they can wreck your day — or night — quickly. Find out more about muscle cramps, their causes, and what you can do to prevent them.
The Link Between Dehydration, Electrolyte Imbalance and Muscle Cramps
Overview of Muscle Cramps
A muscle cramp is a sudden and involuntary contraction of the muscle. Also known as a “charley horse,” a muscle cramp can be extremely painful and may occur after exercise, during sleep, or at other inconvenient times. Muscle cramps can last from a few seconds to upward of 15 minutes. It’s also likely that the same muscle will cramp several times until it resolves.
When we use the muscles that are controlled voluntarily, such as the skeletal muscles, they contract and relax for movement. The muscles of the core, neck, and head all contract and relax simultaneously to maintain posture. If an entire muscle, or a few muscle fibers, involuntarily contracts, it’s known as a “spasm.” If the spasm is forced and prolonged, it becomes a muscle cramp.
Muscle cramps are common after prolonged exercise or labor, especially in hot weather, and may be brought on by certain medical conditions or medications. While muscle cramps are generally harmless, they often restrict the use of the affected muscles and are incredibly painful. Fortunately, muscle cramps are usually treated successfully with self-care, and they can be prevented.
Types of Muscle Cramps
Skeletal muscle cramps have several types, all with different causes and affected muscle groups – let’s dive in a little deeper.
True Muscle Cramps
True muscle cramps typically involve a single muscle or group of muscles that contract and relax together for movement, such as the leg muscles. Experts agree that true muscle cramps are caused by the nerves that stimulate the muscles. These are the most common leg cramps in kids.
True muscle cramps occur during:
- Strenuous Activity or Injury: True muscle cramps are often associated with the use of muscles in sports or physical activities. They often occur during the activity, though they may come on later. Muscle spasms may also occur to protect an injury and stabilize the area, such as with a broken bone.
- Rest and Dehydration Cramps: Rest cramps are common in older individuals, but they can affect any age group. Rest muscle cramps occur at night and usually recur. The cause is unknown, but they may be brought on from movements that shorten muscles during sleep, such as pointing the toes. These cramps can be disturbing to sleep patterns. Dehydration cramps occur from sports and physical activities that result in excessive fluid loss from sweating and hot weather. Excessive depletion of bodily fluids, combined with low fluid intake, rids the body of necessary electrolytes and water.
- Water Balance and Electrolyte Cramps: Cramps may be caused by conditions that lead to an unusual water balance in the body, such as liver disease and ascites or kidney failure and dialysis. Low electrolytes, particularly magnesium and calcium, affect the excitability of the nerves and the corresponding muscles. Imbalance of these electrolytes is common in pregnant women. It can also be caused by diuretic abuse, hyperventilation, vomiting, diarrhea, and inadequate dietary sources, such as a Vitamin D deficiency.
With tetany, all of the nerve cells in the body are activated at once, stimulating the muscles. This causes spasms and cramping throughout the muscle groups. Tetany can be caused by low blood calcium or magnesium. This type of cramping may also cause a sensation of tingling or numbness in specific areas.
Dystonic cramps involve the stimulation of muscle groups that aren’t necessary for a particular motion, or the opposing muscles of the muscle needed for movement. Some examples include the small groups of muscles that work in opposition such as the muscles of the jaws for chewing. Repetitive activities, such as writing or playing musical instruments, can cause dystonic cramps in the specific muscle groups.
Causes of Muscle Cramps
The most common causes of muscle cramps include dehydration, muscle strain, overuse, and extended periods of exercise.
Muscle cramps may also be caused by certain medical conditions, including:
- Poor Circulation: Arteriosclerosis, or the narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the leg muscles, can result in pain that’s similar to muscle cramps. In most cases, the cramps resolve after exercise or strenuous activity ends.
- Nerve Compression: Lumbar stenosis, or the compression of nerves in your spine, can sensations similar to leg cramps. The pain typically worsens with exercise.
- Mineral Depletion: An imbalance of electrolytes, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium can lead to muscle cramps. Overhydration or the use of diuretics can deplete the electrolytes in your system and lead to an imbalance.
Certain factors may increase the likelihood of developing muscle cramps, including pregnancy, age, dehydration, and medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorders, and liver disease.
Symptoms of Muscle Cramps
Leg muscles, particularly the calves, are most susceptible to muscle cramps. The symptoms include a sudden, sharp pain and a hard lump of muscle tissue at the affected site.
Muscle cramps usually resolve on their own, but there are some cases that require medical attention. These include:
- Severe pain
- Corresponding swelling, redness, or skin abnormalities
- Muscle weakness
- Frequent cramping
- No improvement with self-treatment
- No obvious cause
Treating Muscle Cramps
Most muscle cramps resolve on their own, but you can speed up the process with a few self-care measures, including:
- Replenishing lost fluids and electrolytes
- Gently stretching the affected muscles
- Relaxing in a warm bath or shower
- Gently massaging the affected muscles
- Applying an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling
- Resting the affected areas
Preventing Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps have a variety of causes and risk factors, but with proper preparation and planning, you can give yourself a fighting chance against this uncomfortable condition.
Whether you’re planning a long-distance run, a vigorous hike, a quick workout, or a good night’s rest, stretching is a great way to warm up your muscles and prevent cramping. Before any exercise, it’s important to do a warm-up stretch and a cool-down stretch to keep the muscles limber. If you experience nocturnal leg cramps, try light, easy stretching before bed or a half-hour of yoga for loose muscles.
Fluid intake is necessary for the contraction and relaxation of muscles, healthy muscle cells, and a variety of other functions within the body. For exercise, water is necessary to maintain adequate blood volume, which helps your muscles get the oxygen they need to function optimally. Sip water throughout the day, and if you’re planning labor or exercise, be sure to hydrate before, during, and after so you can replenish what you’ve lost through sweat. In hot-weather workouts, it’s even more important to replenish fluids because you’ll be losing more due to sweating and an elevated body temperature.
How much water should you drink? Everyone’s water needs vary, but you can monitor your hydration levels in a number of ways:
- Pay Attention to Thirst Triggers: If you’re thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated.
- Excessive Sweating: Excessive sweating through strenuous workouts or workouts in hot weather means you’re losing fluids. Drink more to compensate for the fluid losses.
- Monitor Urine Concentration: Dark, concentrated urine is a sign of dehydration. Pale, yellow urine is a sign of optimal hydration levels. If your urine is nearly clear and of high volume, however, it’s a sign that you need to replenish electrolytes.
Electrolytes are important minerals that are used for various functions within the body, such as maintaining water balance, regulating blood chemistry, and controlling muscle action. Common electrolytes include sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
When the electrolytes in your body are too high or too low, you can develop unpleasant symptoms like mental confusion, dizziness, irregular heart rhythm, and muscle cramps. While there are many potential causes of electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, such as through fluid loss, is most common.
Unfortunately, just replacing lost fluids isn’t enough to replenish electrolytes and prevent cramping. If you lose a lot of water through sweat during a tough workout, drinking more water will only flush out more electrolytes. They’re both parts of the equation, so you need to take in lost electrolytes as well as fluids to restore balance in the body.
It’s best to eat electrolyte-rich foods that help with muscle cramps and drink fluids infused with electrolytes, particularly sodium, potassium, and chloride. Also, athletes engaging in vigorous physical activities in hot environments may benefit from carbohydrates, which provide energy to fuel muscles.
Stop Muscle Cramps in Their Tracks With Buoy
If you’re worried about muscle cramps putting an end to your workout or disrupting a night of rest, add Buoy to your cramp-prevention routine. The liquid, squeezable hydration boost is the perfect way to replenish chloride, potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium via all-natural hand-harvested sea salt. Just squeeze their proprietary and formula of electrolytes, B Vitamins, and antioxidants into your water, workout beverage, or favorite before-bed drink to give your body what it needs to stave off unpleasant muscle cramps.
Start squeezing Buoy into your favorite drinks throughout the day for optimal hydration!
Muscle cramps, Stop muscle cramps, Preventing muscle cramps, Foods that help with muscle cramps, Leg cramps, Leg cramps in kids, Dehydration, Hydration, Electrolytes
- Arteriosclerosis / atherosclerosis. (2018, April 24). Retrieved June 23, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350569
- Spinal stenosis. (2018, March 08). Retrieved June 23, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/spinal-stenosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352961
- Muscle cramp. (2019, January 03). Retrieved June 24, 2020, from https://www. mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-cramp/symptoms-causes/syc-20350820
- Lau, W., Kato, H., & Nosaka, K. (2019, March 5). Water intake after dehydration makes muscles more susceptible to cramp but electrolytes reverse that effect. Retrieved June 24, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6407543/
- Jung, A., Bishop, P., Al-Nawwas, A., & Dale, R. (2005, June). Influence of Hydration and Electrolyte Supplementation on Incidence and Time to Onset of Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps. Retrieved June 24, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1150229/
- National Institute for Youth Sports & Health at Sanford. (n.d.). Muscle Cramps during Exercise-Is It Fatigue or Electrolyte… : Current Sports Medicine Reports. Retrieved June 24, 2020, from https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2008/07001/muscle_cramps_during_exercise_is_it_fatigue_or.9.aspx
Muscle Cramps and Leg Pain – Consumer Health News
Muscle cramps are a common ailment, especially in the legs and feet. Since muscle cramps are sometimes caused by dehydration (loss of water) and low levels of potassium, they frequently strike in hot weather, when your body loses water, salt, and minerals through sweating. Drinking plenty of water and eating foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, may help to ward off cramps.
You can also get a cramp while exercising, particularly if you overexert yourself. (This is why athletes are more prone to muscle cramps early in the season, before their bodies are at peak condition.) But cramps can even occur when you’re sleeping.
Older people are more susceptible to muscle cramps due to the natural muscle loss that begins in our mid-40s. We also tend to be less active as we get older, and our bodies are less sensitive to thirst and more susceptible to dehydration, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). According to the AAOS, because we lose muscle mass as we age, our muscles can’t work as hard or eliminate waste as quickly as they used to, resulting in more frequent cramping.
Most muscle cramps don’t last very long, though some can go on for 15 minutes or longer. If you do get muscle cramps, a few simple tips can ease the pain and loosen the cramp.
What to do
- Gently massage the cramped muscle.
- Stretch the cramped muscle. If the cramp is in your calf muscle, bring your foot up toward your shin. If the cramp is in the front of your thigh, bend your knee and pull your foot toward your buttocks. Hold the stretch until the cramp subsides.
- Drink water or a sports drink.
- For tight, rigid muscles, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends applying heat. For muscles that are tender or sore, which may be inflamed, applying ice may help.
Muscle cramps while swimming
It’s a myth that eating before swimming will give you muscle cramps. Still, cramps in the water aren’t uncommon. If you get a cramp, try to stretch out the affected muscle while floating in the water. If the cramp is in your calf muscle, for example, flex your foot up, toes toward your shin. Once the cramp relaxes, swim to shore. If possible, use a different stroke than the one you were using when the cramp appeared, to avoid causing another. If you become exhausted, don’t panic. Relax and float on your back until you regain your strength. (You can also float on your stomach and massage the cramp if necessary.)
As a precaution, don’t swim alone if you are not a good swimmer, or if you don’t think you could easily make it to shore if you got a muscle cramp.
Dealing with shin splints
Shin splints — pain in the front of the lower legs — may occur after a downhill hike or when you begin an exercise regimen more strenuous than your previous activity. They can also happen to people who run or hike long distances regularly because long periods of heavy exertion causes inflammation in the membrane that attaches muscles to your tibia, causing excruciating pain with each step.
For shin splints, apply an ice pack for 15 minutes. If the shin is still painful, consider taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. If the shin splint occurred after a bout of strenuous exercise, give the muscles a chance to rest by taking a little time off from intense exercise, then gradually return to your former level of activity.
How to avoid exercise-related leg cramps and pain
- Warm up and stretch before any activity, and cool down with slow exercise and some stretches afterward.
- Drink plenty of water before and after exercise, especially when it’s hot and humid. Remember to drink water before you feel thirsty and drink more than you need to quench your thirst.
- Get plenty of potassium in your diet. Good sources include bananas, orange juice, and potatoes.
- If you tend to get cramps at night, take a warm bath before going to bed. The heat helps loosen tight muscles.
- Improve your overall fitness and flexibility. This can help prevent future cramping.
When to seek medical care
Sometimes leg pain can be a sign of medical conditions that require a doctor’s attention. Such conditions include arthritis, sciatica (inflammation of the nerve that runs down the back of the leg), phlebitis (inflammation of veins in the legs), or peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition that results in poor circulation in the legs.
Severe leg pain, swelling, and tenderness after an injury can also be a sign of bone fracture. Aching or itching in the legs maybe a symptom of varicose veins, those prominent blue or purple veins on the legs or ankles. If you have the following symptoms, call your doctor:
- Persistent pain in your leg
- Visible redness, a feeling of heat, or pain along the course of a vein in your leg
- Swelling in one leg
- Numbness, cold, or unusual color in one leg
- Repeated cramps or leg pain even after mild exercise such as walking
If you experience repeated cramps or chronic leg pain, you should talk with your doctor, whether your leg pain happens while resting, exercising, or in bed.
American Medical Association. Handbook of First Aid and Emergency Care. 2000.
American College of Emergency Physicians, First Aid Manual, 2001.
The American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Muscle Cramp. May 2010.
Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Potassium in diet. May 26, 2010.
Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Leg pain. Aug 8, 2009.
Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Broken bone. May 2, 2009.
MayoClinic.com. Varicose Veins. Jan 16, 2009.
MayoClinic.com. Thrombophlebitis. Jan 30, 2009.
Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Numbness and tingling. April 21, 2009.
Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service. General Water Safety.
Where do seizures come from and what to do with them
What are seizures
A seizure is a sudden and most often involuntary contraction of one or more muscles. Usually the legs cramp: the muscles of the back of the calf, as well as the front and back of the thigh, are affected. But the muscles of the arms, wrists, abdominal wall, and shoulder girdle are not insured either.
In most cases, doctors consider this condition, although painful, but harmless. Especially if the muscle spasm is of a one-time nature and does not last long.However, there are combinations of symptoms that require an urgent visit to the doctor.
But first, let’s look at the most common causes of seizures.
Why there are convulsions
Where muscle spasm comes from is not completely clear to science. Often, the cause cannot be established (however, if the convulsion is one-time, we do not really try).
But there are situations that often precede a spasm. Here are the seven most common causes of 90,017 seizures.
Often, spasms are the result of an overly energetic approach to equipment in the gym. The resulting sprains and other microtraumas during the healing process can be accompanied by not only pain (sore throat), but also muscle cramps.
2. Circulatory disorders
A classic example is tunnel syndrome. This is the scourge of those who spend too much time with a computer mouse in hand. Due to the constant, fixed and unnatural position of the wrist, blood circulation in the muscles is impaired.The consequence of this can be both pain and muscle weakness, and cramps.
A couple more common special cases:
- Uncomfortable shoes . Shoes with unusually high heels, uncomfortable last, flip flops, which have to be held on the foot, tucking the toes. The muscles become so accustomed to the unnatural tension that then, when you finally get rid of the “Spanish boot”, they cannot relax, they are cramped.
- Uncomfortable sleeping position .Sore arms, legs, neck – all this is also a sign of circulatory disorders and can provoke 90,017 seizures at night.
3. Overheating and / or dehydration
It doesn’t matter what exactly causes the overheating: summer heat, intense physical activity or, let’s say, high temperature due to infections. The main thing is that along with the sweat released, the body loses not only moisture, but also electrolytes, which are necessary for the correct transmission of nerve impulses. Muscles react to this, including cramps.
4. Mineral depletion
Lack of potassium, calcium or magnesium can prevent muscles from relaxing. And this leads to seizures.
5. Nervous strain or neurological disorders
In such conditions, it is often difficult for the muscles to relax. You already know about the consequences.
Leg cramps are familiar to many expectant mothers. The reasons for this are still not entirely clear to doctors .
7. Certain diseases and taking certain medications
Muscle cramps often accompany such ailments as diabetes, kidney problems, thyroid disorders.They can also be a side effect of taking certain medications . For example, furosemide and other diuretics, as well as drugs for the treatment of angina pectoris, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and others.
What to do in case of seizures
Fortunately, it is quite easy to get rid of a seizure in most cases. Here are some common first aid measures .
1. Stretch the affected muscle, give a light massage
This will help the spasmodic muscle relax.For example, very common leg cramps can be relieved by sitting down, straightening your legs and pulling the toe of the affected limb towards you.
Use cold or hot compresses
Apply a towel moistened with warm water or a sheet with a heating element to the muscle. You can take a warm bath or hydromassage by directing jets of water from the shower to the spasmodic muscle.
Cold will be just as effective. Wrap a bag of ice or frozen vegetables in a towel and gently massage the muscle.
3. Take pain reliever
For example, ibuprofen . It will also help to relax the spasmodic muscle.
When seizures are dangerous
Muscle spasm can be a symptom of a serious malfunction of an internal organ or the body as a whole. For example, cirrhosis of the liver, type I diabetes mellitus, developing neurological disorders, in particular epilepsy, often make themselves felt with convulsions.
There is another danger. A spasm can affect not only large muscles, but also smooth muscles that make up the membranes of internal organs.Spasms of these muscles are sometimes deadly. For example, a spasm of the bronchi can lead to respiratory arrest, and a spasm of the coronary arteries can lead to poor performance, or even cardiac arrest.
Experts at the Mayo Clinic Research Center recommend to seek medical help as soon as possible if convulsions:
- Occur frequently – several times a day or several days in a row. This is a reason to be wary and consult a specialist.
- Cause severe, almost unbearable discomfort.
- Are accompanied by edema, redness or any other changes in the color and structure of the skin.
- Combined with high fever and headache.
- Cause severe muscle weakness.
If you do not observe any of the listed symptoms, you can exhale: most likely, spasms will not threaten you with anything dangerous. Nevertheless, it is still worthwhile to figure out their origin. At least in order to rid yourself of similar painful sensations in the future.
How to treat cramps
If cramps give you discomfort (they wake you up at night or lasts a long time, despite massage and compresses), go to the therapist. To identify abnormalities in the body, the doctor will ask you a few questions. For example:
- How often do you have seizures?
- Which muscles do they affect?
- Are you taking any medications?
- How often do you drink alcohol?
- What is your lifestyle and physical activity?
- How much liquid do you drink daily?
Blood and urine tests may be required for a more complete diagnosis.With their help, the doctor will find out the level of trace elements, and will also be able to check the condition of the kidneys and thyroid gland. In some cases, electromyography is prescribed. This is a test that measures muscle activity and diagnoses existing abnormalities in their work.
As a result, the doctor will determine the disease, the symptom of which is convulsions, and prescribe specific treatment.
How to Prevent Cramps
Given the most common causes of muscle cramps, prevention is obvious:
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Do not abuse alcohol. Among other things, it is a powerful diuretic and causes fluid loss.
- Warm up regularly to avoid circulatory problems.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Try to avoid stress and nervous strain. You should have adequate rest and sleep.
- Make sure your diet is complete and includes foods rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium: sour milk, cereals, leafy greens, nuts, and so on.
- Take mineral complexes and supplements as needed. Naturally, do this after consulting a therapist.
How to know if you are dehydrated
Two liters of water a day as a prerequisite for a healthy lifestyle. A glass of cool water before meals to check if thirst is disguised as hunger. Half a glass of water every hour on a hot day to prevent heatstroke. We are sure that you can easily continue this list of the unconditional usefulness of water for the body.
We used to think that if you don’t drink enough water, you will be dehydrated. Is this really so – we are investigating right now.
What is dehydration
As you know, the human body consists of more than 50% water. Moreover, we need water not only for the normal functioning of the brain, but for the functioning of all body systems in general – from the digestive to the respiratory. And this is the reason why nutritionists insist that people consume enough fluids.
The situation can become critical if a person does not receive water on a hot day or during intense physical activity. In other cases, fortunately, you can do without medical help.
Experts note that even moderate dehydration – 1-2% of body weight – can provoke noticeable symptoms. We will talk about the most common of them below.
If your skin is generally dry rather than normal or oily, then this certainly cannot be a symptom.But if dry skin is atypical, it is definitely worth paying attention to. Keep in mind that we lose enough moisture through the skin, not only in heat, but also in cool weather (in those cases, for example, when the air outside is too dry).
One of the most effective ways to control the hydration of the body is to monitor urination. If this happens several times a day, in large portions, and the urine itself is light, then everything is in order. Well, if on the contrary, then you urgently need a couple of glasses of water.
We have already discussed that not having enough water and watery foods in the diet can cause bad breath. This is because even with a little dehydration, not only the skin, but also the oral cavity dries out. The lack of saliva, in turn, provokes the growth of bacteria on the teeth and gums – hence the result.
Oh yes, thirst is a great disguise for hunger. A review of research on the topic found that adults with markers of dehydration tended to have higher body weights.So if you are constantly hungry for unexplained reasons, try drinking more water to see if this is the case.
Not so long ago, we wrote about products that have a laxative effect. And water, if you remember, was on this list. The fact is that a lack of water leads to dryness and density of feces, which makes it difficult to remove them from the body in a natural way and is often accompanied by bloating and other uncomfortable sensations.
Fatigue and headache
Studies show that it is a lack of water that can cause fatigue on days when you are not doing anything or have enough rest. Participants in one experiment specifically described their condition as “tired, lethargic, and lack of energy.” In terms of headaches, another experiment showed that in women, even 1.36% dehydration can cause headaches.
The good news is that most dehydration can be controlled by drinking water regularly.But if you notice any of the symptoms of severe dehydration, including stomach cramps, cramps, or shooting pain in the head, see your doctor as soon as possible to rule out any risks.
90,000 how and when to call an ambulance for a child
Some parents wonder whether to call an ambulance at a high temperature, and some call 03 at the slightest discomfort. Experts identify seven main reasons for calling an emergency medical service to a child:
1.Breathing problems (shortness of breath)
The essence of shortness of breath is a violation of the supply of a sufficient amount of oxygen to the body, and an attempt to compensate for this violation with more intense breathing. Dyspnea most often develops due to foreign body aspiration (inhaled and choked), bronchial asthma, upper respiratory tract infection, or pneumonia. Signs of shortness of breath include coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing (especially puffing up the wings of the nose, and using the chest and neck muscles to breathe), grunting, speech interruptions, or blue skin.
Ø The child’s respiratory rate is more than 50-60 breaths per minute
Ø The child has severe cyanosis around the mouth
Ø These symptoms do not improve over time, or even get worse.
2. Bone fracture
In most cases, parents can easily deliver the child to the emergency department on their own.
Ø The child writhes in pain, you cannot relieve it with antipyretic syrup or suppository
Ø A piece of bone sticks out just under the skin
Ø Injury to the head or neck
Ø The child has a changed level of consciousness (for example, excessively inhibited).
3. Severe dehydration
The most common causes of severe dehydration are vomiting and / or diarrhea. Not every vomiting or diarrhea requires a call to the emergency medical service, it is usually sufficient to give the child water frequently and fractionally, compensating for the loss of fluid and salts.
Ø The child does not answer you, or answers inadequately
Ø The child writhes with severe cramps and unrelenting abdominal pain (this may indicate appendicitis, kidney stones, and other dangerous conditions).
4. A seizure attack
In infants and preschoolers, a rapid rise in temperature can cause febrile seizures. Most seizures associated with fever are not an emergency. Convulsions without fever usually have a more severe prognosis.
Ø The attack lasts more than three to five minutes
Ø The child has difficulty breathing or turns blue
Ø After the seizure seizure stops, the child cannot return to his normal mental state.
Falls from great heights are especially dangerous for the head, spine or internal organs. If you suspect a head injury, talk to your child and make sure he or she answers the questions adequately.
Ø The child has vomited more than once after an injury.
Ø He loses consciousness
Ø The child complains of numbness or tingling in the body
Ø You have reason to suspect damage to internal organs
Ø You have reason to suspect a neck or spine injury. In case of possible injury to the neck or spine, do not try to move your child. Ambulance personnel will fix the spine before transporting the child to the hospital.
6. Cuts and bleeding
If your child is bleeding, apply pressure to the wound, wait for the bleeding to stop and assess the extent of the damage. Children who need stitches generally should not call emergency medical services – they may very well be brought to the emergency room by their parents.
Ø Your child has a bleeding disorder
Ø You cannot stop the bleeding.
7. Suspected poisoning
In this situation, an ambulance should be called immediately as soon as you find symptoms of poisoning: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, confusion. If you realize that the child has gotten to the medication and has swallowed any of them, call an ambulance and look for medicine packs.You will need to tell the doctors the name of the drug and the approximate amount the child could have swallowed.
What to do in case of leg cramps? | HEALTH: Medicine | HEALTH
About why there is a spasm in the calf muscles and how to behave if the pain is taken by surprise, told neurologist Marina Knyazeva.
Involuntary muscle contraction, sharp pain … When a spasm occurs in the water, the main thing is not to panic.First of all, people suffering from diseases of the spine are susceptible to seizures. But even a completely healthy person may have problems. A sharp muscle contraction can be triggered by hypothermia. Therefore, enter the water gradually so that the hot body gets used to the temperature difference. Fast swimming for an unprepared person is a significant physical activity that causes a spasm.
Dehydration can also provoke seizures. Lack of water in the body leads to a violation of the water-salt balance, therefore, while relaxing on the beach, you must definitely drink water.
If you feel that the calf muscle is cramped and you are not far from the shore, then the first thing to do is to get out of the water.
More than 80% of people on the planet suffer from leg cramps. A spasm can be found not only in water, but also during sleep, walking. Most often, middle-aged and older people are affected by this problem.
Then sit or lie on the sand and perform the following exercise: pull your fingers towards you – the heel away from you. Then massage the foot, pinch the calf, prick the leg with a pin – mechanical irritation is important.The painful effect will help to cope with the seizure.
If a spasm occurs, and you are far from the shore, then the most important thing is not to panic and try to quickly swim to the shore. It is necessary to perform the following exercises: either roll over onto your back, take a deep breath and, holding your foot, pull your leg to your stomach; or, taking a deep breath, dive headlong and pull your toes in the water. You need to swim to the shore calmly, distributing the maximum load on the arms (the movement of the legs is minimized).
Protection on a plate
Convulsions can be triggered by a lack of minerals in the body – primarily potassium, calcium and magnesium, as well as a number of B vitamins. Therefore, in order to protect yourself from sharp muscle pain, you need to adjust your diet. In the daily menu, you should increase the amount of foods containing essential trace elements. There is a lot of calcium in fermented milk products – cottage cheese, cheese … Potassium can be obtained from bananas, cabbage.In general, it is worth adding legumes, vegetables and fruits to the diet. And it is extremely important to observe the drinking regime
Muscle spasms – causes, examination and treatment in Astrakhan | Symptoms
The use of certain drugs (some antihypertensive, anti-asthma, oral contraceptives)
Sudden discontinuation of the drug (sedatives, alcohol, drugs for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety)
Electrolyte imbalances and hormonal imbalances (hypomagnesemia, hypomagnesemia, hypomagnesemia hypocalcemia, alcoholism, hypothyroidism)
Musculoskeletal system disorders (calf muscle tension, myopathies, flat feet or recurvation of the knee joint)
Nervous system disorders (motor neuron disease, peripheral neuropathy nerve)
Violations of the water balance (dehydration, excessive sweating with insufficient replenishment of salt or potassium, the effects of dialysis)
Exercise and lifestyle (spasms during physical physical exertion or immediately after them, staying in a sitting position for a long time)
Interview and inspection
First, doctors ask the patient about his symptoms and medical history. asking the following questions:
- when cramping occurs;
- how long they last;
- how often occur;
- where exactly they appear;
- Is there any provoking factor;
- Are there any other symptoms;
- absence of menstruation or irregularity of the menstrual cycle;
- vomiting, diarrhea, use of diuretics, excessive exercise and sweating;
- weakness, pain, or loss of sensation;
90,031 Difficulty handling colds, weight gain and rough, thick skin;
90,031 drug and alcohol use, recent dialysis.
The doctor then conducts a physical examination, which is primarily aimed at conducting a neurological examination, including assessing the condition of muscles and reflexes. Doctors also examine the skin for alcoholism, hypothyroidism, and dehydration.
The data obtained by doctors during the taking of anamnesis and examination often indicate the cause of the disease and the research that may be required.
Taking into account the received data.the doctor may prescribe the following types of examinations:
- various blood tests, including those to determine the level of sugar and electrolytes;
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and spinal cord.
If a medical condition is identified that can cause muscle spasms, appropriate treatment is given. Taking into account the symptoms, the doctor may prescribe:
90 040 90 000 Dehydration at high body temperature during ARVI and influenza
Fever is believed to be the most common symptom of illness in children. Each child has a disease at least once a year, which is accompanied by an increase in body temperature (fever).
Acute respiratory viral infectious diseases (ARVI) and FLU are the most common diseases that are accompanied by an increase in body temperature (fever) in both children and adults. The main danger of fever with FLU and ARVI is dehydration.
It is known that for every 1 ° C increase in temperature, body fluid losses increase by about 10% of normal daily losses. Fluid losses come with sweat, incl. when using antipyretics and with exhaled air.
The body loses water and sodium salts.
This increases the load on the heart and blood vessels, which in general negatively affects the well-being of the child and adult.Young children may develop seizures due to high fever and dehydration.
Signs of dehydration can include dry lips, tongue, mucous membranes of the mouth and nose, irregularities in eye moisture, decreased skin elasticity on the back of the hands and feet.
The correct drinking regimen is able to support the body of a sick person and prevent possible complications.
Drinking only water or various drinks that are not intended to eliminate the phenomena of dehydration often cannot solve the problem, since the body loses water and salt in a certain ratio.
Part of the daily fluid you drink should be presented with glucose-salt solutions with a suitable concentration for this case, for example, Regidron Bio.
Salts included in Regidron Bio will compensate for the loss of salts by the body. Glucose will help the salts pass from the intestines into the bloodstream. Lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, which are contained in Regidron Bio, have a positive effect on the intestinal biocenosis and improve the body’s immune resistance to viral infection.
90,000 Causes of leg cramps at night: what to do
Many of us are familiar with this unpleasant sensation – in the middle of the night we turn over on the other side or just slightly change our posture, and suddenly a painful cramps convulse our leg.Moreover, the spasm does not want to pass in any way, and the sleep is interrupted for a long time. There are several ways to quickly relieve pain and discomfort in your calf muscles and feet. We will list the main ones – but first, let’s figure out what the causes of night cramps can be.
Overwork and health problems The state of the muscular system depends on many factors – on the level of vitamins and nutrients in the body, on the received physical activity, on the mental state of a person.Therefore, if your legs are often cramped at night, the first step is to assess your daily routine, diet and stress level. Seizures arise from: not enough fluid – even mild dehydration, such as sweating profusely during a cold, can cause them; taking diuretic teas and medicines – in this case, there seems to be enough water, but at the same time the liquid leaves the body, and again there is a deficiency of useful ions and electrolytes; lack of potassium and calcium in the presence of heart, kidney, joint diseases – seizures are often accompanied by diabetes and osteochondrosis, sciatica, brain damage; stress – it has been proven that against the background of nervous experiences, the level of vitamins often falls and the hormonal balance changes, which affects the condition of the muscles. In addition, cramps can be the result of unusual and excessive physical exertion, in which sufficient blood and oxygen does not enter the legs. Cramps are common in pregnant women and usually resolve after childbirth. Of course, older people over 50 suffer from night cramps more often – but young people can also bend their legs. How to quickly relieve pain and tension? If seizures occur frequently, several times a week, it is necessary to find out which of the causes they are caused and to deal with it.But of course, the first step is just to get rid of the spasm and regain the ability to fall asleep. The best way to get rid of the spasm is to sit down, stretch your legs horizontally in front of you, and forcefully pull your toes towards you with your hands. Massage the contracted muscle vigorously until the spasm completely disappears. Getting out of bed and walking around the room barefoot a little – the muscles will quickly return to normal. Regular night cramps indicate disruptions in the body – and if they appear, this is a reason to take care of your health.