Night Cramps

As anyone who has experienced them, night cramps can be excruciating. Night cramps can occur in any muscle, at any time of night. For me, they happen in my feet and legs, generally after 3:00 a.m. in the morning.

I do not suffer from muscle cramps at all during the day and although I spend most of my day sitting, be it at a desk or piano, I do walk for at least 40 minutes a minimum of four times a week. While I could be more active and perhaps work out at a gym, I think at 65 I am beyond trying to have a “six pack” or be buff. Those days are long behind me, never to return.

At 193-196lbs I am little overweight for my height, skeleton and age at 65 years young, I don’t believe I have any real health issues. Except, of course, for the night cramps.

For me, they are typically extremely painful and, at least in the recent, past, my only solution was to “leap” out of bed and put as much weight on the offending leg, if only one of them is cramping, as I can. Shortly thereafter the cramp will go away. Shortly being a minute or two. The problem is that there is no guarantee that it won’t return the minut I lie down again.

I don’t have blood pressure issues either. So I do wonder what exactly it is that brings on the night cramps. I drink a reasonable quantity of water and probably too much coffee, tea and wine (2 glasses) on a daily basis.

It has always been my understanding that a lack of potassium is the problem. As a fan of fresh, slightly green – i.e. no black spots, bananas, I took to eating at least 1 banana a day. To supplement the fresh banana I also purchased various potassium supplements and started ingesting at least 595mg a day, sometimes as much as 1,000mg a day. The results were poor. I continued to get night cramps.

The Solution

One day, we were out with friends from our church having lunch at Toppers pizza and my friend, who is in the renovation industry, confessed that he too has suffered from night cramps. He is in excellent shape compared to me and leads an extremely actively lifestyle. Clearly, lack of activity is not my problem. Bill suggested I try a magnesium supplement. The night cramps can be so severe I said I’d try pretty much anything, so I did go out and buy 2 large bottles of magnesium.

The first day I took 1,000mg to give myself an initial boost. For 2 days I had no cramps at all. Then I started to have mild, short lived cramps that I could “relax” my way out of. For a week or two I tried various doses of magnesium but nothing really changed. Most nights I’d have mild cramps, mostly around my ankle, sometimes in my calf muscle.

So I change my regimen to include 595mg of potassium plus 250mg of magnesium. These are just the cheapest supplements I could find, not fancy “high absorption”, “natural” or whatever supplements that cost 3 times the cheapos.

After a week, I am basically night cramp free. If I skip a day because I forgot to take my supplements, the night cramps return the same day. On the other hand, the same day I go back on my dosage my night cramps disappear.

If you are suffering from night cramps, give this a try. You just may find it helps. Let me know !