Why Do Our Muscles Cramp Up at Night?

Muscle cramping is an over-activation or contraction of a muscle. Although it can happen anywhere it typically occurs in the calves because these are the muscles that use the most energy in the body. While it’s easy to know when you’re having a muscle cramp, it can be harder to figure out why you’re experiencing one. Here are a few reasons you may be experiencing cramping:

  • Dehydration (electrolyte imbalance): The way our muscles are activated involves a balance of electric signals and ions. Dehydration changes the pool of signals. By changing that signal, your muscles have difficulty processing the correct signals. This over activity results in pain and cramping so make sure to stay hydrated!
  • Prolonged Static Stretch: It’s common to get a muscle strain after holding a position for a prolonged period. Doing something your body isn’t trained to do will constantly activate muscle and break it down a little bit. That breakdown will cause a buildup of lactic acid which may trigger the muscle to go into spasms. You can avoid this by keeping the body moving and not overstretching the muscles.
  • Inadequate Blood Supply (circulation): This literally means you aren’t getting enough blood flow to your legs or arms. It’s usually due to a buildup of cholesterol in your blood, but it could also be due to a pinched artery or certain medications. This can be avoided by stretching the muscles daily, will increase circulation throughout the body and reduce cramping.

Contributed by:
Dustin Gonzales
Health & Fitness Professional


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