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This One Weird Trick Will Get Rid of Those Annoying Nighttime Leg Cramps!
It seems to happen to all of us at time or another: there you are sound asleep, when you are suddenly woken up in the night with a leg cramp so powerful and so painful it makes you jump out of bed!
This is much more common than you might think and is harmless, even if it is painful. Most people experience these cramps in the calf, foot, or thigh. No one is immune, but studies show that they do tend to become more common as we age. About 1 out of every 3 Americans over the age of 60 get some type of nighttime leg or foot cramp about once a month.
The exact cause as to why we get these cramps at night and not during daylight hours is unknown. Doctors and researchers have their suspicions, however, including:
- Pregnancy, especially in the later stages
- Extreme exercise – When you exercise a lot, your muscles get tired and later start to spasm from overuse
- Dehydration – If you are severely dehydrated your body loses fluids and salt. Depleted salt levels in the body can cause the muscles to contract
- Vitamin or mineral deficiencies
- Medical problems – Including thyroid disease, MS, and kidney disease
- Certain types of prescription medications
- Certain types of infections
- Lead or mercury in the body
- Condition that affect circulation (such as peripheral arterial disease
- Birth control pills
We will talk about some of the things you can do if you get hit with one of those killer cramps, but first, let’s talk about that weird little trick that seems to work for almost everyone who tries it. Ready? It’s soap.
No, we are not kidding! Studies have been done showing that this method really works, although no one really understands why. Simply unwrap a bar of soap and place it between the sheets at the foot of the bed. That’s it. Some people like to touch it with their feet before they go to sleep, but you don’t have to. Just put it at the bottom of your bed and forget about it.
One of the keys to getting this trick to work is making sure that you are using a bar of real soap. It can be scented or unscented, doesn’t matter, but it must be REAL soap. Read the label carefully. Do not use anything that calls itself a “beauty” bar or “complexion” bar, as these are generally nothing more than a bunch of chemicals and perfume. Many people use plain old Ivory soap, but the brand does not matter as long as it is real soap made from fat (or tallow) and lye. If the product you want to use actually says “SOAP” on the label, you are good to go.
Don’t worry, it won’t melt and it won’t make a mess of the sheets. That bar of soap pretty much just sits there, doing whatever it is that bars of soap do to prevent nighttime leg and foot cramps.
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