That’s a good question, but from what I can gather nobody has a definitive answer. I get cramps in my legs, and have done so for years. A cramp in the calf will certainly get you out of bed at night. Flying will bring on cramps that night that will get you up and walking around more than a few times.
There are a lot of theories about what causes leg cramps at night, and I think I have seen most of them. Joan and I, we both get cramps at night, so one of us is waking the other person, throwing the covers off and flinging ourselves out of bed to stretch out that cramp.
Anyway, we both still get cramps but they are a nowhere as severe as they once were. Nor is the frequency. And we still get them when we fly long distances. I will pass on what I do to reduce the number of cramps, and the severity. Each one of these strategies has improved my cramp problem, so let’s see what seems to work for me, it might work for you too.
- Bananas, I eat one banana a day, with my lunch, although I don’t think the timing matters much. It is the banana itself. One of the things that bananas have in quantity is phosphates. I was plagued with cramps at night, often getting a couple in each calf in a night. I read about the banana thing, and tried it for a while, and that reduced the number and intensity considerably. But I still had leg cramps at night.
- Hydration, I drink a full glass of water every night before I go to bed. This seems to work with the phosphates to increase the circulation in the legs at night. Yep, I will have to get out of bed for a biffy break, but that is nothing compared to the pain I had from the cramps. I have an idea the dehydration on plane trips may be a partial cause of my after flying cramps. I will try the water trick with my next flight.
- Exercise helps too, walking is very good, circulation in the legs increases, and so less cramping. But there is more to it than that. I have found that walking alone will increase the incidence of cramps, but if a do some stretching of the calf and hamstring muscles, the cramping is further reduced.
So, folks, there you have it, Joan does the same thing and has reduced the frequency and certainly the intensity of her cramps. Where I once had cramps nightly, I now only get them when I fly, and maybe once a month after that. Hydration, (water) , bananas and exercise worked for me, it may work for you too. It seems to be related to age as well, but mine are almost a thing of the past. Give it a try if you are having leg cramps a night or day too, you have nothing too lose!
- Have a great day!