An individual may get leg cramps at night due to various reasons, including improper sitting, muscle over-exertion, dehydration, flat feet and neuromuscular disorders, according to Cleveland Clinic. Other possible reasons are sitting for large amounts of time, alcoholism, certain medications, endocrine disorders and Parkinson’s disease.
The cause of nocturnal leg cramps is often unknown, according to Cleveland Clinic. Neuromuscular disorders that may cause nocturnal leg cramps include motor neuron disease, myopathy and neuropathy. Possible medication causes of these cramps are beta-agonists, diuretics and statins. Endocrine disorders that can cause nocturnal cramps include hypothyroidism and diabetes.
Additional possible causes of leg cramps at night are pregnancy, exercise, exposure to cold temperatures, prolonged standing on a hard surface and abnormal leg positions while sleeping, according to WebMD. These cramps may also be caused by kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, peripheral arterial disease and lack of minerals in the blood.
To help prevent nighttime leg cramps, an individual can wear properly fitting shoes, perform gentle leg stretches before going to bed, stay hydrated, ride a stationary bicycle before going to bed and keep any blankets or sheets loose around the feet, according to Cleveland Clinic. A doctor visit may be useful if the cramps are severe and occur often. A doctor can determine and treat any underlying condition that may be causing the cramps.