Night leg cramps, also known as nocturnal leg cramps, are painful muscle contractions or spasms which usually occur during the night. Generally, it appears in the lower leg but it can also appear in the feet and thighs. The pain is sharp and severe and it can wake you up in the middle of the night. It usually lasts for a few seconds but sometimes even for several minutes. The muscle soreness is felt even after the pain is gone, and it can last the following night and the following day.
Men and women can suffer from leg cramps and they usually appear over the age of 50.
Leg cramps vs. restless leg syndrome
Although both syndromes appear while people sleep, they are actually very different.
Restless legs syndrome is in fact a neurological disorders which is characterized by an uncontrollable and overwhelming urge to move your legs. When you move your legs during the RLS, it gives a sense of relief, which is not the case with nocturnal leg crumps.