Medical Concerns And Issues

What causes Muscle Twitching in the Night or Nocturnal Muscle Twitching



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Muscle twitching is a common occurrence among many of us and we all have felt it in some form or another during our lifetime. In its most common presentation, the twitching can be felt, can be seen and would not be associated with any pain. In other instances, the twitching can be associated with a more sustained tonicity along with a pain which can be identified as a 'cramp'.

Many people will experience muscle twitching in the night time, as they go to bed or during the transition time from being awake to deep sleep. It does show the link between nocturnal muscle twitching and our sleep pattern and much research have associated the two and identified it as a 'sleep starter'.

Twitching is an involuntary movement occurring in the voluntary muscles or the skeletal muscles. It simply means that certain muscle groups are firing themselves and contracting by themselves. The result can sometimes disturb the sleep and in instances make the sufferer anxious as to what is happening.

The twitching or fasciculation movements can be seen mainly in the eyelid, near the lip, behind the ear, calf and thigh muscles and the muscles of the belly. Many causes have been attributed to this condition and some of these conditions are summarized in this article.

1. Poor hydration

Although this may be the most common reason for leg cramps, it could well be the triggering factor for muscle twitching as well. Unless the tissues are well hydrated, they will not receive the available vitamins and minerals for controlled functioning. Therefore, adequately hydrating yourself would prevent these twitches from occurring. Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics which can worsen the state of hydration and therefore will do well if avoided at the time of the sleep.

2. Avoid anxiety and stress

Too much stress as well as anxiety can lead to a state in which the affected muscles can repeatedly contract involuntarily. This could be following strenuous exercises in the day time as well as too much of watching TV. This is also a common occurrence following a stressful day at work.

3. Depleted calcium and magnesium levels

These minerals are said to be the most important in muscle contractions and its regulation. Depletion of these minerals due to poor intake or else following conditions such as diarrhoea, a person would be in a depleted state. As a result that person could feel the muscles twitching in a rest state, which will be at night. Taking supplements and adding foods which are rich in magnesium and calcium can correct this metabolic derangement.

4. Poor circulation

Circulation is a vital component for all our body tissues at work or even at rest. It has been suggested that muscle twitching in the night could be a result of poor circulation to the affected muscles. Therefore, adopting a posture which is correct as well as comfortable for sleep and performing cardio vascular exercises in the day would give relief to this condition to a certain extent.

In any case, muscle twitching does not pose any threat most of the time. Therefore, follow the suggestions which are appropriate to you and don't be anxious the next time it hits you.

More about this author: Dr Pandula Siribaddana

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