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The nightmare of nocturnal cramps

Old age or dehydration? Jane Bates investigates the cause of her night-time muscle spasms.
Jane Bates

Old age or dehydration? Jane Bates investigates the cause of her night-time muscle spasms

Nocturnal cramps have not disturbed my sleep since I was a cyclist. Back in the day I would push myself to the limit, but I hadn't been cycling, I’d just spent a long, arduous day at work.

Anxious not to spend another night clutching my calf and hopping round the bedroom, I googled ‘night cramps’. The treatment caught my eye. Quinine. There is quinine in tonic water, and there was plenty of that in the fridge.

But quinine came with dire warnings – ‘may cause blindness and death'. Yikes. Diluting the tonic with plenty of gin seemed the only solution.

So if the treatment was a bit scary, I had better tackle the cause. Pregnancy, dehydration, over-exertion, getting older. The last one stuck out like a knotted muscle.

I spend

...

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