Varicose vein pain and cramping can strike at any time of the day. But why does it feel particularly bothersome at night?
Nothing is more frustrating than tossing and turning all night! You try to get a good night’s sleep but instead wake up tired and irritable. If you suffer from varicose veins, you’ve probably noticed the swollen, twisted veins tend to hurt more at night. Below, we’ll explain why this phenomenon occurs.
Why are your varicose veins keeping you up at night?
The pain, swelling, cramping, and itching caused by varicose veins can strike any time throughout the day. But many varicose vein patients report more noticeable symptoms at night that interfere with their sleep. One study revealed subjects with varicose veins reported a higher incidence of leg cramps in the evening.
The heightened pain and cramping at night likely stem from your daytime activities. Perhaps you sit or stand for long hours at your job. Being sedentary allows blood to pool in your legs, causing your veins to swell and preventing the surrounding tissues from receiving oxygen and nutrients. As a result, your leg tissues become inflamed and painful. This pain and swelling continue during the night.
It’s also possible that the pain and swelling worsen due to chronic conditions, such as arthritis or other vascular disorders. If you’re experiencing cramping pain, swelling, or warmth in the lower leg, you might have a blood clot. A blood clot requires immediate medical attention.
Pain and cramping in the legs, particularly at night, are often associated with another condition known as restless leg syndrome (RLS). People with RLS report uncontrolled twitches, cramps, and itching at night that are relieved only by movement. RLS symptoms mimic many of those of varicose veins, causing researchers to explore the link between RLS and poor circulation. Studies have revealed that some RLS patients can find relief after treating their varicose veins.
Lastly, the reason you may notice more pain and cramping from your varicose veins at night could be psychological. It isn’t that you’re feeling any more discomfort at night. Instead, you’re busy and focused on other daytime activities that take your mind off the pain.
Sleep better at night, even with varicose veins
Having varicose veins doesn’t mean you won’t ever have a good night’s sleep again. With these five tips in mind, you can slumber peacefully and wake up feeling well-rested.
Stay Active During the Day. Want to decrease the swelling at night? Move around so your blood doesn’t pool in the veins during the day. While a vigorous workout before bedtime isn’t recommended, you can take a stroll to encourage blood circulation. If you sit or stand for long hours, remember to get up regularly and take brief walks. Something as simple as flexing your ankles when seated can even help get the blood pumping.
Wear Compression Stockings. Wearing compression stockings during the day is another way to boost circulation. These strong elastic stockings exert gentle pressure on the ankles and calves, which helps decrease swelling.
Stretch. Unlock tight leg muscles with a gentle stretch before you go to bed. When your muscles are loose, blood will flow much smoother in the leg veins.
Prop up Your Legs. Elevate your legs about three to four inches with a pillow, or put pillows under your mattress. As the blood drains toward your heart, you’ll notice the swelling go down.
Treat Your Varicose Veins. Although these methods provide temporary relief, the only proven solution for painful varicose veins is via a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Completed as outpatient visits that last no more than an hour, these modern techniques destroy the varicose vein, allowing blood to flow to healthy veins. You can return to normal activities immediately, with few restrictions. You’ll no longer have to worry about those painful, protruding veins keeping you up at night!
Don’t delay treating your varicose veins!
Getting restful sleep is vital for your overall health. If you think your varicose veins are interfering with your sleep, visit one of four Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) facilities in New Mexico. Our offices are led by experienced vein physicians qualified to treat all types of vascular disorders.
Michael Harding, MD, is board-certified in vascular medicine, cardiology, and internal medicine. Chandran Vedamanikam, MD, is a board-certified phlebologist in venous and lymphatic medicine and family practice. Schedule online, or call 1-800-FIX-LEGS to speak to a dedicated Patient Services Representative.
801 Encino Place NE #C-12,
Albuquerque, NM 87102
500 E Walnut Street
Deming, NM 88030
2801 E. Missouri Avenue
Las Cruces, NM 88011
2220 Grande Boulevard SE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124