Wondering why you couldn’t get that prized 8 hours of sleep you used to have years ago? It’s probably due to the relationship between smoking and sleep.
Not too known by most people, nicotine intake gives you a small boost of energy, which masks how tired and hungry you really are. In some smokers, nicotine addiction is so severe that they even wake up during the night craving (and lighting) a cigarette.
In today’s post, we’ll discuss how nicotine causes sleeping deprivation and a great number of issues for smokers when they sleep.
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Nicotine’s Effects on Sleep and Tiredness
As mentioned, nicotine masks the actual tiredness you feel by giving you a small boost in energy. It’s also the reason why smokers get thinner – nicotine also hides their need to eat.
You probably know that people on their quit journey endure withdrawal a few hours after having a cigarette. As a result, some smokers also suffer from night withdrawal symptoms while they’re sleeping, waking up in need of a cigarette.
Studies have also shown that smoking is a primary cause of sleep apnea. If you or a spouse snores loudly at night, it’s best to quit the habit.
Will Quitting Smoking Improve Sleep?
Quitting smoking will eliminate the nightly cravings for a cigarette in the middle of sleep and possibly improve your sleep apnea. Exchanging your everyday cigarette with a book or productive hobby contributes greatly to improving your sleep quality.
However, we should mention that the first few weeks of quitting likely won’t improve your sleep quality drastically. You might wake up feeling irritable, upset, and nauseous due to the lack of nicotine in your body. But, after two weeks to a month, you’ll likely see vast improvements to your sleep quality.
Other Factors That Affect Sleep Aside From Nicotine
While nicotine affects sleep, it isn’t the only cause of sleeping problems. There are other things that can make you stay awake longer at night.
Drinking coffee at night, especially while smoking a cigarette, will keep you up longer than you intended. Caffeine is a strong stimulant, and combined with nicotine, may make sleep nearly impossible at night. To see sleep improvements, we recommend consuming caffeine only during the morning.
Consuming wine and alcoholic drinks nightly will also cause sleeping disruptions. Not only will it increase your need to urinate, but it can cause insomnia, especially if you frequently drink. Drinking also increases the risk of relapsing into smoking for people trying to quit.
Lastly, eating one hour before bed can cause sleep disruptions due to the need to pee or deal with an upset stomach. While some people can sleep without these issues, they can still wake up a few hours into their sleep.
Can Smoking Cause Insomnia?
Studies have shown that cigarette smoking and nicotine will worsen your insomnia. Nicotine stimulation and cravings will disrupt your sleep. If you drink and smoke frequently, stopping both activities will significantly improve your sleep quality.
How To Sleep When Quitting Smoking
The key to handling insomnia after stopping smoking is to establish good sleep habits. Here are some suggestions to help you sleep and stay on track with quitting:
- Make sure your bedroom is a comfortable, cool and dark environment that will promote sleep and relaxation.
- Set a good routine for yourself by getting up and going to bed at the same time each day.
- Create a soothing night time ritual to help your body wind down and prepare for sleep. This could include practising mindfulness, taking a warm bath, reading or writing in a journal.
- Avoid screens at least an hour before your bedtime. It’s a good idea to keep devices, like phones, out of the bedroom so you can give yourself the best chance at improving your sleep after you quit.
- Maintain regular physical activity throughout the day and try not to eat heavy meals or consume alcohol before you go to sleep.
Make sure to be kind to yourself throughout this process by finding feel-good ways to pat yourself on the back for staying smoke-free.
Whether it’s going out for a nice dinner or treating yourself to a massage, you deserve to reward yourself for your achievements.
It’s Easier to Quit Smoking Today
Quitting smoking is the most effective and proven way to improve your sleep quality. If you think it’s hard to stop smoking, a tailor-made smoking cessation programme makes the entire process much easier.
GPs can create a programme suited to your specific needs, including the use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products to help curb the strong withdrawals and cravings you’ll experience.
While NRT products work well for some motivated smokers trying to quit, others might need an alternative. Pharmacy nicotine vaping products (NVPs) are a second-line means to stop smoking that your GP might prescribe, if first-line treatments aren’t working for you.
Unlike illicit vapes, NVP products sold in pharmacies are made under stringent pharmaceutical standards on the manufacturing process and ingredients, are toxicologically assessed for inhalation, are locally insured, and are specifically designed to help you stop smoking.
The latest Cochrane Review found high-certainty evidence that NVPs are more effective than NRT in helping people stop smoking, helping many smokers to quit successfully and have better sleep quality.
You can drastically improve your sleep quality by quitting smoking. Nicotine in cigarettes will continue to disrupt your sleep, weakening your body and leaving you unfocused. By quitting now, you don’t only improve your sleep, but you also make yourself and everyone around you healthier and happier.
We hope you learned more about the relationship between smoking and sleep in this post. There are so many benefits to quitting smoking if you get started. You can learn more about them here.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.