Smoking & Sleep Problems


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We all hear the statistics, see the adverts, and hear the frightening true stories, but do we all realise that smoking is actually a contributing factor to poor sleeping patterns? However, it is not just as simple as smoking causes lack of sleep, there are vicious circles and smoking is definitely not recommend for those who value their sleep.

Nicotine & Sleep Problems

Firstly, smoking affects sleep as the nicotine found in cigarettes, cigars and so forth stimulates the central nervous system and can therefore increase the number of times a smoker wakes up in the night. Due to these interruptions the smoker may find that they enter into lighter sleep as they cannot go through the usual sleep cycle, thus they wake in a morning less refreshed and alert. A vicious circle here is developed straight away; lack of sleep experienced means things like anxiety develop and smokers tend to feel the need for a smoke when they are stressed which is probably ironically caused by their smoking interrupting their sleep.

Secondly, telling people to stop smoking to sleep better would be sound advice in the long run, yet withdrawal symptoms from nicotine are in fact often sleepless nights. The brain’s receptors notice the lack of nicotine which can often lead to disturbances during the night. This can even occur in people who are continuing to smoke as the brain evidently has a longer stint without nicotine than it would experience during the day. This lack of nicotine alongside the breathing problems that smoking can cause does not make a good recipe for a good night’s sleep!

Smokers may not notice the affect that their smoking is having on their sleeping patterns.  Nicotine acts quite like caffeine does, giving the user a boost when they start to feel fatigued. This often means that people who experience sleep disturbances after they have given up smoking often relapse due to the daytime fatigue.  Additionally, some nicotine patches are thought to create insomnia-like symptoms in some people who are trying to stop smoking. It is suggested that you consult a pharmacist, doctor or help-line to see what treatment would be the best for you if you are experiencing sleep problems due to smoking.


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