Smoke More, Sleep Less

By: Rachel

Cigarette smoking has been associated with a high prevalence of sleep-related complaints. However, its effects on sleep architecture have not been fully examined. The primary objective of this investigation was to assess the impact of cigarette smoking on sleep architecture.

Sleep disturbances are a common side effect of nicotine withdrawal. Some people will sleep much more than usual through this phase of cessation, while others have difficulty getting any sleep at all. If you find yourself suffering from insomnia during the first few weeks after you quit smoking, try a few of these natural remedies to ease your discomforts.

Remember, the physical withdrawal phase of quitting tobacco is a temporary condition. Your sleep patterns will return to normal soon, providing you didnít have insomnia before cessation. If symptoms persist beyond the first month or so, schedule a visit with your doctor. The current lifestyle greatly affects the sleeping pattern of human beings. Among many causes, smoking is one main cause for sleeping disturbances.

Smokers spend more time in a light sleep. Non-smokers spend more time in a deep sleep, allowing them to feel more awake the next day. A reason for this is nicotine and its impact on the brain.

Smoking cigarettes impairs sleep quality, possibly because of nicotine withdrawal, according to a study in the February issue of Chest, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians. The study is among the first to isolate the effects of smoking on sleep. In previous research, it was unclear whether changes in sleep patterns were from smoking itself or from the medical conditions underlying smoking such as heart or respiratory disease. A strong correlation was found between smoking and various complaints of ill health as well as between smoking and sleep duration and quality of sleep. The results suggest that there is a strong relationship between the constituents of tobacco smoke and poor sleeping habits.

Cigarettes contain nicotine that affects sleep. It is a stimulant that keeps you awake. But smokers are not aware of this fact. Rather they claim that a puff of cigarette smoke makes them feel calmer and helps them relax. On the contrary, nicotine stimulates the mind and the body. It interferes with the bodyís ability to fall and stay asleep. Nicotine is a stimulant drug that once it wore off threw the smoker into a physiologically depressed state. To overcome this depressant effect the smoker would smoke again to stimulate him or herself. Soon it would wear off and the endless cycle would be repeated over and over. Blood sugar and hormone levels would skyrocket, only to come crashing down later. By the end of the day the smoker could be physically exhausted from this chronic stimulant/depressant roller coaster. They had to adjust their sleep around these effects.

The availability of objective data on sleep architecture, with self-reported information on smoking status, provides an opportunity to characterize sleep architecture among current, former, and never smokers in a large community-based sample. Previous analyses of a subset of the cohort have shown that current smokers and former smokers, compared with never smokers, have greater amounts of stage 1 and 2 sleep.

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Rachel Broune writes articles for depression treatment.

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