Everyone has heard that smoking is bad for you. We’ve all seen the warnings that appear anytime there’s an ad for tobacco use: Smoking kills; cigarettes contain carcinogenic ingredients; don’t smoke if you’re pregnant; don’t smoke if you don’t want cancer; the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, smoking causes your body more harm than good, and while the number of people who smoke has drastically decreased, there’s still a lot of individuals who do smoke.
But how does smoking affect your sleep patterns? To answer that, let’s first consider that cigarettes are a stimulant, just like coffee. Partaking in any stimulant substance before bed is going to disturb your natural sleep patterns. So in short, smoking affects your sleep by making it harder for your body have a natural, good night’s rest.
- Stimulants equal insomnia
As we mentioned previously, nicotine is a stimulant. And any stimulants before bed can wreck havoc on your ability to get good sleep. Chances are, if you smoke close to bedtime, you’re probably going to develop some sort of insomnia due to the nicotine in cigarettes.
While men and women smokers are both prone to insomnia, one study suggests that women who smoke in mid to late life are more prone to insomnia than those who do not.
If you are a smoker who suffers from insomnia, consider changing your habits to eliminate smoking right before bed.
- Sleep apnea
Those who smoke are more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common type of apnea. OSA occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat collapse, causing the hole that air passes through to become smaller. Sleep apnea results in snoring.
Because smoking irritates the tissue in the nose and the throat, smokers tend to suffer from sleep apnea. And so do their sleeping partners! If you suspect smoking is the cause of your snoring, now may be a good time to get some professional help quitting.
- Circadian rhythm
In a 2013 study, researchers found that smoking interferes with the natural circadian rhythm by altering the expression of clock genes in both the lungs and the brain. When you alter your clock genes, it’s hard to get a restful night’s sleep.
And poor sleep is just the beginning. If your circadian rhythm is disrupted, you can end up suffering from poor sleep disorders, such as depression and anxiety. The best way to avoid these sleep problems is never to begin smoking in the first place. Research shows that those who have never smoked tend to have a more restful nights’ sleep than those who do smoke.
If you’re a current smoker, are sleeping poorly, and haven’t been turned off due to the myriad of other issues smoking causes, consider quitting. If nothing else, your sleep may get more restful.
There are many resources to help you quit smoking, and in turn, help you sleep better.
Topics: Snoring Treatments