The Way Smoking Affects Your Sleep

by Dr. Antonio Howell, MD

in Blog

Dr. Howell

The respiratory and cardiovascular effects of smoking are very much known to the public. However, smoking also has an adverse effect on your sleep. Smoking is not only linked to lack of sleep, but it as well affects your sleeping pattern. This is the reason why you still feel tired even though you slept the entire night. Tobacco use prevents you from having a quality sleep at night in many ways. And after several years of smoking, you might even develop a chronic sleeping disorder like sleep apnea.

Smoking prevents you from getting quality sleep.
One of the most striking effects of tobacco use on your sleep is the decline in the time you spent in quality sleep, which is attributed for having an “invigorating” feeling you have when you wake up every morning. Long time smokers are more likely to experience light sleep at night, in particular during the early hours at night. Nicotine found in tobacco smoke stimulates your nervous system. During your sleep, when you don’t smoke, the nicotine level in your body drops which triggers the withdrawal symptoms like insomnia and agitation.


Tobacco use is more likely to cause sleep fragmentation.
Because quality sleep is deprived in long time smokers, a lengthy sleep at night does not necessarily mean they had a “good night sleep”. This can be attributed partially to lack of quality sleep and the condition called “sleep fragmentation”, or the possibility of awakening in the late hours at night. Chronic smokers are more likely to suffer from increased sleep fragmentation. One reason for this is your nicotine dependence. As the nicotine level in your body drops, it triggers your nicotine cravings which results to sleep disruptions. This is the reason why most chronic smokers tend to wake up in the middle of the night several times and find it difficult getting back to bed without lighting a stick or two. Too much time spent in bed does not guarantee invigorating benefits of sleep and often an indication that you’re not getting quality sleep.

Cigarette smoking increases your risk of developing sleep apnea.
Cigarette smoking is one of the independent risk factors of a chronic sleeping disorder called obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. Experts suggest that smokers are three times at risk of developing OSA compared to those who never smoked in their lifetime. When a person suffers from OSA, the airways constrict and prevent oxygen from reaching your brain while sleeping. Exceedingly loud snoring can be observed, to a person who suffers from OSA followed by waking up and gasping for air. This condition, if remained untreated, may lead to heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and untimely death. The increased risk can be associated to the irritation caused by cigarette smoke on the lining of your throat which may lead to night time clogging.


Tobacco use can lead to dozens of health complication. This is the reason why you need to kick the habit the soonest possible time you have. Smoking is still the most preventable cause of death. You may want to quit smoking now and start improving your health.

 


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