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Why Smoking Less May Help You Sleep Better

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Most people know that cigarette smoking is bad for your health. It can cause serious health issues like lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, anxiety, and depression and can even affect the quality of your sleep.

How Smoking Affects Your Sleep

Nicotine, a chemical found in cigarettes, is a stimulant and is also highly addictive. People with a dependence on nicotine may experience withdrawal symptoms throughout the night when going hours without a cigarette. Their bodies may start craving more nicotine, disrupting their sleep and causing them to wake up.

A 2008 study explored how smokers are four times more likely than nonsmokers to report feeling unrested after a night’s sleep, and researchers think it has something to do with nicotine withdrawal at night. Cigarette smoking can also lead to insomnia, the inability to fall or stay asleep. Another study found that women in late midlife who smoke are even more susceptible to developing insomnia.

In 2011, researchers studied how nightly nicotine withdrawal, as well as other respiratory and pulmonary effects of smoking, may result in sleep-disordered breathing, especially obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). They found that current smokers are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from OSA than former smokers and nonsmokers combined, and 2.8 times more likely to have OSA than former smokers alone.

Ways to Help You Quit Smoking to Sleep Better

Toying with the idea of kicking your smoking habit? You’re taking a step in the right direction. If you prefer to be in control of your nicotine intake and need to keep your mouth busy during the day, Nicorette gum or lozenges can help relieve cravings.

However, if you need a solution that you don’t have to think about, the NicoDerm patch (which can be worn for 16 or 24 hours), pumps out nicotine steadily throughout the day and lowers the dosage gradually over days, to help reduce your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Just apply it like a bandage, and you’re ready to go.

If you want to sleep better this year, you may want to consider cutting back or quitting your smoking habit for good.