Smoking is injurious to health. Most of us are aware of this fact. There are a number of life threatening diseases that can be caused due to it, namely cancer, heart diseases, lung disorders, etc. A recent research reveals that smoking has adverse effect on the sleep of the smoker and it can eventually lead to cognitive dysfunction, depression, anxiety and mood disorders. It says that smoking ruins the circadian function in the brain and lungs which results in disturbed sleep.
The adverse effects of smoking on the health of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems are known for a while, but the effect smoking on sleep is quite a recent finding. Smoking cannot only deteriorate the sleep quality but can also result in sleep deprivation. It is instrumental in changing the sleep pattern; that is why even when the person has slept for a full night, he doesn't feel refreshed when he gets up in the morning. If not checked in time, it can over a period of time result in a serious sleep disorder known as sleep apnea.
How smoking affects sleep
To put it simply, it all boils down to nicotine, which is an active ingredient in cigarettes. Depending how much you are addicted to smoking and how often your smoke, your desire to have more nicotine during the sleep may cause you to wake up and take a puff. This can lead to insomnia. Research also reveals that since nicotine is a stimulant, smoking for some time before you sleep can keep you from falling asleep.
Sleep occurs in stages and the time one spends in deep sleep is the one that creates a feeling of freshness when one wakes up in the morning. Research shows that people who are chronic smokers spend most of their time in light or shallow sleep. That is why they have a general feeling of tiredness when they wake up. Chronic smokers experience withdrawal symptoms when the nicotine levels in their blood get reduced. Thus it creates a vicious cycle of more smoking and insomnia.
A very serious and dangerous sleep disorder named obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is said to be severely aggravated if the person suffering from it is a chronic smoker. This disorder occurs because the airways are narrowed or constricted as a result of which enough oxygen doesn't reach the brain during sleep. Since smoking causes irritation in throat lining, it is recognized as an independent cause of obstructive sleep disorder. A person suffering from it snores loudly while asleep and often wakes up gasping for breath. OSA, if not taken care of in time can have fatal consequences.
Why should you quit smoking?
The good news is that if you quit smoking, you can experience immediate improvement in your sleep health. Then why wait? Take charge of your life and say good bye to cigarettes. Get a good and quality sleep and enjoy its restorative benefits. It is high time you ditched smoking for good.
In addition to quality sleep, quitting cigarettes can also reduce your risk of getting heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Smoking can also make a person impotent “ thus quitting will only reverse this effect.
Other benefits of quitting smoking include:
- Improved health “ less headaches and episodes or fatigue and stress
- Better sense of taste and smell
- Your heart will feel less strained
Quitting can be hard but it is the best thing you can do for your health. For those who are interested in stopping, it is important to note that there is no single fail-safe approach. It is a difficult task but there are several approaches to attain this goal.
Along with strong willpower, the following might help:
- Nicotine replacement therapy or NRT, available in patches, gum and nasal sprays
- Champix “mimics the action of nicotine
- Behavior modification programs
- Alternative therapies including hypnosis and acupuncture