Part 1: How Smoking impacts our sleep

Did you know we sleep roughly a third of our lives?

It’s no surprise that the quality of our sleep directly impacts the quality of our mental and physical health. Well-known are the dangers of smoking cigarettes on our health, but we often overlook how nicotine can disrupt our sleep.

Here are 4 ways in which smoking destroys the quality of our sleep:

Smoking changes your natural circadian rhythm:

Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock. Regular smoking can severely disrupt our natural sleep rhythm. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Centre in 2013 found that smoking tobacco can alter the expression of clock genes in the lungs and the brain, ruining a restful night’s sleep. The study found that there was a substantial disruption of the natural circadian rhythm when chronically exposing people to cigarette smoke, which only worsened with increased tobacco exposure.

Smokers wake up more frequently during the night:

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University studied the sleep patterns of 40 smokers and 40 non-smokers. Of the non-smoker participants, 5 percent said they commonly experienced restless sleep, whereas 22.5 percent of the smokers said they struggled with restless sleep. It’s not uncommon for smokers to wake up in the night craving a cigarette.

Smokers have trouble falling asleep, and feel restless in the morning:

Nicotine activates a release of the chemical dopamine, causing more alertness. Like caffeine, nicotine is a stimulant and a drug meaning it can substantially affect the quality of sleep if consumed in high quantities and too close to bedtime. According to a study conducted at the University of Florida, for every 1 cigarette you smoke, your total sleep time decreases by 1.2minutes. This doesn’t sound a lot but over the course of a night, it can be physically demanding. Especially if you’re a light sleeper!

Smokers are more likely to suffer from insomnia:

Insomnia means you regularly have problems sleeping. Symptoms of insomnia include: difficulty falling asleep, waking up often during the night, and feeling tired during the day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia can be caused by an array of psychiatric and medical conditions and lifestyle habits. Because nicotine is a potent stimulant, cigarette smokers can easily develop insomnia if they smoke frequently and close to bedtime. This can lead to smoking more because of difficulty sleeping and the condition strengthens.

Source article: huffingtonpost.co.uk/how-smoking-affects-sleep

Check back for part 2 looking at how to improve our sleep.

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