Does Quitting Smoking Help You Sleep Better? Exploring the Link Between Smoking Cessation and Improved Sleep Quality

Quitting smoking can be one of the best things you can do to improve your quality of sleep. As a stimulant, nicotine can affect the quality of your sleep and lead to potentially serious health consequences. Many people don’t realise how important sleep is to your overall health. Our experienced team of consultants know that good health is inextricably linked to quality sleep and that many problems smokers face are due to poor sleep habits.

Sleep Awareness Week is an opportunity to spread awareness to more people about the importance of the connection between sleep, health and well-being. By being your Best Slept Self ®, you can rejuvenate your body, improve your overall health and feel mentally stronger.

The Relationship Between Smoking and Sleep Quality

Smoking disrupts your circadian rhythm, one of the key mechanisms your body uses to regulate your sleep. Factors that impact this include nicotine and withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine’s Impact on Sleep Patterns

Sleep studies have shown how nicotine interrupts sleep architecture. It increases the heart rate, raises blood pressure and encourages the release of adrenaline. Symptoms of sleep insomnia, such as fragmented sleep and reduced restorative slow wave sleep, increase as a result of the effects of nicotine. As a potent stimulant, it can mask symptoms of exhaustion, making you appear fine even when you aren’t.

Another impact of nicotine is the effect on mood and resulting anxiety and depression of many smokers. When smoking, nicotine releases chemical neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that provide a feeling of pleasure and a sense of well-being. However, fluctuations in the levels of the neurotransmitters affect sleep patterns and create a cycle of exhaustion.

Withdrawal Symptoms and Sleep Disturbances

It is well known that you can enjoy better sleep after quitting smoking. However, you often suffer from withdrawal symptoms and sleep disturbances. In fact, studies have shown that after quitting smoking, you can have trouble sleeping, as sleep loss is likely to cause relapse when trying to stop smoking. This is because of emotional dysregulation. Sleep disturbance also includes sleeping too much as well as too little, which can affect the overall withdrawal symptoms.

After smoking for a period of time, withdrawal symptoms from quitting can include:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hungry or gaining weight

How Quitting Smoking Leads to Improved Sleep

Quitting smoking can lead to many long-term health benefits. Whilst initially it can be challenging, quitting leads to vastly improved sleep patterns.

Restoration of Normal Sleep Patterns

After quitting smoking, your body begins to restore its circadian rhythm and homeostasis. These are two key biological mechanisms that work together to regulate when you are awake and asleep. When you smoke, these are both interrupted and after you stop, they begin working together, helping your body return to proper sleep and wake patterns.

Healthy sleep patterns improve the overall well-being of former smokers, including mental health, heart health and a reduction in obesity. You are able to think more clearly and make better decisions.

Reduced Incidence of Sleep Disorders

Restoring sleep patterns reduces the incidence of sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. The overall benefits of this mean that you feel rested and will have physiological benefits such as feeling refreshed and energised and psychological benefits like generally coping better with life. Studies have shown that quitting smoking can have major benefits to overall health, especially if not requiring smoking cessation medications.

Getting your body used to a good night’s sleep has a calming effect on your nervous system. Whilst in a deep sleep, your body repairs itself, as well as enabling you to cope better with the everyday stresses of life and managing the relationships in your life.

Improved Sleep Quality Subjectively Reported by Ex-Smokers

Quitting smoking is a major accomplishment. The reward is improved sleep quality, so you are better able to lead a happier and healthier life. Ex-smokers say that quitting smoking gave them their health back. Better quality sleep allowed them to become more productive and help their families more because they had increased energy. Others talked about saving money and being able to use those savings for holidays, activities and their family.

Many ex-smokers didn’t realise how important sleep was to their overall health and well-being until they began their journey to quit smoking. So, how long after quitting smoking does your sleep improve? You will most likely experience a few weeks of disturbed sleep as your body recovers from withdrawal symptoms. After this, you should notice an improvement, but it is important to note that everyone’s journey is different.

How Quitmate Can Help

Discover what quit smoking options could work for you. Take our free interactive questionnaire to learn about the best options for starting your journey of a healthy lifestyle free from smoking. You can also request a chat with a quit smoking expert about your questionnaire results and help you come up with an individual treatment plan. If you prefer medication or nicotine replacement therapy to help you quit, complete an online prescription request for a medical script. Our doctors and consultants will support you every step of the way.

Start Your Journey to Better Sleep with Quitmate

Quitmate has been designed to help you give up smoking. Our experienced team of medical consultants know that with better restorative sleep, your overall health will improve. If you’ve got questions about how to quit, our FAQs may help. If you suffer from persistent ailments and sleep disturbance, starting your journey to better health and improved sleep is worth prioritising. At Quickmate, we know that good health is linked to great sleep. Book a doctor’s consultation to talk with an expert and begin your journey to better sleep.