If you are smoker and are experiencing sleep problems or insomnia, smoking may be to blame, according to a new study in the journal CHEST. The study shows that even healthy smokers are four times as likely as nonsmokers to report feeling unrested after a night’s sleep. Smoking also results in spending less time in deep sleep and more time in light sleep, with the greatest differences in sleep patterns seen in the early stages of sleep. Researchers speculate that the stimulating effects of nicotine could cause people to experience nicotine withdrawal each night, which may contribute to disturbances in sleep.
While numerous studies have looked at disordered sleep patterns in medical conditions, including fibromyalgia and obstructive sleep apnea, this study is the first to show how sleep problems can result from cigarette smoking.
“The long-term effects of smoking on respiratory and cardiovascular health are well-known,” said Alvin V. Thomas, Jr., MD, president of the American College of Chest Physicians. “However, this study is significant because it suggests that smokers may also be deprived of the much-needed restorative effects of sleep. This study provides yet one more reason to stop smoking or to never start.”