I quit smoking and I now can’t sleep
If you have recently quit smoking, you may be experiencing a frustrating paradox. Quitters often report that they feel drowsy in the day but that they cannot sleep at night. Naturally, the insomnia makes the daytime fatigue even worse.
Why could you struggle to sleep when you quit smoking and is there anything you can do to avoid insomnia?
How nicotine impacts your sleep patterns
You may have experienced disrupted sleep as a smoker because nicotine is a stimulant and so masks fatigue. But things can get a whole lot worse when you stop smoking, at least in the short term. You will have become used to alleviating anxiety by smoking but when that crutch is removed, anxiety can keep you awake at night. Around 50% of smokers suffer from insomnia when they quit.
When you stop smoking, nicotine withdrawal will cause you to suffer from a number of side effects including constipation and headaches. These can also make it more difficult to fall asleep. If you have been prescribed medications to help you quit, these are known to induce vivid dreams that disrupt your sleep and even wake you up.
How to improve the quality of your sleep
Happily, there are several ways to address any sleep issues that develop. A few changes to your lifestyle and routine can make all the difference.
- If you are using nicotine replacement therapies, take your doses earlier in the day, remove your nicotine patch before bedtime or stop vaping an hour before your go to bed.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening. Smokers tend to metabolize caffeine more quickly than non-smokers and so you may be someone who favours strong coffee. When you quit, you will probably drink your usual coffee and the caffeine will have a greater impact than it did when you smoked. The result will be trouble falling asleep.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day – even at the weekends. Routine is key to restful sleep and those Sunday lie-ins won’t help you.
- Create a calming bedtime routine including a bath and meditation. Don’t put the television on in your bedroom and rid your space of electronic devices. Indeed, it can really help if you stop using your devices at least an hour before climbing the wooden hill.
- Take plenty of exercise during the day. Exercise will tire you out and will also relieve your anxiety. Just remember that you shouldn’t exercise shortly before bedtime as the release of endorphins could keep you awake.
Keep the faith
Sleep deprivation will seriously impact your quality of life. Unfortunately, sleep issues are heavily linked to depression and addiction. In other words, your lack of sleep makes it more likely that you will start smoking again. For this reason, it is vital to be aware that you might experience insomnia when you quit and take steps to avoid the problem rearing its ugly head.
The good news is that the effects of quitting will be temporary. Your body will eventually adjust to life with nicotine and the side effects of nicotine withdrawal will gradually subside. Life will feel less stressful with every day that passes and you can then enjoy the new you both by day and after dark.