Smoking Can Be the Cause of Many Sleep Problems

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Smoking may be interfering with your sleep patternsIf you’re a smoker, here’s more motivation to quit—lighting up during the day could be keeping you awake at night. Researchers at the University Medical Center Freiburg in Germany conducted an eye-opening study in which they compared the quality of sleep in both smokers and non-smokers.

For it, they recruited 44 smokers (29 men and 15 women, all about 30 years of age) to participate in the study. The data collected from these participants was compared with 44 healthy people, matched by age and gender, who had never smoked. The researchers were careful to exclude anyone with alcohol or other substance abuse problems, psychiatric or endocrine diseases, and anyone receiving treatment involving psychotropic medication. In this way, they were able to get an accurate measure of how smoking affected sleep. Nicotine and cotinine (another chemical found in tobacco) levels were measured in the smoking group, and sleep quality was assessed in both groups.

The research team found that the smokers consumed an average of 21 cigarettes per day, and had been smoking for an average of 13 years. As for sleep patterns, compared with non-smokers, smokers:

• Slept for shorter periods of time

• Took longer to fall asleep

• Had higher rapid eye movement during sleep

• Experienced more episodes of sleep apnea

• Experienced more disruptive leg movements

The researchers concluded that smokers showed a number of insomnia-like sleep problems. They also pointed out that smokers who quit need support when it comes to insomnia symptoms, because these continuing sleep disturbances can drive a smoker to start smoking again.

Sources for Today’s Articles:
Smoking Can Be the Cause of Many Sleep Problems
Jaehne, A., et al., “How smoking affects sleep: A polysomnographical analysis,” Sleep Med. December 2012; 13(10): 1,286–92.