Quitting Smoking And Insomnia: Duration and Treatment

Congratulations, you’ve made a fantastic decision to end your smoking habit. But now you might be concerned that you won’t be able to get enough rest.

Nicotine withdrawal frequently causes insomnia. Therefore, new ex-smokers may sleep more than normal during this time. In addition, the gradual withdrawal from nicotine and other drugs throughout the day might leave you dizzy and sleepy as your body readjusts to the lack of these substances.

If this seems familiar, give in to the want for a nap. Instead, nap when you can, and try to get to bed earlier. Your body only needs a little time to get back to normal. On the other end of the scale, ex-smokers struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia is a common symptom of quitting nicotine.

Though uncomfortable at the time, this withdrawal sensation is transient, and quitting smoking remains one of the greatest things you can do to improve your health.

So, if you’re thinking about quitting but are concerned about how it may affect your slumber, you shouldn’t let that stop you. Problems falling or staying asleep are common withdrawal symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Still, they only affect a small percentage of people and usually subside within a few weeks. The good news is that there are lots of easy things you can do to try to alter your sleeping routine and make it easier to nod off.

If you experience insomnia in the first few weeks after quitting smoking, read on to learn about available treatments.

Why do Some People Who Stop Smoking Experience Sleep Problems?

Why Do Some People Who Stop Smoking Experience Sleep Problems

When people try to quit smoking, one of the withdrawal symptoms they may encounter is trouble sleeping.

However, not everyone has this problem; sleep disturbance only happens in about 25% of persons who attempt to quit smoking. Furthermore, these symptoms are normal throughout nicotine withdrawal and should pass within four weeks.

Some people have trouble sleeping after giving up smoking because of changes in the levels of specific neurotransmitters brought on by the absence of nicotine stimulation. So while sleeplessness is a common withdrawal effect when stopping tobacco use, smoking can lead to insomnia because it is a stimulant.

It may take smokers longer to get to sleep, and they may wake up more frequently. When you smoke, you inflate the lining of your nose and airways, making breathing difficult at night. It can also increase your risk of developing obstructive sleep apnoea. This disorder prevents you from falling asleep or staying asleep.

In the long run, you’ll be better off, which is excellent news because changing your smoking habits can be a helpful treatment for your insomnia.

How to Deal With Insomnia After Giving up Smoking?

If you’ve recently quit smoking and are experiencing sleeplessness, try not to stress. Fortunately, sleep difficulty due to withdrawal only lasts for about four weeks, and a few minor adjustments to one’s routine can make a major impact during that time:

1. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

Caffeine is metabolized far more quickly in smokers than in non-users. So, smokers must consume more caffeine than nonsmokers to achieve the same results.

To avoid feeling jittery and irritable after quitting smoking, it’s a good idea to cut back on coffee use simultaneously. Of course, it’s not necessary to give up coffee entirely, but you might not be able to consume as much as you used to when you smoked.

To start with, minimize your caffeine consumption by half. Doing so should provide sufficient caffeine without making you feel overstimulated or causing withdrawal symptoms.

2. Create a Bedtime Routine

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms might make it hard to wind down and sleep. Finding ways to ease the transition to sleep is vital since you may be experiencing anxious, irritable, jumpy, or restless feelings.

Suggestions For Relaxing Nightly Routines

Insomnia caused by quitting smoking can be alleviated with the help of a calming bedtime routine. Here are a few suggestions for relaxing nightly routines:

  • Relax in a hot bath with some scented candles and salts to help you unwind from the day. Preparing for sleep by taking a warm bath is a wonderful way to relax physically and mentally.
  • Try getting a massage from your significant other or a friend who is eager to help to relieve muscle tension. While a sumptuous full-body massage is wonderful, even just 10 or 15 minutes focused on the neck, shoulders, face, and scalp may do wonders for helping you relax and get ready for sleep.
  • Try a cup of herbal tea. Many of these teas have been formulated with ingredients known for their calming and sleep-inducing properties.
  • Check out the grocery store’s tea aisle or stop by a natural foods grocer for some advice.
  • As an aid to falling asleep, try listening to some relaxing music. You could play the sound of ocean waves. The sounds of nature, such as rain or thunder, can also have a calming effect.

3. Stick to a Regular Schedule

Stick to a Regular Schedule

Quitting smoking might disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm; therefore, it’s necessary to take measures to restore your natural sleep-wake cycle. Although it may be difficult to unwind at the end of the day and to get out of bed in the morning, maintaining a routine is crucial for getting your life back on track.

Maintain a consistent schedule by getting up at the same time every day and setting the alarm. Maintaining a regular sleep-wake pattern can be facilitated by developing a nightly routine and establishing a conducive sleeping environment.

4. Do Not Nap During The Day

Do Not Nap During The Day

Daytime sleepiness is common among ex-smokers due to the disruption of sleep caused by giving up cigarettes. While napping throughout the day may help you cope with the acute withdrawal symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, it can hurt your ability to maintain a consistent sleep-wake cycle in the long run.

However tempting it may be to nap during the day, resist the urge. If you have problems sleeping, you should stop taking “power naps.” There will be repercussions for you when bedtime rolls around.

5. Regular Exercise

Regular Exercise

If you’re having trouble nodding off, go for a long walk a couple of hours before bed. Just 15 minutes of walking can make a difference.

Negative effects on sleep quality are prevalent during nicotine withdrawal’s initial stages. In addition, in the initial four weeks after quitting, the risk of relapsing to smoking is highest for people who experience insomnia or other sleep disorders.

Exercise has been shown to aid in maintaining sleep and reducing nighttime wakings during acute withdrawal.

The timing, though, is sometimes crucial. While it’s beneficial to exercise in the evening, if you’re having difficulties sleeping, you should avoid vigorous activities for at least an hour before bedtime. Late-night, intense activity can quickly reduce melatonin levels, which may contribute to sleep disruption.

6. Develop a Plan For The Following Day

Develop a Plan For The Following Day

It is not uncommon for a person trying to sleep to have all of the concerns and obligations for the next day rush through their thoughts, causing them to remain awake. Therefore, before bed, give yourself some time to jot down anything that upsets you and prepare a game plan for the next day.

This will help you tackle the problem. If you lay everything out in front of you, it should help make your troubles appear a little more manageable, which should mean that when you get into bed, your mind will be clearer than it would have been otherwise.

7. Get Comfortable

Get Comfortable

It is essential to provide a calm atmosphere in the room where you plan to spend the night to facilitate your transition into a restful state of consciousness. You need to check that your mattress, coverings, and pillow are all comfy and that there are no undesirable lumps and bumps that could keep you awake at night.

Ensure adequate darkness in the room so you can concentrate without interruptions. Blinds that completely block out the light, thick drapes, or even wearing a mask over your eyes should do the trick.

8. Take Some Time to Unwind And Put Down The Gadgets

Take Some Time to Unwind And Put Down The Gadgets

At least an hour before you go to bed, you should try to unwind by relaxing, reading a good book, listening to music, or meditating.

It is also suggested that you shun screens before bed, including smartphones, laptops, and TVs. It is because the intense lights from such gadgets can cause you to feel more uneasy and alert.

9. Consume More Tryptophan

Consume More Tryptophan

The amino acid tryptophan can be beneficial in combating sleeplessness caused by smoking cessation, so upping your intake of it can be a good strategy. The amino acid tryptophan produces the hormone melatonin via the neurotransmitter serotonin.

The sleep-inducing hormone melatonin naturally rises in the evening. When trying to quit smoking, an increase in melatonin may prove especially useful because of the common problem of having trouble going to sleep, which plagues smokers and increases throughout the withdrawal period.

Tryptophan is better absorbed by the brain when taken with a carbohydrate. As a result, it’s hardly surprising that cookies and milk have been a go-to nighttime snack for so long.

Tryptophan is also found in foods like:

  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Soy products
  • Eggs
  • Cheese

10. Be Mindful of Consuming Large Amounts of Food or Fluids Before Bed

Be Mindful of Consuming Large Amounts of Food or Fluids Before Bed

Indulging in a large meal before bedtime can upset your body’s natural sleep rhythms. Because of this, it’s best to avoid eating a big meal right before bed. In a similar vein, avoid consuming alcohol within six hours of going to bed. In the short term, it could aid in sleep induction, but in the long run, it will most assuredly serve to reawaken you.

11. If You’re Having Trouble Sleeping, Get Up

If You're Having Trouble Sleeping, Get Up

Get out of bed if you can’t fall asleep instead of lying there feeling more and more frustrated at your inability to sleep. Until you feel tired enough to head back to bed, try doing something soothing, like writing, painting, or meditating, something you enjoy.

12. Consider Therapy

Consider Therapy

Effective treatment for long-term sleeplessness can be found in cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). Positive benefits on sleep quality can remain for two years after treatment.

Sleep hygiene and relaxation exercises are also incorporated into CBT-I.

  • Negative ideas about sleep and insomnia can be identified and altered with cognitive therapy.
  • Meditating, practicing deep breathing, and doing progressive muscular relaxation are all examples of relaxation techniques.
  • Environmental factors are the primary focus of sleep hygiene practices, including reducing alcohol use and sticking to a regular bedtime routine.

Research shows that CBT-I is an effective treatment for insomnia. Unfortunately, there isn’t much data on how effective CBT-I is in helping people quit smoking, but what there is suggests it may be useful.

How Long Does Sleeplessness Last After Giving Up Smoking?

How Long Does Sleeplessness Last After Giving Up Smoking

The withdrawal symptoms, especially insomnia, might make it tough to quit smoking. Regulating sleep patterns is not a simple matter, however. Finding out what approaches are most successful for you may require some experimentation. Insomnia is temporary. Therefore, you shouldn’t let the fear of having it prevent you from giving up cigarettes.

While the time you’ve been smoking will affect how long it takes for your body to adjust. Most patients report relief from insomnia within two weeks of quitting nicotine cold turkey. Even long-time smokers report improvement within a month.

Winding Up

If you’re having trouble sleeping because you quit smoking, you may be curious about how long insomnia will last. Some studies have found that the first two days post-quitting are the most difficult for people experiencing sleep disturbances.

While sleep problems may last up to a year after stopping, research shows that most withdrawal symptoms subside after three months.

A person’s body may withdraw if they try to quit smoking. Assuming you weren’t already experiencing insomnia, your sleep habits should return to normal shortly after you quit smoking. If withdrawal symptoms last more than a month, it’s recommended that you see a doctor to confirm if quitting smoking is the cause.

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!