Does Nicotine Help You Sleep?

Does Nicotine Help You Sleep?

Does nicotine help you sleep or does nicotine disturb sleep? As mentioned earlier, nicotine can act as both a stimulant and depressant. This begs the question: “Does nicotine help you sleep or does nicotine disturb sleep?”

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Everyone knows that good sleep is the key to good health and good mood. Everybody also knows that there are certain substances that can disturb sleep, such as alcohol, coffee and other drugs.

According to results published in the Journal of Sleep Research in 2019, people who vape would have even more difficulty sleeping than traditional smokers. 

To reach this conclusion, researchers at Oklahoma State University (United States) interviewed 1,664 students through online questionnaires. These allowed them to obtain demographic information as well as data on their sleeping and smoking habits. Among the participants, 40.9% reported having already tried the electronic cigarette and 29% the traditional one. Taking into account factors like alcohol consumption and sex, the researchers found that smokers had many more problems sleeping than others. To be more accurate, people who vape tended to consume more sleeping pills than “traditional” smokers. 

“Since poor quality sleep and the use of alcohol and other drugs, including the use of electronic cigarettes, are both common among college students, it is crucial to understand how the use of electronic cigarettes can have impact on sleep, given its association with many health problems, ”says Emma I. Brett, PhD, lead author of the study.

From now on, vapers should therefore be informed of the risks that this habit can entail on their quality of life. “Since we found that even non-daily e-cigarette use was associated with deterioration in sleep quality, this could be a useful target for prevention and intervention efforts, she says.

In the United States, although traditional smoking rates are declining, e-cigarette smoking rates are comparatively high and rising. And if several studies have shown that the e-cigarette was effective in stopping smoking, others have also pointed to the creation of addiction in people who had never used tobacco before, especially young people.

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In March 2019, the Centers for Disease Control published a  new report highlighting the increase in the use of electronic cigarettes among young students. Thus, in 2018, more than one in four high school students (27.1%) consumed on a regular basis (20 days or more over a period of 30 days) one or more tobacco products (ie cigarettes, electronic cigarettes , pipe, cigar ..), which is an increase of 38% compared to 2017. In detail, the use of electronic cigarettes increased by 78% between 2017 and 2018. 

A similar phenomenon observed in France.

In June, faced with the “impressive increase” in vaping among young people and its “significant consequences on public health”, the very liberal city of San Francisco in California even adopted an ordinance banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

In France, we observe a relatively similar phenomenon. In its annual barometer published at the end of May, Public Health France announced for the year 2018 about 600,000 less tobacco smokers … but 500,000 more vapers.

Sleep and tobacco

Nicotine is an exciting substance that causes sleep disturbances.

Far from promoting sleep, cigarettes keep the body in a constant state of expectation and lack, which each cigarette relieves. This creates tension that disrupts falling asleep and sleeping. In addition, although one seems to feel a feeling of calmness after a cigarette, nicotine is actually an exciting substance that speeds up the heart rate and increases blood pressure; nothing very positive for your sleep. When you quit smoking, sleep disturbances are one of the signs of withdrawal and can manifest themselves in different forms. We have insomnia, we wake up in the middle of the night, we have unusual dreams (violent, erotic, hyper realistic), which can often surprise the person being withdrawn, thus depriving him of his dose of nicotine.

During smoking cessation, difficulty falling asleep, nocturnal awakenings and unusual dreams are common problems. But, these symptoms don’t last.

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Here are some tips that will help you sleep well:

Identify when you fall asleep (when your eyes itch, when you shiver, when you yawn…) and get into the habit of going to bed at that time.

Getting up and going to bed at regular times.

Decreasing activities at least an hour before bedtime.

Lower the room temperature and maintain a calm sound environment.

Sleep with warm feet, if necessary even with socks.

Eat a light meal in the evening, avoiding alcohol, fatty foods and stimulants (coffee, tea, etc.).

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