Nicotine is highly addictive and is found in cigarettes, tobacco, e-cigarettes, and some vapes.
- Nicotine is a stimulant, that causes the release of several chemicals in your body, eg, serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutryic acid.
- It can cause sleep problems, especially if you have a lot of nicotine. Problems can include:
- taking longer to fall asleep
- waking up more often during the night
- disruption of your sleep cycle
- poorer sleep quality.
- Nicotine can also increase your risk of obstructive sleep apnoea. It relaxes the upper airway muscles, increasing the likelihood that your airway will be obstructed (blocked) during sleep.
While nicotine can disturb your sleep, nicotine withdrawal and cravings can make you feel tired and cause insomnia, nightmares and parasomnias. When you quit smoking, your sleep patterns should gradually improve as the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are temporary. The worst symptoms generally occur about 2 to 3 days after quitting. Daytime tiredness tends to slowly get better during the first 20 days after quitting.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can also affect sleep. NRT is used to help people quit smoking and vaping by providing your body with a small amount of nicotine. Nicotine gum, patches, and lozenges can reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and can also cause sleep problem when you first start taking them, but this gets better with time. Remember the benefits of using NRT far outweigh the risks of continuing to smoke or vape.