An Introduction to Nicotine Withdrawal Insomnia
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and affects up to half of the population at sometime during their lives. The cause of insomnia varies by individual and can results from anxiety and stress, an uncomfortable sleeping environment, noise and light, and the lack of a regular bedtime routine.
In addition, lifestyle factors such as consuming caffeine before bedtime, drinking alcohol, eating certain foods, and keeping unusual sleep schedules contribute to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Insomnia can even occur among people who are trying to stop smoking as they experience the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Of course, quitting smoking is a great first step to becoming healthier, but there are also
certain adverse effects of quitting. Some former smokers report an increase in appetite when they quit, resulting in
the dreaded post-cessation weight gain. Other former smokers, however, report
having trouble sleeping when they first quit smoking. This may contribute to a lack of
sleep, having poor quality sleep, and/or feeling exhausted during the day.
Insights into Nicotine Withdrawal Insomnia
As mentioned above, tobacco cigarette smokers are more likely
than non-smokers to experience clinically significant insomnia as a result
of nighttime nicotine withdrawal. Researchers also believe that intolerance for withdrawal symptoms
could play a role in sleep disturbance.
For example, late-night snack cravings due to the increased appetite from quitting can hinder your sleep. Similarly, going through mood swings or feelings of anxiety — both side effects of quitting — may impact your sleep quality, making you a light sleeper or feeling exhausted upon waking up.
Studies have shown that smokers who showed greater intolerance for nicotine
withdrawal also reported greater insomnia severity and impact. As such, it's
essential to understand the nicotine withdrawal symptoms before you can
effectively handle them and positively impact your sleep quality.
Tips for Dealing with Nicotine Withdrawal
Smokers who want to quit the habit may rely on nicotine withdrawal therapy (NRT) to gradually reduce their nicotine intake (while eliminating tobacco consumption) and eventually quit. The National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, provides detailed information on the use of NRT products. Click here to read the overview: Use of Nicotine Replacement Therapies.
One of the earliest forms of NRT include nicotine gums and nicotine patches. Yet today, there are many alternative nicotine products that provide microdoses of nicotine in a smoke-free and tobacco-free way.
For example, smokeless nicotine pouches that come in a range of nicotine strengths and flavors from cooling wintergreen, fresh mint, or spicy cinnamon are an alternative to help quit smoking. Placed between your top lip and gum, nicotine pouches deliver the nicotine and flavors orally. For smokers who are trying to quit, NRT nicotine pouches and dips offer a discreet and spit-less alternative to satisfy nicotine cravings without the need to light a cigarette.
Other smokeless alternatives include good old nicotine patches, which are still popular today. Thanks to NRT products such as these, more adults are successfully quitting their smoking habit. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, NRT increased successful cessation rates from 10% with placebo to 17%, demonstrating the impact of these stop-smoking tools.
Still, when using NRT products to stave off nicotine withdrawal symptoms at
night, it's best not to use them right before bedtime. After all, nicotine is a
stimulant that may prevent you from relaxing enough to sleep.
Note: While quitting cigarettes can help your body heal, it is important to be aware of potential withdrawal symptoms that may affect your physical or mental wellness. Therefore, before embarking on your journey to quit smoking, consult with your healthcare provider.
Aside from directly addressing your nicotine withdrawal insomnia, you should also be cautious about other sleep-stealers. Get more information on staving off insomnia and check out the list of articles below.