How Does Smoking Cigarettes Affect Sleep and Insomnia?

cigarettes smoking

Sleep is one of the most important activities you need to maintain your health and well-being – it allows your body and mind to rest and recover from the day’s activities and provides time for your brain to process information and consolidate memories. Unfortunately, the modern lifestyle can often interfere with this essential process, and one of the most common culprits is smoking tobacco.

Cigarette use can have a number of adverse effects on your quality of sleep and conditions such as insomnia. More precisely, nicotine, a potent stimulant, can act as an antagonist to sleep-promoting hormones like melatonin, making it difficult for the body and mind to enter into a restful state.

To help you better understand the relationship between smoking cigarettes and sleeping disorders, let’s take a look at the problem in detail. Read on and learn why cigarettes and sleep don’t mix!

Tobacco Keeps You Up

No matter if you are an occasional tobacco user who doesn’t know where to stand on the wax vs. dabs debate or a full-on chain smoker consuming multiple packs a day, the fact is that nicotine is a powerful stimulant.

And like all stimulants, it can keep you awake and hinder your ability to fall asleep. This is because nicotine interacts with the brain’s neurotransmitters, specifically those that are responsible for promoting alertness and wakefulness. The more nicotine you consume, the more pronounced these effects become.

This means even a single cigarette can effectively make it harder for you to fall asleep when you go to bed at night. Combine that with the fact that many people have natural difficulties with the inability to sleep, and you have a perfect storm of conditions that can lead to major sleeping problems.

Smoking Also Affects the Quality of Your Sleep

Of course, it’s not just falling asleep that cigarettes can make difficult. Once you are asleep, tobacco use can also affect the quality and duration of your sleep.

It is believed tobacco users tend to sleep less than non-smokers and that their sleep is often lighter and more fragmented. In other words, cigarette users often wake up more during the night and have a harder time staying asleep for long periods of time.

Although fragmented sleep sounds less harmful than not being able to sleep at all, it is actually a major problem. Prolonged exposure to this condition can not only lead to a major decrease in productivity and focus during the day but also increase your risk of developing insomnia.

Smoking May Lead to Sleep Apnea

Another condition that smokers are at a higher risk of developing is sleep apnea, a serious condition where breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep, causing the sufferer to wake up frequently throughout the night.

quit smoking

Although it can occur in both smokers and non-smokers, the general belief is that smokers are much more likely to develop sleep apnea than those who do not use tobacco products.

Surprisingly, nicotine is not the main culprit behind this condition. Instead, the problem is that smokers often have narrower airways due to the irritation caused by tobacco smoke or, more specifically, various toxic chemicals released during the combustion process. Such irritation makes various tissues swell up and block the airflow, often resulting in snoring at night.

Smoking Leads to Less Deep Sleep

Finally, it’s worth noting that smokers tend to spend less time in deep sleep – one of the most important phases of the sleep cycle. This is particularly problematic because it is during deep sleep when your body recovers from wear and tear, your brain processes information, and you consolidate memories.

It’s also worth noting that the lack of deep sleep can lead to various health problems, such as increased stress levels, anxiety, depression, and a weakened immune system.

How Can You Quit Smoking Cigarettes?

Considering all of the above, it’s no surprise that quitting smoking is typically recommended to those who have difficulty sleeping. But, of course, quitting is often much easier said than done. The good news is that there are various methods you can use to quit smoking for good.

One of the most effective ways to limit your cigarette consumption is vaping. While e-cigarettes still aren’t perfect, they can offer you a less risky way to administer nicotine and limit your intake of toxic chemicals released during tobacco smoking.

Of course, this is not the only way to quit smoking. Other methods include nicotine replacement therapy, behavioral therapies, and medication. However, it’s worth noting that these methods may not be suitable for everyone, so make sure to consult your doctor before trying any of them out.


All in all, it’s quite clear that smoking cigarettes can have a significant impact on your sleep. The effects of tobacco use, such as increased wakefulness and fragmented sleep, are readily apparent, with smoking itself often leading to various conditions such as insomnia and sleep apnea.

Because of that, it’s imperative that you quit smoking as quickly as you can. Luckily, there are various methods you can use to do so, so make sure to find the one that works best for you. After all, sleep is incredibly important for your overall health and well-being, so it’s in your best interest to take care of it. Good luck quitting the habit!