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Does Nicotine Disrupt Your Sleep and What You Can Do About It?

September 13, 2023

Does Nicotine Disrupt Your Sleep and What You Can Do About It?

Having trouble getting enough sleep or falling asleep quickly, may be a sign that you are ingesting a high dosage of nicotine.

Nicotine is a stimulant that affects the whole body, it can be ingested through cigarettes, vapes, nicotine pouches, and e-cigarettes. Ingesting too much right before bedtime may cause sleep problems. Understanding how you can get back to your regular sleep cycles could be beneficial for your overall health. To reduce the impact of nicotine on your sleep schedule, it’s a good idea to build certain sleep habits if you already don’t have one.

How Does Nicotine Affect Sleep Stages?

Sleep is a complex process consisting of various stages (4 to be precise), each of which has a crucial role in restoring our body’s energy. Illustrated in the table below you will find all the different stages, their names, and how long they last.

Sleep StageType of SleepOther NamesNormal Lenght
Stage 1Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleepLight sleep, drowsiness5-10 minutes
Stage 2NREMSlow-wave sleep20-25 minutes
Stage 3NREMDeep sleep10-20 minutes
Stage 4Rapid eye movement (REM) sleepActive Sleep, dreaming sleep10-25 minutes

Nicotine intake in high dosages can interfere with these sleep stages resulting in: 

  • Delayed onset of Deep Sleep – Also known as slow-wave sleep. The stage of sleep where your brain waves are at their lowest and where your heartbeat and breathing slow down significantly.
  • Shortening REM Sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) – the stage of sleep when we dream and our brains are most active. It is important for cognitive function, memory consolidation, and emotional regulation. Short REM Sleep results in poor concentration, mood swings, and irritability during the day
  • Fragmented sleepWhen sleep is interrupted by short periods of wakefulness. It can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep, resulting in fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating during the day. In short, it disrupts the natural sleep schedule and stages, thus making it harder to fall asleep, and have a regular restful night.
  • Makes you more alert – Nicotine can temporarily give you a boost of energy, but it also can make it harder to fall asleep and have a good night’s sleep. That’s because nicotine increases your heart rate and blood pressure, making it difficult to relax.
  • Sleep Latency – The time it takes to fall asleep. Nicotine increases sleep latency, thus making it hard to fall asleep at night.

How does nicotine affect your sleep latency?

People who smoke regularly may need from 5 to 25 minutes longer than nonsmokers to fall asleep. Moreover, they tend to sleep for a shorter time and experience more sleep disturbances than those who don’t smoke.

Nicotine can affect your sleep in several ways, therefore resulting in shortened sleep and making you unproductive the next day. Nicotine can affect a person’s sleep in several ways:

  • Stimulation –  Nicotine is a powerful stimulant and can cause someone to have trouble falling asleep, especially if he has consumed nicotine closely before bedtime. It may disrupt specific neurotransmitters involved in the sleep process and make it impossible to go to bed at the desired time.
  • Nicotine WithdrawalThroughout sleeping a person can experience nicotine withdrawal, triggering cravings, which may cause the person to wake up or have poor-quality sleep.
  • Increase snoring and sleep apnea – Smoking causes respiratory inflammation and limits a person’s oxygen flow.  It may result in a higher risk of sleep apnea in some people. When somebody has sleep apnea, they repeatedly stop and start breathing during sleep. On the other hand, snoring is caused when air passes through tissues in the throat and makes a noise.
  • Disruption of the circadian rhythm – Smokers may experience a disruption in their natural circadian rhythm. It’s the biological internal body clock that regulates many essential bodily functions on a 24-hour cycle.

 No Smoking – What happens now?

 no smoking red icon forbidden

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. It can improve your overall well-being and it can help you live longer. There are several changes that may occur when nicotine intake is reduced:

Weight gain –  Nicotine usually suppresses appetite, therefore it’s no wonder that after quitting you may experience hunger more often. However, with some self-control, you will overcome this issue.
Irritation –  When you quit smoking, your body goes through nicotine withdrawal. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including irritability, increased cravings for cigarettes, and difficulty concentrating.

How fast can the body clear out of nicotine?

Quitting smoking can start to improve your health within minutes of your last cigarette.

  • After 1 hour – Only 20 minutes after stopping the heart rate slows down and returns to normal, as well as the blood pressure begins to drop.
  • After 12 hours – Within 12 hours of quitting smoking, the body eliminates excess carbon monoxide, returning oxygen levels to normal. Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas that can prevent oxygen from entering the lungs and blood. 
  • After 1 day – Within 24 hours of quitting smoking, your blood pressure drops and your oxygen levels rise. This can help to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • After 2 days – You will start to gain back your sharpened smell and taste as the nerve endings that were damaged by smoking will start to heal.
  • After 3 days – Usually, nicotine withdrawal symptoms peak after about 3 days, that’s when the body’s nicotine levels have completely depleted.
  • After 1 month – Within one month of quitting smoking, lungs start to heal and lung capacity improves.
  • After 1-3 months – For the next months circulation continues to improve.
  • After 1 year – One year after quitting smoking, the risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by half. This risk continues to decrease over time.

7 Tips to get better sleep after quitting smoking

After stopping ingesting nicotine it’s pretty common to experience sleep disturbances. Nicotine levels in the body start to drop, therefore you may experience cravings that can make it hard to fall asleep. However, there are a couple of ways to make things easier.

#1st – Create a relaxing bedtime routine:

  • Take a warm bath – Create a relaxing atmosphere. Add some essential oils into the tub and soak your body in, so that the warm water can release your muscle tension.
  • Get a massage – If you don’t have someone to give you a massage, you can use a massage device or take advantage of the built-in massage functionalities that Ergomotion Beds offers.
  • Drink herbal tea – There are a lot of herbal teas that can help with sleep problems. One of the most popular choices is chamomile, lavender, and passionflower.
  • Listen to soothing music – Music can help with relaxation, especially nature sounds, white noise, or classical music. Just be sure to set your devices to be turned off automatically, so they won’t wake you up during the night.

#2nd – Follow a regular sleep schedule:

image of a clock

After quitting smoking your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle could be disrupted. It’s essential to establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This will help you get your body back on track and make it easier for you to fall asleep and wake up in the morning. It’s essential to follow this routine even on the weekends, consistency is vital.

#3rd – Create a digital Curfew:

The Usage of electronic devices before bed can make it hard to fall asleep. The artificial blue light emitted from electronic devices suppresses the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that helps with sleep regulation. 

exhausted woman looking at smartphone screen lying in bed

#4th- Don’t drink alcohol:

Avoid alcoholic beverages closely before going to bed. Alcohol suppresses REM sleep. Even if you sleep through the night after drinking alcohol, you may still feel tired and groggy. If it’s still hard to stay off the bottle, try drinking non-alcoholic beverages.

#5th- Get some exercise:

Woman running outdoors

If you are having trouble sleeping, try exercising or taking a walk a few hours before bedtime. Physical activity can tire you out, which can make it easier to fall asleep at the right time. However, it is important to avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as this can actually make it harder to fall asleep,  so it is best to avoid it for at least an hour before going to bed.

#6th – Practice relaxation techniques:

Woman practising yoga on Ergomotion bed

Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga could help to relax your mind and muscles. Here are some specific examples of relaxation techniques that you can try:

  • Meditation – First, you need to sit in a comfortable position and focus on your breathing. When your mind starts to go elsewhere, bring back the focus on your breathing.
  • Deep Breathing – Take slow deep breaths through your nose and let them out through your mouth, while focusing on your breath and trying to let go of all your worries.
  • Yoga – Yoga can improve mindfulness and help with sleep disturbances. It can also be a great way to reduce stress and anxiety.

#7th – Cut your caffeine intake:

spilled coffee beans

Usually, smokers metabolize caffeine more quickly than non-smokers, therefore they need to consume more caffeine to achieve the same effect. This can lead to abuse of caffeine after quitting smoking, which can cause unpleasant side effects such as anxiety and insomnia. To avoid that, you will need to cut caffeine consumption gradually. Here are some tips that might help you with that:

  • Cut your caffeine intake in half –  This will help your body to adjust to a lower level of caffeine intake and over time you should be able to endure the day without a cup of coffee.
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening – It can interfere with your sleep, so it will be best to avoid it in the hours near bedtime.
  • Drink plenty of water – Staying hydrated can help reduce caffeine cravings and improve overall energy levels.


Why is nicotine so addictive?

Nicotine is a powerful stimulant that increases your blood pressure and heart rate after being consumed. It also releases dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of pleasure, therefore making nicotine addictive.

Does nicotine withdrawal affect sleep?

Yes, after quitting nicotine, you may feel nicotine withdrawal while sleeping. It will wake you up and make you want to take your nicotine dosage, therefore your sleeping will be affected.

Does nicotine affect your sleep? 

Yes, nicotine can affect your sleep schedule and can interfere with your plans for going to bed early. On the other hand, if you are quitting nicotine, you may feel withdrawals when sleeping, therefore waking you from sleep and worsening your resting.

How much nicotine is safe a day?

There is no recommended dosage a day. Nicotine can be dangerous in large quantities, so it’s common sense that less will always be better in this case.

Is nicotine OK before bed?

No, it’s not recommended to ingest nicotine closely before going to bed. It can make you feel more aware and sharpen your senses for a couple of minutes, therefore you will struggle to get in bed at the right time.