Everything you need to know about sleeping well when quitting smoking


quit smoking and sleep wellQuitting smoking is one of the best decisions you can make, but some people find that, as their bodies adjust to being smoke-free, they don’t sleep as well as usual. In fact, a study reported in the Mirror [1] says that over two-thirds of those who went back to smoking after quitting successfully did so because of lack of sleep.

Sleep and cigarettes have a complicated relationship but, if you understand this, you can use the right coping strategies to help you get a good night’s sleep and quit successfully.

How do Sleep and Smoking interact?

  1. Nicotine affects your sleep. Nicotine is a stimulant, like caffeine. You might feel relaxed when you smoke but that’s because the chemicals in cigarettes prevent your brain from receiving the right signals. Your body is in ‘overdrive’, whether you are able to recognise it or not, and that doesn’t aid sleep.

  2. Both smoking and quitting tend to alter your sleep patterns. Studies show that people who smoke, on average, get less sleep. Keep a sleep diary and establishing what is a ‘normal’ night’s sleep for you. If it’s not great, consider doing something to improve it before you reach your quit date. There are plenty of blogs, apps and downloads you can try, or contact a hypnotherapist for help.

  3. Nicotine withdrawal might be a factor. Some smokers experience disturbed sleep because they can’t last all night without a cigarette. This is part of the reason that smokers (on average) have more trouble sleeping. Withdrawal symptoms can increase for a while when you quit but they reduce as your body adapts.

  4. Your mental health. Mental health issues like stress, depression or anxiety can make it more difficult to sleep - and more difficult to quit smoking. If you are experiencing any of these, seeing your GP, a hypnotherapist or counsellor for help and advice before you stop smoking could improve your chances of quitting successfully.

  5. Some people sleep more when they quit smoking. This seems to be about ‘catching up’ with sleep you lost when you were smoking, and has the added benefit that you might be able to sleep through some of the other symptoms of quitting.

How to Quit Smoking and Sleep Better

Quitting smoking can interfere with your sleep temporarily, but the positive health benefits will last for the rest of your life.

Prepare well before you quit and remember that making temporary adjustments will help you to stay well rested. Get help if you need it. Then, you can look forward to becoming smoke-free and enjoying better sleep than ever.

[Watch my Facebook page for regular tips for quitting successfully every Stoptober (and often at other times too).]


Debbie's Blog

deb180.square2Debbie Waller is a professional hypnotherapist, specialising in stress, anxiety and related issues. She also offers EMDR which is used for trauma, PTSD, phobias and OCD and publishes hypnotherapy-for-ibs.co.uk for those interested in using hypnotherapy to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Debbie owns a multi-accredited hypnotherapy school, Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training and offers further training for qualified therapists via CPD Expert. She is the author of Their Worlds, Your Words, editor and contributor to the online magazine Hypnotherapy Training & Practitioner, and co-author of The Hypnotherapy Handbook.

For more information on any of these services, phone 01977 678593. 

Researcher & drafter: Rachel Waller.


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[1] https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/five-million-uk-smokers-tried-11462443 accessed May 2019