Sleep – Part 1 (of 2): Smoking Impacts Our Sleep


February 24, 2021

It is well documented that the quality of our sleep has a direct impact on the quality of our well-being – we sleep roughly a third of our lives, so it is vital to our mental and physical health too. Also well-known are the dangers of smoking cigarettes on our health, but what often gets overlooked is how nicotine - the addictive substance within – can disrupt our sleep.


Here are 4 ways in which smoking destroys the quality of our sleep:


1.     Smoking changes your natural circadian rhythm:

Regular smoking can severely disrupt our natural sleep rhythm. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Centre in 2013 found that smoking tobacco can alter the expression of clock genes in the lungs and the brain - ruining a restful night's sleep. The study found that chronically exposing subjects to cigarette smoke, there was a substantial disruption of the natural circadian clocks, which only worsened with increased tobacco exposure.


2.    Smokers wake up more frequently during the night:

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University studied the sleep patterns of 40 smokers and 40 non-smokers. Of the non-smoker participants, 5 percent said they commonly experienced restless sleep, whereas 22.5 percent of the smokers said they struggled with restless sleep. It’s not uncommon for smokers to wake up in the night craving a cigarette.


3.    Smokers have trouble falling asleep, and feel restless in the morning:

Nicotine activates a release of the chemical dopamine, causing more alertness. In that sense, like caffeine, nicotine is a stimulant and a drug meaning it can substantially affect the quality of sleep if consumed in high quantities and too close to bedtime. According to a study conducted at University of Florida, for every 1 cigarette you smoke, your total sleep time decreases by 1.2minutes – doesn’t sound a lot, but added up over the course of a night, can be physically demanding especially if you’re a light sleeper!


4.  Smokers are more likely to suffer from insomnia:

According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia can be caused by an array of psychiatric and medical conditions, as well as lifestyle habits. Because nicotine is a potent stimulant, cigarette smokers can easily develop insomnia if they smoke frequently and close to bedtime. This can lead to smoking more because of difficulty sleeping and the condition strengthens.

Source article:


Poor quality sleep can lead to further imbalance and illness, here is some further insight on how sleep deprivation can affect us:

Check back for part 2 of this post looking at how to improve our sleep.