Suffering Insomnia While Quitting Smoking.

Alarm ClockIt’s not uncommon to hear of people struggling to find sleep when they stop smoking. For an unlucky few, it may even lead to insomnia. It can be pretty tempting to single out nicotine withdrawal as being the cause for this. 

The truth however, is that there are many things that may contribute to a person experiencing insomnia during their quit campaign. The most likely candidate being caffeine.

As this medical review suggests, most smokers drink coffee, and the smoking cessation experience can be largely influenced by whether or not the smoker also abstains from caffeine.

If an ex smoker continues to drink coffee after they quit smoking, they will quickly find the potency of caffeine has dramatically increased. This is because nicotine speeds up the half life of caffeine, causing it to leave the body quicker. Put simply, when there is no nicotine in the body, caffeine lasts a lot longer. Refer to linked review above.

Smokers who do not quit coffee at the same time as quitting smoking, significantly increase their risk of getting caffeine toxicity syndrome.  Which of course, leads to sleep deprivation and potentially insomnia.

On the flip side, ex smokers who also quit caffeine are highly likely to experience fatigue and increased tiredness. The ability to sleep through nicotine withdrawal can be very advantageous for the quitter.

In short, one of the most likely ways to avoid insomnia during a quit campaign is to simply avoid coffee. However, if it is too late and you are already suffering insomnia, it is best to treat it as a separate issue and not as a nicotine withdrawal symptom, in other words, don’t wait for it to pass.

Arguably, the best way to treat insomnia is with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Ask your doctor for more details.

In the mean time, if you suffer insomnia and now past the worst stages of withdrawal, here are some quick tips that may help you get back to a normal sleep pattern.

Exercise Daily.

Exercise doesn’t have to be intense in order to be effective.
Studies have shown that moderate cardio exercises, such as a brisk twenty minute walk, will help combat insomnia.

Pay Attention to Your Circadian Rhythms.

Circadian rhythms are something all biological beings  use to influence certain behaviors such as sleep. In humans, circadian rhythms that influence sleep are largely regulated by our ability to sense light and darkness.

An average human with healthy circadian rhythms should feel sleepy by around nine pm. The best chance of getting a good healthy nights sleep, comes with adhering to these rhythms.

Avoid Naps During the Day.

A nap now and then may not be a major issue, but if taken often, they will disrupt your sleep cycle significantly. Try and stay as active during the day as possible.

Get Up at Same Time Every Morning.


It may take several attempts, but doing this should help you to regulate your sleeping pattern.

Avoid Caffeine

Self explanatory really.

If none of the above work, seek medical attention and again, talk to your doctor about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.



  1. Tani Shabb says:

    HI, Thanks for the great tips, But I am suffering with high sleepiness after quitting ciggs since 18 days, i cant sleep the whole night and before getting into deep sleep I wake up with dreams all over in my mind. please need some help. Plus i have some anxiety issues going as well after quitting smoking.

    • Hi Tani, what you are experiencing is very normal. I had very vivid dreams when I quit as well. They do wear off after a while though. The anxiety can be pretty tough too. Push through it! I am more than 2 years now and every single struggle was worth it!

    • Try using medical marijuana to help you get through sleepless nights.

      • No man, DON’T use medical marijuana for insomnia unless you’re desperate and it’s the only way to get some sleep. First of all, quitting smoking by smoking something else kinda defeats the purpose. Secondly, even if you don’t smoke it, replacing one dependancy with another is no help at all. Not because I’m claiming marijuana is as addictive as nicotine, but because we should learn to do without both. I also refuse to use nicotine patches/gum. I used to smoke weed on a regular basis, and quitting that put me through my first insomnia period. It was much harder to get through than my current nicotine-withdrawal insomnia. Not only that, but the personality traits of marijuana withdrawal can be even worse than nicotine. I was so irritable, had far too much energy to sit still and concentrate on anything. It’s far more psychological than nicotine. In my opinion both are pretty easy to quit with will power alone, but you have to go the distance – my insomnia is annoying but it’ll go away and I sure don’t want to rely on anything external to get a natural, good night’s sleep.

  2. Hi cameron
    Thanks for advice, I have been struggling my anxiety qnd depression, sometimes I feel I was very good while smoking, now my mental health is not ok, still having insomnia, I ask my doc abt this and getting xanax, prozec, and ambeian sleep drug, I got so frustrated sometimes y I quited ciggs,, plus I dont have any major depression in my life. Plz help me with ….

    • I would continue talking to your doctor, though I would also ask about cognitive behavioural therapy. (CBT). It is an excellent form of therapy that helps with all sorts of things, such as insomnia, anxiety etc etc.

      Stay strong Tani!

  3. Hi all I quit smoke already 5month plus but at first I just got few symptoms panic attack and heart palpitation. But now I already suffer insomnia 3weeks so anyone have the same symptoms?? Pls give some advise ??? :(

  4. You have got to be joking ….. Really you want me give up coffee now too next it will be alcohol then meat then I’m sure there will be problem with sex. Or anything else in the world that gives people any sort of enjoyment. This sort of total and utter crap just makes me want to start smoking again. I may have a shorter life but that’s a lot better than a long miserable one

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