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