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!

      • Elaine Houston says:

        I quit after 60 years of smoking. 5 days cold turkey now patch. Started 14 ml for 5 days then switched to 7ml Tired, weak, unable to concentrate, night sweats, and more. Unable to sleep thru nite so cut small xanax in 1/2. Zombie all day but bit clearer late afternoon. Shld I go back to 14 ml? Help appreciated!

      • Elizabeth Palacios says:

        Did u get dry mouth too?? I’ve been doing hookah for 3 years…. I stopped 2 days ago. And my anxiety won’t let me eat…do my regular daily things. I can’t even sleep . I wake up every 15 mnt to walk out side cause I feel suffocated. My eyes close but my brain stays awake. Please help

    • 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

    • Get to know Christ. Best time to get yourselves saved my friend. I was stupid for 35yrs myself. Hope you atleast give it a try and share this with someone after your experience. Cheers.

    • karen Bertram says:

      I quit smoking November 2017 so about 4 months. I agree with you totally. I used the 21 ml patch for a month and now am on the third month of using the 14 ml and am afraid to try and go to the 7 ml. I will keep up with quiting as long as I can but wont be mad at myself if I cant. I am doing meditations I get from you tube and they do help some. I would like those even if I start back smoking

  5. Brenda King says:

    I feel like an idiot. I’ve smoked for 30 years. Im scared to death that I already have cancer, but I just keep puffing away. I have two grandsons and I want to see them grow up . I was with my daughter today and I didn’t smoke at all. I don’t smoke in front of my parents, or my friends. I wish my husband would quit with me. The good news is I haven’t had a cigarette all day and it’s now 11 p.m. I didn’t stop and get a pack on my way home thanks to the rain and I’m not really craving one yet. I can smoke two packs a day on a bad day so I need some encouraging words and I can’t encourage anyone if they need it. Together we can do this. Nobody should want to stink. I know there are people who don’t care if they stink, but we shouldn’t want to stink. Nobody wants cancer though. Please Don’t Let My Words scare you. I just feel like I have thrown my life away. All for that stick that stinks. I’m mad at myself. I have no idea if I will buy cigarettes tomorrow or not , but I will let you know.

    • Former smoker says:

      I recently quit a 1-2 pack a day habit of 25 years after waking to the reality of a COPD diagnosis. I can tell you Brenda, the fear, shame, and guilt of quitting is NOTHING compared to the onset of an irreversible lung condition and the terror of breathlessness and other symptoms. At 30 years, every cigarette ups the ante on a very precarious gamble with not only your quality of life but that of your loved ones. Don’t fear quitting. You can do it. There’s lots of folks and drug companies that have alot invested in making you feel that you can’t quit on your own, without the help of some other drug. What you should be scared of isn’t quitting but the how you’re going to feel when you realize you’ve got a condition that doesn’t care whether you quit or not. I wish you +encouragement. Have faith in your body and spirit to heal itself. It can and it will if you give it a chance.

  6. Brenda King says:

    I’m sorry, I wrote ( I can’t encourage anyone that needs it, I meant I can.) I have positive things to say. Even though tonight I am worrying myself over the unknown I will do my best to not cave tomorrow! Goodnight!

    • Im giving up to Brenda. Hope you ok

      • ot giving up.. Stopping :)..Giving up implies you are giving up” something that is great.. smoking is not! I am on my 21st day..still no sleep, and ever since I stopped smoking I have been really really tired all the time. Not just the first 2, I guess I need ” HELP” ? But, I really object to Labels so I think in the end I will; be takes time for our bodies and minds to adjust.. and every single person does this differently to the next. If you can’t handle the sleeplessness and it goes on and on , then sure, do something. But in the first month or more, I’d say it is just the body adjusting psychologically and physically.. it is a HUGE trauma on your body! Think about ALL those extremely bad chemicals you inhaled aside from just nicotine and tar…no wonder the sleeplessness etc..And by the way.. YOU ARE ALL doing a great job, even if you start again, you gave it a go, and you will stop eventually!! Give yourselves a hug pat on the back, and buy yourself a treat :). You CAN do it..One other thing… COLD TURKEY is the best way to not get addicted to something else.. a least give it a try, and if you can’t do it then use the patches or gum etc…and deal with that addiction later on… 🙂 xx YOU CAN DO IT! N

  7. My insomnia won’t go away yesterday I was up for 28 hours Stright I went to bed for one hour and now I’ve been up and I’m writing this at 6:23 am my body won’t let me sleep it’s like I have forgotten how anyways I feel like I have conqoured everything else my will powers strong enough to defeat cravings which are pretty much diminished and only come after eating now and are very mild but the sleep is killing me because my body is Geting healthy but my mind is now a zombie.

  8. majeed says:

    Quitting smoking is great u have to proud of. Even if u cant sleep all your life u are ridding your self from an awful disease Im happy that Im escaping from that prison everything will be OK in the future

  9. Laurie grant says:

    Hi all three weeks today and I feel brill only downfall insomnia but one thing I have found really helps swimming cuts down stress helps with weight the more I swim the healthier I feel and when I get out it helps with not smoking cos I can breath better as I feel better two birds with one stone…….well,actually three cos I have depression and exercise helps that as is so hard to give up but I feel free. Don’t get me wrong I loved and I mean loved smoking but praying I have the will power to carry on. I do talk to the nicotine cravings! Such as….you are not going to beat me.then when craving wears off yahoo beat it.i do find you tube videos brill as well meditation videos.i never thought they would help in a million years.was I wrong.i am trying new things and am surprised but never felt so good.i hope you all get through this with as little pain as possible.keep strong ,praise yourself,treat yourself and be happy x

  10. Hi it’s my 7th day of quitting. In meanwhile, the 2nd day and 4th day I had a good amount of sleep. But since 2 days it’s become tough sleeping. I don’t know when I fall asleep. I have tried music, milk, hotbath, etc.. they make me yawn and feel sleepy but I ain’t sleeping. My anxiety levels were high in the starting days, now got much better. The only depression I have is I am not able to sleep well. Otherwise it’s all good quitting. Since 2 days I had 3 Nd a 1/2 hour sleep. And I lift heavy weights, take protein shakes, since 4 yours now. Been smoking since 7 years. And I quit cold turkey.
    Any advice on this?

  11. Hi all, I’ve quit exactly 1 year ago. I’m having sleep issues of waking up too early in the morning (3:30-5:30am). I can get back to sleep, but if I do I’ll end up feeling tired and brain fogged the whole day. It’s only recently that I start to suspect the connection between my sleep issues and quitting smoking.
    I’m beginning to think that ex-smokers may actually need less sleep then when they are smoking. Any of you having similar experiences?

    • Hi Calvin,
      I quit, cold turkey, 4 months ago. I had the bug, not flu, and walking to my car from work I could not breathe, at all. I threw those damn cigs out the window and didn’t smoke another one. So here I am 4 months into this (I smoked a pack a day for 40 years) and I can’t get more than a few hours sleep a night. My anxiety and depression are off the wall. I have been walking, a brisk walk, for 3 months and I am getting to the point where I don’t huff and puff after a mile. It’s all worth it! Now I have to get with my doctor to address the insomnia and depression issue. You can Do It!! Keep it up!

  12. John Anastassopoulos says:

    Hi guys. I am 18 years old and i smoke nearly 3 years. I wanted to start smoking cause i liked it and thought that it was the way to “show off something of my style”. I didnt smoke too much in the beginning and until now i liked smoking and didnt have a problem with that(plus i live in Greece which means that you can smoke literally anywhere). I always enjoyed a rolled cigarette with my cold beer when i went out with my friends. And i could not live without the wake-up deadly combination of a cigarette and coffee(or so i thought). The fact is that things started to change when i got hooked up in Marijuana for good. I used to smoke a bowl every day and literally burn my whole day and doing nothing with my life but playing computer games. As i saw myself rotting i started to think that i should stop doing this and so i quit smoking weed cold turkey. After getting high natural again i started to think that maybe i am doing something else wrong too. That’s when i started to meditate so i could see what else is wrong with my life. After the meditation sessions i started to observe my tobacco like it was a new and strange thing for me. I smoked one cigarette after 45 minutes and then i started to feel anxious again and my heartbeat started to rise.. I started to think that maybe smoking screws everything up if you have managed to relax your body and mind even a little bit. Thats when i decided to quit it! I was trying so hard to relax and smoking one cigarette ruined my whole accomplishment! I started to hate it, I started to actually see what it does to your health and why i should never had smoked in the first place. After 1,5 day of chewing gums and talking too much i started to feel the cravings. And when i drunk my coffee and didnt smoke was the straw that screwed up my plan. So I decided to buy a pack on my way back home just for one cigarette! And when i tried to light it up and fulfill my cravings my dad called me and we talked for 2 hours so i forgot all about it. But the fact that i bought the pack was there and loading me with guilt and for some stupid reason i lighted up that one cigarette( even if my cravings had gone away) and i felt that bad change in my system, i even went to fall down at some point. Long story short i smoked 5 cigarettes that night for no reason at all (and mention the fact that i poured some wine a couple of hours before that, when i talked with my dad) So I broke my promise to myself. And now I am even more motivated and have learned my lesson. No coffee and no alcohol for at least a month. The problem is that in 2 days from now my university exams begin and i can’t seem to manage my pain and therefore can’t study like i should be doing. All of my friends are smokers except one or two who i don’t see very often so it is hard to get support right now from them. I was thinking on going to live with my parents for two weeks, start a healthy way of living, and live in a small- small town in addition with Athens chaotic environment. I will just come here for my exams and going back after i am finished. I know i am young and i did some silly things when i was younger. And thats why i think that i should try quitting now and i am asking for your help guys. Please give me some advices, help me get over this shitty addiction so i can help my friends get over it too so we can go play a nice old-fashioned basketball match instead of smoking and drinking all night. Thank you.

  13. Yeah, I remember my first day of quitting. I don’t normally drink coffee, but that day I did, because I was tired after gym and had a lot of work to do. Little did I know that I shouldn’t drink coffee. When it was time to sleep, I literally spent all night awake. By the tims morning came, I was extremely tired, but I still couldn’t fall asleep no matter what. It was really annoying, because I just spent 12 hours in my bed but not sleeping.

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