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A Smoker Needs His Rest

By Cameron Elliott

Smoking and Sleeping

I'll come clean: I smoke. I know, I know, it's a bad habit, and I'm the process of quitting. But, I like having a cigar with my dad on special occasions, and after writing for hours, a cigarette break can be exactly what I need. Besides, I smoke cloves, which unlike regular cigarettes, actually smell and taste good.

But I do realize the health risks of smoking: increased heart disease, lung cancer, and emphysema, plus a whole lot more. Here's the thing, though. I'm young. I just turned 23. At this age, it's easy to write those things off; even if they do happen, it won't be for another 15, 20, 30+ years.

So why am I quitting? I'll get to the point: smoking and sleeping don't mix. It took me a while to figure it out, but after smoking a lot and not sleeping, I began to put two and two together. The problem is nicotine is a stimulant; it will keep you up. You wouldn't drink coffee or a coke before trying to go to bed, so why smoke? I guess if cravings were making you jittery and keeping you up, it might make sense, but that just brings me to my next point.

Nicotine is extremely addicting, and like any addictive substance, heavy users start experiencing withdrawal as soon as that last cigarette is snubbed out. In fact, heavy smokers probably won't be able to sleep much more than 4 to 6 hours because of withdrawal symptoms.

In short, nicotine affects sleep: you get worse sleep, and less sleep when you smoke.

I'm not writing this to try and make anyone quit, or to say that smoking is bad. You're an adult, you can make your own decisions, and you don't need me telling you what to do.

My goal is to educate; if you smoke and can't sleep, maybe it's time to think about cutting back or quitting all together. If you're in the process of quitting, congratulations. Perhaps we can quit together.

Sleeping is good, and you deserve to sleep better and longer.


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