Sleep Adjustments

Physical healing of the body and mind

Sleep Adjustments

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

18 May 2001, 11:34 #1

Sleep can get pretty disruptive the first few days. Some people will get very little sleep, waking up every hour or not sleeping at all yet not feel tired. Others can sleep 20 hours a day and be exhausted during their waking hours. Whichever way it goes, sleep will adjust itself when you quit and eventually go back to normal.

But there is a catch. You don't know what normal is. Normal is what it was prior to being a smoker with aging thrown in. Some people have not been normal for decades.

Nicotine is a stimulant drug that once it wore off through the smoker into a physiological depressed state. To overcome the smoker would smoke again, thus stimulating him or herself. Which would soon wear off and so on and so on. All the while shooting up blood sugar and hormonal levels and crashing them later. By the end of the day the smoker could be physically exhausted from this chronic stimulant/depressant roller coaster. They had to adjust their sleep around these effects.

Without this chronic abuse, these ex-smokers may find that they can get by on less sleep after they quit smoking, sometimes knocking out hours of what they thought was needed sleep time. Others only minimize sleep by a short time period but it is very obvious when the alarm goes off they can jump out of bed full of energy and ready to go or sometimes even wake up before the alarm with new found energy. When they were smokers they were often exhausted upon waking, hating the alarm and needing cigarettes to wake up and get going.

There are a smaller number of people who need more sleep when they are ex-smokers. These are people who often smoked heavily at the tail end of their days. Their bodies were crying for sleep but they kept pumping nicotine into their system to override the bodies need. Without a constant stimulant they now have to listen to their bodies and go to bed when tired. They could take speed and get the same effects but normally realize that they wouldn't resort to a drug for this effect, yet they can rationalize that smoking was OK for the same purpose. Well it wasn't, it was allowing the smoker to maintain such a schedule at a cost. And the long range cost for this "benefit" could be death.

Anyway, don't panic by the sleep amount the first few days. It is not your normal amount of sleep as an ex-smoker, it is your normal amount of sleep while in drug withdrawal. This is not a normal time or a long lasting time period. Sleep will eventually settle in to a normal pattern for you as an ex-smoker. Then aging will exert its normal adjustments. Whether it turns out to be more sleep or less, you should at least sleep sounder knowing you are no longer under the control of nicotine and no longer posing such a deadly risk to yourself by still smoking. To sleep happier because you know you are staying healthier and likely to live longer, always remember all the times you are awake to never take another puff!

Joel
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marty (gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

18 May 2001, 19:09 #2

I'd only add that with me it was several weeks (not days) before I adjusted into any steady sort of sleep pattern. That was maybe because I was not mentally ready to respond when my body was telling me to go to bed at 10pm (very early for the smoking me). So I never allowed myself to settle into a new pattern.

I have now, and guess what ! As a smoker I was a regular night-owl (normal bed-time between 11pm and 1am, normal wake-up time 8.30am). As a non-smoker, I go to bed between 10pm and 11pm, and wake up between 7 and 8am. So I'm not a night-owl any more, I wake up more refreshed than I ever used to, and my whole life-style feels much more relaxed and natural.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

18 May 2001, 19:18 #3

Marty is correct, it takes people weeks to finally adjust into the normalized sleep pattern. The first few days are very erratic though, not indicative of anything of what sleep requirements will be like in the long run. Those first few days some people seem to need to sleep a huge amount and still be constantly tired, while others may get by on almost no sleep what so ever and still be wired. Again, this is what they are like during withdrawal which is a very temporary state. Thanks for the clarification Marty. I created the string by modifying a response to a person who was experiencing some very disruptive sleep disturbances during the second or third night after quitting and was trying to address that specific time period concern.



Joel


10-24-2011
Added following video:


Last edited by Joel on 24 Oct 2011, 16:47, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

18 May 2001, 19:40 #4

One more follow-up here so that it is a little more complete when being brought up in the future. I see where many people are giving advice that others should take sleep aids, whether prescription or herbal medicines to help to adjust sleep patterns. Unless the sleep is totally disruptive of your life, it is probably better to give the body a chance to adjust on its own. It will likely adjust faster than by trying to regulate it through pharmacological measures. Sleep medications can be very habit forming and people need to be careful when using them normally, let alone the risk of crutch replacement that can be felt when using a new medication just after quitting smoking.

Sleep will go back to normal when your body is ready and will then stay normal for you as long as you never take another puff!

Joel
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Mals(Green)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:58

18 May 2001, 19:51 #5

Thanks for the this thread Zep.

I had no idea what was going on or why my sleep patterns were so disruptive when I was quitting. I most certainly followed the trend.

As a smoker, I hated going to bed and hated waking up. Could never get enough sleep. Was always rushing in the mornings to avoid being late to work. It was crazy.

During my quit, I slept a lot. Actually, I don't remember much of the first three days - I was so sad, so out of it and so tired - it was amazing.

Soon after, I was amazed that I was waking up before the alarm each morning and actually not tired when I woke up. That was very surprising to me since I don't recall that ever happening in my life. I have since (six weeks into the quit) established somewhat of a pattern. Like Marty, even though I was a night owl prior to the quit, I am tired by 10:00 - 11:00 PM. Amazingly, I am up by 6:00 AM. Life has been good in terms of sleeping patterns!!!

Mal
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Aug 2001, 19:42 #6

Image Sleep adjustments is another example of how your body goes back to normal when you quit but that in fact you do not know what normal is until you get there. As a smoker, your body and mind have not been normal for years or decades, it has been adjusted around chronic administration of a highly addictive and poisonous drug, nicotine, as well as the thousands of other chemicals that come in with it.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 Aug 2001, 07:55 #7

I see a little discussion going on about over the counter and prescription medications to help with the sleep adjustment issue. Everyone needs to be careful with using substances to adjust around quitting smoking adjustments. If it can be done without such methods it is safer. Be very sure to work with your physician if you are going such routes. Refer to the article "crutches to quit smoking," it refers to some of the pitfalls to resorting to medications to get back to normal.

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Sep 2001, 21:43 #8

I've heard numerous reports in the past few days of people who are experiencing symptoms of depression. A couple of nights ago on CNN I think, I saw some survey that was quoted on the bottom of the screen where they are streaming headlines, of a report that said 7 our of 10 Americans report varying levels of depression since the September 11 attacks. Also I have been hearing of many people whose sleep patterns have been disrupted since that time too.

We must be careful in times such as these not to automatically attribute such reactions to smoking cessation effects. Sure if this is your first or second day of quitting and you are having such reactions quitting smoking may be the primary cause. But people who are off weeks, months or even years must recognize that under times such as we are experiencing now, abnormal emotional feelings are common and likely have absolutely nothing to do with quitting smoking.

In a way these events are not even triggers for nicotine. It is not like we have encountered these events before, although some people may have had personal experiences with violence or profound grief where smoking played an integral role--being increased dramatically to deal with the accelerated excretion rate stress induced.

But for most people the feeling and emotions being experienced are normal reactions to very abnormal situations, and even if you had never taken up smoking as a child decades ago you would likely be feeling the same intensity of emotions.

So be discriminating now of why certain feelings are happening and remained focused on the fact that while other life circumstances are sometimes feeling out of control--one area of your life is under your control and will remain that way. The area is your ability to stay smoke free--and it will remain under your control as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

08 Oct 2001, 06:11 #9

Image Sending this up for Azwel and all our other newbies. Undoubtedly, a few of you may be experiencing differnt sleep patterns than you are used to, these next few days or so.
Last edited by GrumpyOMrsS (Gold) on 16 Mar 2009, 22:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 Oct 2001, 19:40 #10

Image This may be a factor in some people reporting tiredness early on in their quits.
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