BOTY_2018_Online_webpage_header_recipient-1.png

Alaska Sleep Education Center

Vaping: New US Epidemic and Its Connection to Sleep

Posted by Jennifer Hines and Stefanie Leiter on Sep 26, 2019 7:45:00 AM

It’s no secret that smoking can seriously affect your health, but the consequences can be worse when sleep apnea is also present. If you smoke and have sleep apnea or know someone who does, you probably wondered how smoking affects sleep apnea and overall sleep.

Smoking interferes with your body’s natural sleep cycle and has a long lasting impact on your ability to sleep restfully. Nicotine found in cigarettes causes physiological reactions that awaken your body, can induce airway obstruction and inflammation both in the nose and upper airway, and compromise the success of CPAP therapy.

Smoking interferes with your body’s natural sleep cycle and has a long lasting impact on your ability to sleep restfully. Nicotine found in cigarettes causes physiological reactions that awaken your body, can induce airway obstruction and inflammation both in the nose and upper airway, and compromise the success of CPAP therapy.

Health issues from cigarettes has recently led many smokers to try vaping. However, despite the claim nicotine is lower in these products, there is just as much to lose when deciding to give up e-cigarettes because of the addictive ingredients.

vape

What is vaping?

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. Although many are under the misconception e-cigarettes’ aerosol is water vapor, the Center of Addition states many of these particles contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart disease.

A report in 2016 by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that vaping can become a gateway for teens and young adults a gateway to the world of smoking. Another study from the American Association for the Advancement of Science suggests that vaping has nearly the same impact as cigarettes in terms of suppressing the essential immune system-related genes.

This Week's News on Vaping

Just yesterday, CDC health officials announced 100's of new respiratory illnesses connected to vaping happening just over the past couple of weeks. Also, the head of JUUL stepped down amid reports that the vape company plans to end advertising for their product.

According to the blog Vaping360, " Nicotine is a stimulant that paradoxically can increase mental alertness and have a sedative effect. It’s conceivable that if you’re tired or fatigued from vaping, it could be similar to a caffeine crash. If you find yourself getting sleepy, try lowering or increasing your nicotine strength, or even eliminating it all together.”

For brands like CVS Health, in 2014 they stopped the sale of all nicotine products because the sale simply did not match the mission of their organization. Five years later, they increased revenue and have seen sales go up for patches and other items that promote smokers to quit.

Many fear the withdrawal symptoms are too much to handle. But with family and friends support, there are ways to recognize the signs and talk to a doctor to successfully transition from vaping to a vape-free healthy life.

vape2

When going through withdrawal, symptoms can last for days, weeks, and even months depending on the level of vaping you were doing. A few common symptoms include:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Drowsiness
  3. Headache
  4. Increased hunger
  5. Irritability
  6. Depression
  7. Erratic heart and blood pressure
  8. Digestive issues

Viewing the list, one main ingredient to your health is affected by every symptom: sleep.

So how does it affect the sleep of an individual?

I talked to one male, Jim, who agreed to be interviewed for the specific concern of their own account of the sleepless nights that has led to other health issues.

When asked how it affected his life, he quickly noted to me that he only vaped for a month this summer. As he quit cold turkey last month, he noticed the side effects immediately from sleeplessness, erratic spikes with his heart rate, signs of depression, irritability, frequent headaches, and tiredness while driving. None were an issue prior to vaping.

“I enjoyed cigars in my 20s and early 30s, but once I knew the risks and possibility of addiction, I decided to stop completely,” said Jim. “I started vaping because work and life were a little hectic so I thought it would take the edge off.”

For a person who normally slept like a rock and did not encounter tiredness on the job or commuting, it changed quickly after quitting in August. He noticed the frequent headaches which lead to irritability. His family then noticed him falling asleep during normal activities and not being as cheerful as normal.

“I tried to hide the fact it wasn’t a problem, but when my heart started racing and everything piled on, I went into a depressive state and closed myself off from admitting the problem was from the vaping.”

Looking back, he agreed he probably would have tried it because of the allure and the flavors out there. He also commented on how they can become addicting very quickly. His caution to others is to think about the side effects first and how they will affect your lifestyle.

A month later, he still has restless nights and his doctor is helping with the erratic heart rate, but he also has tried a few things on his own like meditation at bedtime and essential oils to fill the room. With each step, he says he is feeling better.

If you have struggled with sleeping at night, it is important to talk to your doctor. They may ask for a sleep log and to point out signs of when restless nights started for you. But if vaping is part of your own routine or you are in the process of stopping, this could be the leading reason you are struggling at night.

Smoking interferes with your body’s natural sleep cycle and has a long lasting impact on your ability to sleep restfully. Nicotine found in cigarettes causes physiological reactions that awaken your body, can induce airway obstruction and inflammation both in the nose and upper airway, and compromise the success of CPAP therapy.

The effects of smoking on your sleep

Nicotine is a stimulant just like sugar and coffee, which can alter the expression of clock genes (circadian rhythm) in the lungs and the brain according to research, with long term effects. 

How nicotine affects your sleep - SleepTalk

Smoking can cause frequent awakenings, snoring and make it harder to fall asleep. It also acts as an irritant that can provoke swelling in the nose and throat, reducing the space left for airflow.  This makes it harder to breathe as your throat tissue becomes more irritated and swollen, which can cause obstructive sleep apnea.1

Just as you wouldn’t "wind down" with an espresso before bed, a cigarette prior to going to sleep actually introduces a powerful stimulus into the bloodstream which can cause insomnia and/or sleep-disordered breathing, rather than relaxing your body.

Can smoking cigarettes make sleep apnea worse?

If you smoke cigarettes, smoking puts you at a higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea and may increase its severity. Studies show that smokers are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than nonsmokers and former smokers combined.3

Cigarette smoking increases the risk and severity of obstructive sleep apnea for numerous reasons: it disrupts the sleep architecture (circadian rhythm and sleep cycles), can damage upper airway muscle function, fragment sleep and inflame or increase mucus congestion in the upper airway.

What you need to know about how smoking affects your sleep

Risks of smoking if you have sleep apnea

Sleep apnea and smoking can independently impact your breathing, but together they have amplified negative effects on your airway.The combination of smoking and non-CPAP adherence is also made dangerous as they can both provoke similar risk factors related to stroke, diabetes, airway inflammation, high blood pressure and heart problems.

Is vaping bad for your sleep?

It can be. While e-cigarettes may reduce some of the health risks associated with smoking, vaping still delivers nicotine to your body. Vaping with flavoured nicotine products have been associated with severe lung disease that is irreversible (bronchiolitis obliterans), and also interferes with sleep. If there is nicotine in your e-liquid, it will affect your sleep.

Take a deep breath

Transitioning into CPAP therapy may be challenging for some people, although adherence to therapy is proven to treat sleep apnea. Some studies have also shown that CPAP adherence may even help you quit smoking. Smoking seriously impacts your ability to breathe and adds physical strain on your body, airway and lungs. Unfortunately, it has likely worsened your obstructive sleep apnea as well.

By starting and adhering to CPAP therapy without compromise, you can get the sleep you deserve and feel better, which may help you make other positive health choices like quitting smoking. Quitting is not easy, but there are many healthcare professionals ready to help, and our respiratory therapists are always here to help you get on the right track with your CPAP therapy so you can care for your airway and sleep well.

The Alaska Sleep Clinic is available for free consultation by phone. If you live in Alaska, consider having a sleep study here if the problems have become more persistent.

Finally - Sleep Consultation

Topics: health, smoke, vaping, lung

Subscribe to our Blog

Alaska Sleep Clinic's Blog

Our weekly updated blog aims to provide you with answers and information to all of your sleeping questions.

New Call-to-action
Got Sleep Troubles

New Call-to-action

New Call-to-action

 

Popular Articles

Posts by Topic

see all