Many people have made the switch to vaping to avoid the health risks of traditional cigarettes. Vaping is much safer than smoking cigarettes, but it does have its downsides. One issue with e-cigarettes is their effect on your sleeping patterns. Vaping impacts sleep in several ways, but there are also habits you can develop to improve your sleep quality.
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Stimulants and Sleep
Most e-liquids contain nicotine, which is a powerful stimulant. It increases your blood pressure, raises your heart rate, and makes you feel awake and alert. Nicotine can stay in your system and continue affecting your body for hours, even if it feels like it has worn off. If you vape shortly before going to bed, you’ll probably have trouble falling asleep. Even if you’re able to drift off easily, you might not be able to achieve deep sleep because your body is so energized.
The nicotine in e-cigarettes is often even more powerful than regular cigarettes. If you recently have switched from traditional cigarettes to vaping, you might be used to smoking before bed and having no issue falling asleep. It probably won’t be so easy with e-cigarettes.
Also, vaping impacts sleep because nicotine is an addictive substance. If your body is used to getting nicotine every few hours, you may experience withdrawal when you go to sleep. Eight hours might not seem like a long period of time, but it might be too long for your body to go without nicotine. You may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night feeling restless or uncomfortable. This is a tough situation to be in because vaping in the middle of the night will keep you awake, but the uncomfortable feelings of withdrawal may also make it difficult to fall back asleep.
E-liquids with nicotine make some people have extremely vivid dreams. Experts aren’t exactly sure what causes these “nicotine dreams,” but one theory is that the stimulant makes your brain mix up its sleep and wake signals. Nicotine suppresses PGO waves, which are an important part of REM sleep. This could make you feel awake and alert while you’re dreaming, causing your dreams to seem much more lifelike.
Not everyone who vapes experiences nicotine dreams, but many who do say that the dreams are frightening and uncomfortable. While realistic dreams might seem fun, they could quickly turn into terrifying nightmares. Nicotine dreams seem to be the most common in people who vape or smoke right before going to sleep because the nicotine is still highly active in the body.
Vaping and Snoring
E-cigarettes are gentler on your nose and throat than traditional cigarettes, but they can still cause irritation. Regular cigarettes contain anesthetics that reduce irritation, but e-liquids don’t. Even though you’re not inhaling smoke when you vape, the chemicals can still cause damage. Most e-liquids contain propylene glycol, a chemical that dehydrates the tissues and causes irritation and inflammation. The more you vape, the drier and more swollen your throat will become.
An inflamed and swollen throat can cause snoring, which has a terrible effect on your sleep quality. Snoring happens when the tissues in the mouth and throat vibrate against each other while you inhale. When the tissues have swollen up, there’s a much greater chance that they’ll make contact with each other and vibrate while you breathe.
Vaping can also temporarily cause airway resistance, which makes it harder for air to flow in and out of your lungs. In some cases, airway resistance causes the throat to swell up and become obstructed, which results in snoring. In other cases, the airway resistance isn’t that severe, but it can combine with existing snoring risk factors and still cause breathing issues. For example, if your tongue or uvula is larger than average and you have airway resistance, the combination of the two problems may result in snoring.
It’s difficult to get enough air when you snore. The tissues obstruct your airway, so your body has to fight to inhale enough oxygen. You might wake up frequently, or you might not get any deep sleep. If your airway becomes completely blocked while you sleep, you could develop obstructive sleep apnea. This condition causes you to wake up dozens or even hundreds of times every night just to breathe. A lack of oxygen can lead to serious health issues, like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
How to Improve Your Sleep
The best way to improve your sleep quality is to stop using e-liquids with nicotine or to stop vaping entirely. Without the nicotine, it will be much easier for your body to rest and relax. Without the harsh effects of vaping on your throat, you’ll breathe better while you sleep.
However, not everyone is ready to give up vaping entirely. Some people take up vaping as a way to gradually break a nicotine addiction, and others simply like the hobby. Fortunately, you can get better sleep while still vaping. It might not be as effective as quitting completely, but you can make some changes to your vaping habits to get the proper rest you need.
Try to stop vaping several hours before you go to sleep. This will give your body time to relax and wind down from the nicotine. You’ll fall asleep faster and spend more time in deep sleep, which will let your body really rest and recharge. If you like to vape in the evenings, try switching to an e-liquid with less nicotine or with no nicotine at all. The more you reduce your nicotine consumption in the evening, the better your sleep will be.
Vaping can dry out your nose and throat and cause irritation, so it’s important to take good care of your physical health. To minimize the effects of vaping on your throat, drink lots of water throughout the day. Cough drops and tea with honey can help soothe irritation, too. Breathing in dry air all night will make irritation and swelling worse, so you can prevent additional dehydration by using a humidifier. You should also avoid pointing a fan directly at your face because it can dry out your mouth and throat.
Following a good sleep hygiene routine is beneficial for everyone, but it’s especially important if you’re at risk of getting poor sleep because you vape. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, even on the weekends, will help your body get into a routine. Even if the nicotine from an e-cigarette is still in your system, you may start to feel tired out of habit at your regular bedtime. You should avoid screens right before bed to make it easier to fall asleep, and you should sleep in a dark, quiet room. Try to create a routine and environment that make it as easy as possible to drift off.
Vaping is a very popular hobby, but it does have its health risks. If you’re not careful, your sleep quality may suffer, and poor sleep can have a major impact on the rest of your life. To take care of yourself, you should be aware of the effect vaping can have on your sleep, and you should do everything you can to improve your sleep hygiene.