Smokers may be getting less sleep and experiencing more daytime fatigue

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A recent study suggests that smokers may be getting less sleep and experiencing more daytime fatigue than non-smokers. The basic theory for the restless sleep and fatigue is that smokers experience nicotine withdraws during the sleeping hours, which disrupts good sleep. Specifically, participants in the study reported restless sleep four times more than nonsmokers. Additionally, smokers were found to spend less time in deep sleep and more time in light sleep than nonsmokers.

The study, published in the February issue of Chest, was unique in that it analyzed data from a sleep EEG with a technique called power spectral analysis rather than conventional home polysomnography, a technique typical of many previous studies. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study’s finds:

Nightly nicotine withdrawal may contribute to a restless sleep and fatigue the next day, a small study showed.
Action Points

* Explain to interested patients that, in addition to all the other reasons not to smoke, it appears that nicotine withdrawal may interfere with getting a good night’s sleep.

Four times more smokers reported lack of restful sleep than nonsmokers (P<0.02), Naresh M. Punjabi, M.D., Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins here, and colleagues, reported in the February issue of Chest.

Furthermore, smokers spent less time in deep sleep and more in light sleep than nonsmokers, with the greatest differences occurring in the early stages of sleep, according to an objective analysis of sleep EEGs, the researchers said.

Although the exact mechanism underlying the sleep disturbances in smokers is not known, withdrawal from nicotine is likely to be an important factor, Dr Punjabi said.

Previous studies comparing smokers and nonsmokers have primarily used subjective measures of sleep, the researchers said.

This study is unique, they said, because in addition to conventional home polysomnography using visual sleep-stage scoring, sleep architectures were studied with a technique known as power spectral analysis of sleep EEG activity.

The latter relies on a mathematical analysis (discrete fast Fourier transform) of the different frequencies within the sleep EEG.

Click here to read the rest of this excerpt from Medpage Today

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