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, can damage upper airway muscle function, fragment sleep and inflame or increase mucus congestion in the upper airway.4,5
Changes To Sleep Cycle
When sleeping, you usually transition between thesleep stages and between REM and non-REM sleep. The sleep stages include:
- Stage One: Sleep Onset
- Stage Two: Slow-Wave Sleep Begins
- Stage Three: Begin to Experience Deep Sleep
- Stage Four: Deepest Sleep
- Stage Five: REM Sleep
Sleeping consists of transitioning through the different cycles every 90 minutes. This sleep stage consists of the eyes moving rapidly in different directions. The sleeper may experiencesdreams.
But what causes untreated sleep apnea to worsen in relation to the stages of sleep? Untreated sleep apnea can interrupt your sleep cycle. The breaks in breathing cause your sleep periods to break up in sessions, forcing you to wake up and start the sleep cycles back from square one.;
Your oxygen levels also drop during REM sleep, and your breathing speeds up. During REM sleep, your dreams are more intense because your brain is active. This stage is important for a variety of reasons.
It stimulates the areas of your brain that increase the production of proteins. REM sleep also revitalizes the area of the brain that helps with learning. Stage three is where deep sleep occurs. It is where your body strengthens yourimmune system and carries out self-healing.
Anthropometric And Biochemical Measurements
Standardized anthropometric measurements were recorded as previously described . Fasting venous blood was sampled at 8 a.m. the morning after PSG. Plasma glucose and lipid levels were measured as described previously . Venous blood samples were centrifuged for serum and stored at -80°C before subsequent batch assays of MCP-1, AOPP and 8-isoprostane.
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Smoking Raises The Risk Of Snoring
Secondhand Smoke Also an Issue, European Study Shows
European researchers say past or present smoking is a “major contributor” to the common problem, which affects up to 33% of men and 19% of women.
Karl Franklin, MD, PhD, of the respiratory medicine department at University Hospital in Umeå, Sweden, worked with colleagues on the study. It’s one of only a handful addressing tobacco smoke and snoring.
They evaluated questionnaires from more than 15,000 men and women aged 25-54 in Iceland, Estonia, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The study appears in the October issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Habitual snoring, defined as loud and disturbing snoring at least three nights per week, affected 24% of smokers, 20% of ex-smokers, and almost 14% of people who had never smoked.
The more people smoked, the more frequently they snored.
Even nonsmokers were more likely to snore if they were exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes.
Almost 20% of these nonsmokers snored, compared with nearly 13% who had never been exposed to secondhand smoke at home.
And although more men tend to snore, female smokers were slightly more likely to snore than male smokers.
Alcohol, which was not addressed in this study, could also be a factor.
You Snore What If You Stopped Smoking
Now, you know more about the diseases linked to snoring and you have a clearer idea regarding the persons at risk. If you snore, you should find the causes and treat them one by one. For instance, if you are prone to snoring and are taking sleeping pills, talk to your doctor about adjusting your treatment. Also, be aware that combining them with tobacco can be risky. This could be another reason to break your addiction to tobacco.
This issue concerns your health but also the relationships within your family circle. Think about the consequences snoring can have for the person who sleeps with you. Over time, this situation could provoke tensions between you and your partner. If we go further, imagine you sleep in a collective accommodation such as a mountain refuge along a hiking track and prevent the other hikers to rest before the next days walk! Thus, it is also important for the others that you stop smoking and snoring. The means to reach this goal are known and Kwit is here to remind you about them.
Since quitting is a difficult process, especially if you are a heavy smoker, dont hesitate to get some help. For example, if you need support during the withdrawal, anti-smoking groups and associations can be attentive to you and support you. So its clear now, to stop snoring, you need to stop smoking.
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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.
The Connection Between Stress And Sleep Apnea
People with sleeping disorders usually develop a certain degree of stress that disrupts their cognitive awareness during their waking hours. This in turn causes abnormalities in their sleeping patterns. Therefore, the relationship or connection between stress and sleep apnea are indirect and differs from one person to another. The good news is, there are many ways to manage stress, together with your doctors advice, you can lessen the risk of stress-related health problems.
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Is Smoking Associated With Osa
Not all studies have found a positive association between current smoking and worsening OSA. The Sleep Heart Health Study recruited 6,132 participants from ongoing, multicenter, population-based cardiovascular and respiratory studies between 1995 and 1998. At every level of AHI from 1.5 to 30, there were higher proportions of never smokers compared with current smokers . Current smokers were more likely than never smokers to have an AHI <1.5. However, across the same categories of increasing AHI beginning at 5, former smokers were more prevalent than never smokers. Never smokers were more prevalent at AHI <5. It is not clear which factors in this study differed from previous ones, but in this study, previous exposure to smoking was associated with worsening OSA.
Sleep Apneics Who Smoke How Treating Both Conditions Is A Must Do For True Success
Sleep apnea can effect anyone at anytime. From children to star athletes, no one is immune to the condition which is why it is all too important to be tested for sleep disorders if you display any of the common symptoms, such as snoring and daytime sleepiness that never goes away. While anyone can suffer from sleep apnea, certain groups of people are more prone to suffering from the condition. Smokers are at a higher risk of suffering from obstructive sleep apnea when compared to non-smokers. In fact, studies have shown that smokers have a three times higher chance of suffering from OSA than non-smokers. Smoking is known to increase inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway which can further aggravate OSA.
In the end, both smoking and OSA are deadly conditions that, in combination, can severely shorten your life span. It has been proven that both sleep apnea and smoking can cause all sorts of cardiovascular and respiratory health problems. OSA can lead to stroke and heart disease while smoking increases ones chance of contracting certain types of cancer. Studies have even shown that sleep apneics who smoke generally have heightened triglyceride levels and lowered HDL levels.
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Avoid Alcohol And Sleeping Pills
If you have trouble sleeping, try a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea or juice instead of unwinding with a glass of wine. Alcohol and certain medications can make throat muscles relax more than normal. As a result, airways can get blocked. Alcohol and medications can also make it harder for your brain to “wake up” and register a lack of oxygen in the body. This can cause longer and more serious pauses in breathing. If you find it hard to fall asleep, try reading a book or taking a warm bath.
How Vaping Negatively Impacts Your Sleep
Nicotine is the key indicator as to why you may not be sleeping well at night. Found in both traditional and e-cigarettes, it works as a stimulant, often keeping you awake and alert. As a result, your body may begin to produce adrenaline, thus, increasing your blood pressure, heart rate, and how fast you breathe. All of this combined can affect your REM cycle, which is the deepest stage of sleep. If you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, it can hinder your circadian rhythm and make you more susceptible to developing obstructive sleep apnea.
Not to mention, the nicotine inhaled through these devices also produce increased inflammation and fluid retention around your upper airway, which can create a blockage and lead to multiple apneic episodes throughout the night.
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Drugs That Can Cause Obstructive Sleep Apnea
A psychologist colleague of mine once told me that at the hospital where he works, many of his patients are on antipsychotic and antidepressant medications. A significant number of these;patients will go on to gain significant weight, snore heavily, and end up dying of heart attacks or strokes. While this is purely anecdotal, based on what we know about the side effects of commonly prescribed prescription medications, its not too far fetched for the following reason: Any medication that causes weight gain can potentially aggravate or uncover obstructive sleep apnea.
Ive written extensively in the past how obstructive sleep apnea is mainly a structural problem with narrow jaws and upper airways, but if you add fat in the throat due to being overweight, it just makes things much worse. Here are 7 commonly prescribed prescription medications that can aggravate obstructive sleep apnea due to their ability to put on weight:
2. Depakote is a common mood stabilizer to treat bipolar disease and seizures. Its also used to prevent migraines. One study found that 44% of women and 24% of men gained about 11 pounds on average over one year.
4. Prednisone, one of many corticosteroids to control inflammation, is one of the most commonly prescribed medications. Chronic, long-term use is given for asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and various other autoimmune conditions. One study found that 70% of people on chronic steroid use reported significant weight gain.
The Relationship Between Smoking And Snoring
It seems logical that smoking may increase your risk of snoring. The irritating smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco may cause inflammation along with the tissues that line the airway. This may lead to swelling, causing an exudate of mucus often called post-nasal drip, and narrowing. As the airway narrows, airflow may move more turbulently.
This disruption of your upper airway, especially your nasal passage and throat, may have other consequences. It may cause increased airway congestion. The turbulent airflow may lead to vibration as air moves through, leading to the unpleasant sound of snoring. This risk seems to be increased among smokers, and even those who previously smoked.
Large scientific research studies;evaluating snoring support these proposed associations. In one study of 811 adults, the risk of snoring was 2.3 times greater among current smokers. This means the risk was more than doubled compared to those who did not smoke!
Although not studied, it is very likely that secondhand smoke exposure also increases the risk of developing snoring.;
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Lower Oxygenation Caused By Reduced Blood Flow
Your blood is the only source of nutrients to help your ears function. When you suffer from sleep apnea, not enough oxygen-carrying blood is is pumped to properly supply the ears structures. This can potentially result in Tinnitus. Please note that sleeping orientation does not affect or exacerbate this problem. If you have ringing only when you lie down, read this post about Tinnitus while lying down.
Try Some Different Foods And Drink
Have you heard that having a warm cup of milk before bed helps you sleep?
Warm milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, a precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps your body produce melatonin that signals your body to wind down and sleep at night.5
Other foods containing the amino acid L-tryptophan include chicken, turkey, fish, and shellfish, eggs, tofu and sunflower seeds if you want to give any of those a try instead.
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What Is Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a breathing-related sleep disorder in which a persons breathing repeatedly stops and starts in their sleep due to a blockage of the airway. Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by the anatomy of the soft palate, obesity, or inflammation of the airway. Some of the most common signs of this condition include loud snoring, grogginess, and gasping for air during the night. With over 22 million Americans suffering from sleep apnea each year, it is one of the most common sleeping disorders in adults.
The Link Between Sleep Apnea And Smoking
To fully understand the development of sleep apnea after quitting smoking, its helpful to explore the different ways in which these two are related. There are three distinct types of sleep apnea, and each one is connected to smoking cigarettes in a unique way.
The most common form of sleep apnea is a condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea . When you are living with OSA, your throat muscles start to relax and cause the tissue in the back of your throat to collapse. When this happens, your upper airway becomes blocked, leading to Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
One of the most serious risks that those with OSA face is a temporary pause in oxygen flow. Irregular breathing patterns during sleep causes the oxygen in your blood to drop to low levels, which can be dangerous. There is a strong link between both insomnia and sleep apnea for those who smoke, putting you at a higher risk of OSA if you currently smoking.
A slightly less common form of sleep apnea is Central Sleep Apnea , which has a more critical role in brain function. If you have CSA, you are often affected by frequent pauses in your breathing during sleep due to your brain not telling your lungs to breathe. As a result, it isnt uncommon for Central Sleep Apnea to lower your blood oxygen levels. This can lead to headaches and fatigue, which are prominent symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
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Three Types Of Sleep Apnea
- OSA also is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common among the three types of sleep disorders. When we sleep, our muscles are usually relaxed. Our throat muscles, however, are collapsible and may cause the obstruction. Complications include sleep deprivation, which highly contributes to stress, and decreased in blood oxygen, which can be fatal. Stress is also a factor that causes being obese, and unfortunately, the more you gain weight, the higher the risk of obstructive sleep apnea complications.;
Nicotine Smoking And Sleep Apnea
The association between smoking and obstructive sleep apnea has been clearly demonstrated in many research studies. Smokers have a three times more increased risk of developing OSA than non-smokers.;
The prevalence of smoking in patients with OSA is about 35%, whereas the prevalence of smoking in patients without OSA is only 18%.
;There are several common risk factors and consequences of OSA and smoking:; stroke, heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, decreased cognitive functioning, oxidative stress, activation of the inflammatory system, just to name some of them. Smoking itself is a risk factor for OSA.
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How Smoking Can Increase The Risk For Sleep Apnea
Commonly suggested reasons that explain how smoking may cause/worsen OSA include:
- Relaxation of the upper airway muscles and neural reflexes caused by nicotine, which lead to a narrowing or blockage of the airway during sleep
- Increased arousal threshold caused by the stimulating effects of nicotine
- Increased upper airway inflammation due to smoke inhalation
Ways To Help You Quit Smoking To Sleep Better
Toying with the idea of kicking your smoking habit? Youre taking a step in the right direction. If you prefer to be in control of your nicotine intake and need to keep your mouth busy during the day, Nicorette gum or lozenges can help relieve cravings.
However, if you need a solution that you dont have to think about, the NicoDerm patch , pumps out nicotine steadily throughout the day and lowers the dosage gradually over days, to help reduce your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Just apply it like a bandage, and youre ready to go.
If you want to sleep better this year, you may want to consider cutting back or quitting your smoking habit for good.
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Tips For Quitting Nicotine:
1. Prevalence and Distribution of E-Cigarette Use Among U.S. Adults: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2016, Ann Intern Med. 2018; 169:429-438.
2. Differential Effects of Addictive Drugs on Sleep and Sleep Stages, J Addict Res . 2019; 3.
3. Anxiety & Smoking, NIH Website
4. Smoking, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and their combined effects on metabolic parameters: Evidence from a large cross-sectional study, Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 8851.
5. Association of smoking and electronic cigarette use with wheezing and related respiratory symptoms in adults: cross-sectional results from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study, wave 2, Tob Control. 2019 Feb 13.
6. Which Came First: the Inflammation or the Sleep Apnea?, 2017, Sleep Review Magazine
7. Upper airway and systemic inflammation in obstructive sleep apnoea, European Respiratory Journal 2016 48: 1108-111.
8. Harmful effects of nicotine, Indian J Med Paediatr Oncol. 2015; 36: 2431.
9. Three more epidemiological studies find that e-cigarette use increases lung disease, 2019, UCSF Center for Tobacco and Control Research and Education website
10. Sleep quality in cigarette smokers: Associations with smoking-related outcomes and exercise, Addict Behav. 2019; 90:71-76.
11. How to Quit Smoking Plan 8 Steps to Quitting For Good, Addictions and Recovery website