When you stop to think about the life of a smoker, it's built on a different pace than the lives of many nonsmokers. Most of us feel rushed as we try to keep obligations to work, relatives, and friends. However, some of us are more tied to a lifestyle with regular cigarette breaks. We need that fix that we can only get when we step outside and light up, which is usually away from social activities. We must take the time, which feels a little socially awkward in this day and age, to excuse ourselves and satisfy that strong craving. The urge to smoke never comes at a good time, and it can feel more urgent when we are feeling highly stressed. While we may take the time to feed that urge, we are interrupting something else that's important. While we get a few minutes of satisfaction from each cigarette, it isn't long before the craving beings again. It distracts us because it's always there at the edge of our consciousness, sometimes feeling stronger than other needs (i.e. hunger, thirst, and exhaustion). If you are tired of cigarette cravings controlling your life, then your choice is to set up new habits. You will want to restructure your time to keep practicing new habits until they take hold. One area that we've identified as particularly important to all aspects of life is our quality of sleep.
We're used to reading that regular sleep patterns have lifestyle effects, such as living longer, being more productive at work, and experiencing fewer ailments. However, we may not understand why. There are two general patterns that affect us as we get older.
We may think that the problems of getting healthy amounts of sleep are only associated with aging, but children have usually reached their regular sleep patterns by the age of five. They will tend to need about nine hours of sleep from ages five to 12, and they will stick with a regular sleep pattern until reaching old age. Each of us requires a different amount of sleep and has a distinct ability to reach the fourth stage of sleep. In this final stage of sleep, we can have dreams. After a full sleep cycle, some of us will wake up, others will start a new sleep cycle, and the lucky ones will remain in deep sleep until morning.
How Do You Feel?
When we stop to think about smoking, it's a habit with proven negative effects on the body. As smokers, we can't help but learn about these everywhere that we go. While we might like to quit, there are so many habits we practice daily with which smoking intertwines. We might want to build new habits, but then we find them hard to sustain. In this piece, we encourage readers to focus less on the negative effects of smoking and to focus more on positive nighttime habits. This calls for a bit of introspection.
Do You Smoke Cigarettes Before Bedtime?
One habit that many smokers might have adopted over time is lighting up a cigarette at the end of the evening. Some smoker light up multiple cigarettes while sitting outside and relaxing under the dark sky, which can be mesmerizing. Immediately, we see how a smoker could look forward to this ritual. However, smoking tends to raise our blood pressure and make it harder for our bodies to calm down and fall asleep. The ritual of smoking before bedtime is something you must tell your body that you need. Try it!
Build a New Routine
Before you actually quit smoking, you could have an "evening" smoke and then go about a different pattern before sleep. It could be meditating, taking a walk, reading a book, or listening to music on your headphones while you lie down in the bed. It could be calling a friend who's also trying to quit smoking and reviewing the day. Whatever you can do to help your body relax and get ready for sleep will distract you from the smoking ritual. Set yourself up for a positive experience instead of thinking negative thoughts. When you have a bedtime routine, you will focus on something that makes your body feel great!
We would all feel more refreshed if we could get more hours of deep sleep each night. The exception could be that we experience dreams in deep sleep that particularly disturb us. Some people even go to the lengths of creating their own sleep chamber, which is a place with nothing on the walls and no electronic devices (i.e. TV sets, radios, video games, blinking lights). The goal of a sleep chamber is to remove all distractions from the sleeping environment. Whether you use a sleep chamber or not, any interruptions to your sleep patterns will affect you the next day. This is common to people who take longer to fall asleep and then wake up in the middle of the night. They need much time to return to sleep again, and they don't feel as refreshed the next day. Try changing your bedtime routine so that you smoke "cigarettes" earlier in the evening and let your blood pressure normalize before you relax in the bed.
We want you to feel healthy and sleep better. For information on quitting smoking, please consult our free ebook called "13 Seldom Triggers."