Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder affecting millions of Americans. And, as the condition itself affects many aspects of a patient’s life, lifestyle choices can also affect sleep apnea. One of these choices that negatively impacts sleep apnea is smoking cigarettes. So, let’s have a closer look at the link between smoking and sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea and Smoking
The truth is, there are many ways in which sleep apnea and smoking are connected. Indeed, all three different types of sleep apnea are related to smoking in a distinctive way.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of this sleep disorder caused by relaxed throat muscles that cause the tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and eventually lead to blocked upper airways. The major risk with OSA is low oxygen levels in the blood which could be pretty serious. Unfortunately, smokers are at a higher risk of developing OSA compared to those who don’t smoke.
The second type of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea (CSA) caused by a brain malfunction. In other words, CSA patients experience breathing interruptions during sleep because the brain fails to tell the lungs to breathe. Similar to OSA, the condition leads to lower blood oxygen levels which can then result in headaches and fatigue both of which are common nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Last but not least, complex sleep apnea syndrome (CompSAS) is the least common type of sleep apnea. It is actually a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. The crucial thing here is that you must seek professional medical help for managing symptoms and getting good quality sleep if you’ve stopped smoking and have CompSAS.
Snoring and Smoking
Many wonder whether or not smoking is the cause of their loud snoring. According to research, there’s certainly a connection between these two. Namely, snoring is typically a result of reduced airflow to the lungs and as decreased airflow plays a huge role in developing sleep apnea, experts caution against smoking since it is considered a major sleep apnea risk factor.
But, can smoking cause snoring? In short, you can remarkably improve oxygen flow and reduce the risk of developing sleep apnea by quitting smoking and thus you can reduce the risk of snoring.
Sleep Apnea and Quitting Smoking
Another question that needs to be answered is whether or not smoking can cause sleep apnea. However, there’s also the link between quitting smoking and sleep apnea that has to be clarified.
Namely, there are numerous side effects of nicotine withdrawal which include nausea, tingling, headaches, coughing, and irritability. But, the major one is certainly insomnia. And, when suffering from insomnia, one may have symptoms similar to those of sleep apnea. Not only would you face trouble sleeping but you would also feel extremely fatigued throughout the day. Because of this, many believe that smoking cessation wasn’t a good idea.
Still, remember that these side effects are only temporary, and quitting smoking will improve your overall health and wellness in the long term. The bottom line, the correlation between smoking cigarettes and sleep apnea is obvious in many ways. Once you make the smart choice to quit smoking, you will certainly enjoy many health benefits, including quality sleep.