Stop smoking, sleep better, study says
If quitting smoking is on the top of your 2014 resolution list, new research may give you even more motivation to kick the habit.
Scientists say that smoking can “ruin productive sleep,” by interrupting your sleep patterns. The sleep loss can lead to mood disorders, depression and anxiety, study leaders said. The research was done at the Department of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York.
“This study has found a common pathway whereby cigarette smoke impacts both pulmonary and neurophysiological function,” said study author, Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., in a news release. “We envisage that our findings will be the basis for future developments in the treatment of those patients who are suffering with tobacco smoke-mediated injuries and diseases.”
The researchers found that smoke from tobacco negatively affects the body’s circadian clock function in the lungs and brain. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the circadian clock regulates the timing of periods of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day. The circadian rhythm dips and rises at different times of the day.
Scientists used two groups of mice for the study. One of the groups was exposed to tobacco smoke for both long and short terms. The other group was exposed to smoke-free air only. The groups’ daily activities were compared and the group that inhaled smoke was found to be “considerably less active,” researchers said.
Study leaders hope the results motivate people to kick the habit.
Each year, smoking causes the early deaths of about 443,000 people in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). And half of all smokers who keep smoking will end up dying from a smoking-related illness such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Dr. Tony Hampton, a family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group in Chicago, says it’s never too late to ditch the smoking habit.
“No matter how long you have been smoking, instant and long-term benefits begin the moment you stop,” he says. “Cessation can have an immediate positive impact on your blood pressure, heart rate, circulation and sense of smell. In the long run, quitting will reduce your risk of getting a host of life-threatening diseases.”
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