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How does vaping nicotine impact sleep?

Nicotine addiction can negatively impact mental health and poses a threat to a generation of young people already experiencing a mental health crisis. On top of that, research also suggests another way nicotine use can affect mental and physical health: by interfering with sleep.

The research shows that vaping nicotine is associated with sleep problems. Sleep problems can include insufficient sleep, interrupted sleep, restlessness during sleep, nightmares, and daytime sleepiness. Sleep is essential for young people’s brain development and mental health, with research finding an association between poor sleep quality and negative mental health.

truth’s new effort “Toxic Therapy from Your Vape” is exposing misconceptions about nicotine and stress and is raising awareness of the association between nicotine and sleep. truth is also sharing resources for quitting vaping and mental health on their Solution Space, an interactive website that offers tips and tricks for quitting and coping with stress. Some ideas include: breathing exercises from Breathwrk, taking time away from your phone, swapping your vape for a lollipop or sour candy when you have a craving, and journaling with Cope Notes, a daily texting program that offers tips for dealing with anxiety.

Vaping nicotine is associated with sleep problems

Can vaping affect sleep?

A study published in Journal of Adolescence that focused on young people aged 12-17 found that vaping nicotine (as well as dual smoking and vaping) is significantly associated with greater odds of reporting sleep problems such as sleeping restlessly, bad dreams, and daytime fatigue. Another study of high school students found that e-cigarette users were at increased odds of reporting insufficient sleep compared with cigarette smokers or people who had never used tobacco products.

Research points to a similar association in adults: in a study of people aged 18-65, those currently vaping nicotine were more likely to report less sleep compared with those who had never used e-cigarettes. Nicotine is known to increase heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels, all of which has the potential to delay or interfere with sleep.

Many young people turn to nicotine for stress relief, but don’t realize it may not help

According to a body of peer-reviewed research gathered in a Truth Initiative report, nicotine addiction may pose a threat to a generation of young people already experiencing a mental health crisis.

A Truth Initiative survey has shown that a majority of young people who have used e-cigarettes started vaping nicotine to lessen feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression, and many continue vaping to cope with these feelings, possibly due to tobacco industry efforts to market their products with claims that smoking or vaping nicotine is relaxing and calming.

The association between nicotine and sleep may indicate a similar trend – young people may be vaping nicotine to cope with symptoms of disrupted sleep, not realizing that nicotine may be part of the problem.

Quitting vaping can improve mental health

Research shows that in the long term, quitting nicotine can improve mental health, with 90% of young people who quit vaping reporting feeling less stressed, anxious, or depressed, according to a Truth Initiative survey. If you or someone you know is quitting smoking or vaping, there are resources proven to help.

This is Quitting is a free and anonymous text messaging program from Truth Initiative designed to help young people quit vaping. The first-of-its-kind, evidence proven quit program has helped over 640,000 young people to date on their journey to quit vaping.

To enroll in This is Quitting, teens and young adults can text DITCHVAPE to 88709.

EX is a free digital quit tobacco program developed by Truth Initiative in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center. EX has the longest running online community where current quitters and former tobacco users who truly understand the quitting experience gather to support each other. EX has helped over 910,000 tobacco users on their journey to quit smoking, vaping, dipping, chewing, or using any type of tobacco. Our research shows that EX works: people who follow the EX quit plan are four times more likely to quit.