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Smoking may make your sleep suffer

If you smoke, you get less sleep and a “lower quality of rest” than non-smokers do, according to today’s Daily Mail.

The links between smoking and serious, potentially fatal conditions (such as lung cancer and heart disease) are well known. But this headline stems from a recent study suggesting that those of us who enjoy a puff may have sleepless nights too.

The news is based on the results of a German case-control study that recruited smokers and non-smokers from the general population. The researchers asked them to complete a questionnaire on several sleep-related factors, such as how long it took them to fall asleep after going to bed.

The researchers found that current smokers were more likely to report poor sleep quality, even after certain factors that could explain the link were accounted for, such as stress and alcohol consumption.

The researchers also found that, among smokers, more nicotine dependence and smoking intensity were associated with less sleep each night.

They speculated that there could be a direct biological cause and effect relationship between cigarette smoking and poor sleep, possibly due to the stimulant effects of cigarette ingredients, such as nicotine.

But the current study can't prove this theory, as there are other possible explanations for the findings, including other lifestyle choices not accounted for (such as a poor diet, which has previously been linked to poor sleep). Furthermore, it is not clear whether poor sleep was likely to increase the amount the participants smoked, or whether smoking decreased their sleep quality, or both.

What the study does suggest is that improved sleep may be just one of a range of important health benefits that come if you stop smoking.

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