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Archive for Early Stages of Smoking Cessation

QotW: Tiredness & Fatigue After Stopping Smoking

This week’s Question of the Week comes from Shell, who asked:

Just wondering is it normal to be so tired once I quit smoking?

Tiredness and fatigue is a common withdrawal symptom in the early stages of smoking cessation and can have several causes.

Firstly, overcoming regular cravings for cigarettes can be quite energy-depleting. The result of the constant struggle to avoid temptation can leave you feeling depleted physically, mentally emotionally.

The good news is that the longer you abstain from tobacco, the less intense and less frequent these cravings become and consequently, the less energy is needed to overcome them.

Secondly, the chemicals in cigarette smoke increase the smoker’s metabolism to an abnormally high level. When you stop smoking, your body has to adjust its metabolic rate back to normal. It usually takes one or two weeks to normalize, which can leave you feeling tired during the interim.

Thirdly, smokers tend to have be lighter sleepers than non-smokers. Stopping smoking can screw up the body’s natural sleeping pattern, resulting in insomnia and waking in the night. But as your body adjusts its sleeping patterns ex-smokers quickly begin to benefit from the deeper, more restorative sleep that non-smokers benefit from all the time.

Finally, I should take a moment to talk about medication.

If you are using Zyban to help you to stop smoking, this can increase the chances of temporary insomnia. Similarly, common side effects of Champix are difficulty sleeping and abnormal dreams. In addition many ex-smokers that have used the 24-hour nicotine patch have reported wakefulness and/or vivid dreams. Of course, you should report any side effects from any medications you are using to your doctor.

The important thing to remember is that fatigue and tiredness, along with all  withdrawal symptoms are usually short-lived. Most won’t last longer than one month and, chances are, that you will begin to feel an increase in your energy levels within just a couple of weeks!

In the meantime, you can take practical steps to reduce the tiredness you are experiencing by:

  • Ensuring you get regular exercise (even if it’s just walking to the shop)
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Not staying up too late
  • Taking regular short naps (if required)
  • Avoiding coffee and other caffeine products

As time goes by and your body adjusts to your new life as a non-smoker,  you WILL feel less tired and benefit from much higher levels of energy than you had as a smoker.

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When You Have a Craving To Smoke: Read This!

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Hello Friend,

If you’re an ex-smoker and you’re getting that irritating craving to smoke, please read on. By the time you get to the end of this page, providing you follow the instructions, your craving will have vanished.

My name’s Dan Dutton and I am an ex-smoker, too, so I know exactly how those nasty cravings for cigarettes feel and how powerful they can be in tempting you to light up a cigarette, cigar or pipe.

In the early days of stopping smoking, it can seem as if the cravings are almost constantly trying to persuade you to have a cigarette. And, although they get less intense and less frequent with time, an ex-smoker can experience an unexpected craving long after they’ve given up tobacco and it often catches them off guard.

But cravings are simply your mind and body thinking there’s something wrong, when in reality, everything is fine. During your previous life as a smoker, you inadvertently taught yourself that you should smoke at certain times (e.g. first thing in morning) or in certain situations (e.g. when you’re walking the dog). By repeating this behaviour over and over again, your brain began to believe that it was normal to smoke during these times and activities.

So, now that you’re an ex-smoker and no longer need to smoke, your brain naturally thinks there is something missing. But cravings aren’t painful or agonizing (unless you let them). They’re simply a strange feeling of emptiness or insecurity.

Take a moment to let this sink in. Take a deep breath in and then slowly exhale out. Can you feel that fresh restorative air entering you lungs? Feels so much better than inhaling smoke, doesn’t it? Take a few more deep  breaths and then remind yourself that cravings do not hurt – they’re just mildly irritating.

You may feel as though you are somehow depriving yourself of something by being a non-smoker. Nothing could be further from the truth. You probably already know all the reasons that smoking is bad for you but here’s a reminder anyway; it damages your health, it damages the health and comfort of those around you, it costs a small fortune, it smells bad, it tastes bad, it stains your fingers and teeth and makes you feel as though you have no self-control. All that you’re depriving yourself of is these bad things. Which is actually good, right?

In fact, being a non-smoker is immensely better than being a smoker. You just experienced one of the major benefits a moment ago when you took a deep breath and felt oxygen enter you lungs instead of the dangerous concoction of chemicals contained within cigarette smoke.

Non-smokers also benefit from higher energy levels and don’t get out of breath so easily when performing strenuous activities. I’m in my thirties and feel far fitter and healthier than I did as a smoker in my twenties!

Non-smokers also have better immune systems, so don’t get ill as often as their smoking counterparts.

But it’s not just the health benefits. Being a non-smoker also comes with financial and social benefits as well.

Financially, non-smokers are wealthier because they don’t waste money on cigarettes. As I write this, the average cigarette in the UK costs around 30 pence. For the average 20-a-day smoker, that’s over two grand they’re spending on cigarettes each and every year. Imagine if someone gave you two grand right now in exchange for not smoking for the next 12 months. I don’t know many folk that would refuse, but essentially that’s exactly what you’re getting for being a non-smoker! And that doesn’t include all the paraphernalia that comes with smoking including matches, lighter, ashtrays, rolling machines etc. Plus the massive savings you make on life insurance and health insurance policies. Even cars that have been used by non-smokers tend to have a higher market value than those that smell of fag-ash.

Socially, non-smokers don’t have to worry about smelling like an ashtray to others on social occasions. When in unfamiliar territory, the smoker is constantly thinking about where they are allowed to light up and can even appear anxious if a ‘smoking area’ is not apparent. Even if there is a ‘smoking area’, it is probably outside and the smoker will have to endure the weather to indulge in their habit. I’ve lost count of the number of times that the pursuit of a cigarette resulted in me shivering in the cold winter air!

So, who is really depriving themselves? The smoker or the non-smoker? I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions…

Some may respond by saying that the smoker gets some benefit by inhaling the toxic smoke of cigarettes. Please believe me when i say that apart from some some tentative evidence linking smoking with an alleviation in the symptoms of morning sickness, pre-eclampsia, Ulcerative colitis and Parkinson’s disease, there are absolutely no benefits to smoking whatsoever!

Some smokers believe that smoking a cigarette helps them to relax. If this were the case, a twenty-a-day smoker would be virtually comatose by the evening!

Some smokers believe that smoking relieves stress. This is partly true but the only stress that smoking relieves is the stress caused by the cravings and withdrawal symptoms from previous cigarettes. Similarly, smokers that say that smoking aids their concentration should understand that it is actually their desire to smoke that interrupts their concentration in the first place!

Some smokers believe that smoking relieves boredom. I can think of a lot more healthier ways to alleviate boredom than by breathing in toxic chemicals!

And for smokers that say that smoking gives their hands and fingers something to do, my reply is “why bother to light it?”.

Some smokers think they enjoy the taste. I enjoy the taste of Big Macs but I don’t go to McDonalds every day! Usually, these same smokers will then go on to say that they enjoy the feel of smoke going into their lungs. Really? Would they also stand next to a bonfire and ‘enjoy’ the smoke from it entering their lungs?

As I said before, there really is no valid reason to smoke but smokers often use excuses such as these to justify their reason for smoking to themselves. Every smoker in the world does this – I used to kid myself I enjoyed the taste. It is only now that I realise how wrong I was!

If any smokers are reading this, the realisation that their habit  has no rational reasoning to it may make them feel bad about themselves. They may feel as though they’re stupid or weak-willed because they’ve allowed themselves to become so dependent on tobacco.

They should be aware that smokers are not stupid or weak-willed. In fact many smokers are physically tough (you have to be tough to breathe in smoke every day). Becoming addicted to tobacco can happen to anyone. The only reason that there are non-smokers in the world are because they either never tried to smoke or were not physically strong enough to keep it up. Every smoker is simply a victim of their own circumstances (when they smoked those first few cigarettes). From that point on, it was extremely difficult for them to stop.

For any smoker that wishes to stop smoking, I would like to invite you to join The Stop Smoking College’s Smoking Cessation Program – it’s 100% FREE and has an 88% success rate.

For the ex-smokers that are reading this, you have already experienced the benefits of not smoking…and the longer you abstain, the easier it becomes and the more benefits you’ll get. Any time you get a craving, remind yourself of how awesome it is to be a non-smoker by taking a big gulp of fresh air into your lungs.

NOT SMOKING ROCKS!

So I congratulate you on your achievement so far and wish you the very best for the future. And if you need to talk to someone, feel free to drop me an email at dan@stopsmokingcollege.com.

One final point: Cravings typically only last for a few minutes at a time, so even if the actual content of this letter didn’t help you to overcome your craving, simply reading it to the end means that the craving will have passed :)

To your continued success as a non-smoker.

Kind Regards,

Dan

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Quit Smoking Timeline Day-By-Day

Hey guys,

We’ve produced an timeline that explains the advantages of not smoking for each day that you’ve quit smoking (I believe it’s called an infographic -but don’t quote me on that lol).

During the first month of being a non-smoker, sometimes the withdrawal symptoms and cravings can make you feel if it is all worth it! Well, deep down you know that being a non-smoker is what you really want, so we hope our timeline will help remind you of all the physical, psychological, financial and social benefits you’re getting.

Of course, each individual experiences these benefits at different times during the cessation process, so we’ve had to generalise a little, but on the whole, we hope you like it :)

Dan

Quit Smoking Timeline Day-By-Day

Quit Smoking Timeline Day-By-Day

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