Stories & experiences


Being tired after you quit

Posted in Quit experiences 10 Feb 2017

Hey Everyone! For those who don't know me, I'm Wendy. I'm five months, twenty-two days into my quit, cold turkey. I dropped by tonight to see how the newbies were doing. As I was reading some of these posts. I noticed a recurring theme of new quitters being tired. I wanted to address the exhaustion part of quitting smoking.

1. The day you started smoking was the day you quit sleeping well. WHAAAAT? I know. That sounds bizarre, huh? It is bizarre but its also true. The very day you started smoking, your brain ceased to fall into deep relaxing periods of rest. Yes, you still closed your eyes at night and stopped thinking about the day's woes, but subconsciously, you ceased to sleep well. Before you say that I'm crazy, tell me how often it is that you used to crave a cigarette. Everyone here is going to answer between 30-90 minutes. That craving that you experienced during waking hours when you were required to function at optimal levels did not stop when you chose to turn off the lights and retire for the evening. Those cravings, whether you realize it or not, still existed on the subconscious level, nagging you like some demon from the pits of hades, all night long. Did you start smoking ten years ago? Congratulations, you haven't slept well in ten years. "But, but, Wendy, I've fallen into a deep sleep in the last decade." No, you haven't. Your body has rested only out of sheer exhaustion. Your body slowed down solely for the sake of keeping itself alive. But you were not in a deep restful sleep. Get ready, because purposeful napping will soon be your friend. :)

2. You are so tired right now because your body is trying to recover from 4,000 different chemicals being inhaled each time you smoked. You may think, "Oh! I should be energetic because I'm no longer smoking." Well, yes and no. Yes, because your lungs are definitely getting more oxygen now. No, because the healing process is no different than when you heal from surgery. If you were go to go the hospital to have a tumor removed, you've done something good for your body but your body is still exhausted and needs recovery time. Brace yourself because I'm about to tell you that you've been smoking carpet glue and fermaldyhide. You've also been smoking rat poisons and pesticides. Embalming fluid - that's what fermaldyhide is! Your body needs a bit of time to recover from that.

3. There is no set time for when the sleepiness sets in and when it lifts. Medical disclaimer here: If you are so woozy that you're walking into walls you need to see a doctor pronto. Otherwise, there is no magical time frame for cessation related exhaustion. I've heard people say they are still tired six months later. Myself? Personally, I'm almost at six months and I still have some tired days. The real sleepiness for me was in Week #2. I was so tired that week that I was practically in a vegetative state. If my smoke alarm had gone off, there's a good chance that I would have slept right through it. I still owe an apology to my dogs for that week of their lives that I missed. Sometimes, I would raise my head and wonder when he fog would lift, and then I'd just go right back to sleep because I didn't have the brain power to figure out how to wake up.

The long and short of all that I said is that it is perfectly normal to be overly tired right now. Enjoy it. It's so much better than pacing back and forth, fits of rage, or crying. The crying is coming too and you're just gonna love that. The good news is that your body is gonna get that sleep that it's been wanting for a vey long time and you'll be all the better for it. Tonight is a rarity for me here in the States. When I was a smoker, I used to be up almost all night. Now, I'm in bed around 10 PM every night. I don't have the nicotine demanding that I stay awake or demanding that I not fall into a deep sleep. I'm down by 10 pm and up again by 6 am and it is lovely!

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  • Cranky76 February 10, 2017 | 21:34
    Hey Wendy, so glad your going well. I'd like to think that I'm fairly well educated on smoking and what it does to you but I had no idea on the sleeping. Thanks for sharing, it was an interesting read..
  • WendyOhNo February 10, 2017 | 22:59
    That's why most smokers wake up in the middle of the night to smoke. As long as you are feeding the cravings, they never end.
  • CF February 14, 2017 | 17:13
    Great Post Wendy! Happy to see You are doing well!
  • Judes February 15, 2017 | 12:43
    I had the best sleep in ages last night. Cooked a roast dinner, had a few wines, watched some tv, banished my two little dogs to the laundry instead of letting them sleep on my bed...snuggled down and slept like a baby. Even with a weird champix induced dream of being in a foreign seaside resort with somebody's newborn baby in my arms, wading through the ocean and waiting for a huge wave to lift us up and over the wall to be able to walk through the village.....what the????
  • WendyOhNo February 15, 2017 | 12:46
    Haha, Judes! That sounds wonderful. I remember those Champix induced dreams. They were something else!
  • Photon May 26, 2018 | 0:28
    Thank you so much for that post, Wendy!

    I have reached over 9 months cold turkey after smoking for a solid decade. Good LORD WHAT A CHANGE!!

    But I still feel a bit tired every much longer is this going to last? And are there any specific measures that can be done in alleviating the fatigue? Such as any specific foods to eat? Vitamins to be had?

    Appreciate you in advance
  • Wingspan, South Eastern Sydney May 17, 2019 | 9:36
    Really interesting about the sleep, thanks Wendy. I wonder if there’s a degree of depression, also tiring, in the quitting process. Staying in bed is tempting-can’t smoke in there.
    I’ve realized that cutting down first is the way for me to go. Got my lozenges & now an inhalator.
    Requested a Quit Kit but never received it, and I
    seem to have stopped receiving messages from this portal. Nevertheless, feeling much better physically and positive mentally. Hang in there, everyone!

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