Lucid dreaming is a fascinating topic of interest for many and is surprisingly something that can be mastered with the proper techniques and mindset.
Much of it concerns what you do before and during sleep to get into the right state for lucid dreaming, but your daily activities can also affect how you dream.
Research published in the International Journal of Dream Research also found that the food and substances you consume affect lucid dreams; this includes smoking cigarettes containing nicotine.
If you’re a smoker, you likely experience sleep and dreams differently than those who don’t smoke. Here’s how nicotine affects sleep and lucid dreaming and what you can do to improve your sleep and lucid dream quality:
How smoking and nicotine affect lucid dreaming
Nicotine in cigarettes affects your sleep and dreams in interesting ways. Nicotine imitates acetylcholine, the brain chemical that helps drive rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, but it also induces arousal and wakefulness.
This means that nicotine “condenses” REM sleep, increasing brain activity during this period which can make for more intense dreams. Lucid dreams can feel more vivid, and you’re likely to remember them better once you wake up.
Nicotine may be associated with intense dreams, but its impacts on sleep aren’t always positive.
Our insights from the unedited Sleepopolis interview note that seven to nine hours of sleep is crucial to lucid dreaming, especially for REM sleep, which mainly occurs in the final hours of the night. However, smoking has been found to affect this sleep in various ways.
A study from the Sleep Medicine journal revealed that smokers have objective lower sleep quality than never-smokers. Smoking decreases markers of sleep depth and increases markers of arousal, causing more sleep disruption that is both unhealthy to the body and unsustainable for lucid dreaming. Smoking is also linked to nightmare frequency; if you’re trying to lucid dream, you might dream of something unpleasant, which can give you a bad experience.
Giving up smoking for better lucid dreams
Quitting smoking is your best bet for better sleep and better lucid dreams. Giving cigarettes up isn’t always easy, though; withdrawal symptoms during your quit can also make it harder for you to sleep, which affects lucid dreaming.
If you want to quit smoking for better health and sleep, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products can help users gradually stop, as these tools support users in managing cravings and withdrawal.
NRT products provide nicotine to the body without the harmful effects of tobacco; nicotine doses are also typically lower than nicotine found in cigarettes, making it easier to lower your dependency on the substance. NRT products include nicotine pouches, patches, gum, inhalers, and more.
For those looking for an authentic and satisfying burst of wintery freshness, the ZYN wintergreen pouches are very popular NRT products among users looking for a crisp nicotine experience. You can get a can containing 15 pouches that contain 6mg of nicotine, half the average nicotine in cigarettes. Its icy fresh flavor also makes for a more pleasant experience compared to smoking. When cravings hit, tuck a pouch under your lip to absorb the nicotine.
Nicotine gum also provides a similar effect to pouches, providing a dose of nicotine orally without tobacco. Nicorette’s nicotine gum helps people diminish cravings and reduce nicotine intake while providing a good experience with various flavors and nicotine strengths ranging from 2mg to 6mg. It’s similar to regular chewing gum but is chewed periodically to release the nicotine.
While they’re much better for you than smoking cigarettes, NRT products still contain nicotine, affecting your sleep and lucid dreams. Although they may lead to more vivid dreams that can feel exciting, they should be used mainly to help you quit smoking instead of intensifying lucid dreams.
Smoking and nicotine can affect your sleep and dreams, usually unfavourably.
The best way to improve your state while sleeping is to kick your smoking habit for good.
Once you’ve been able to lower or eliminate your consumption of nicotine from cigarettes, you can focus on recovering your sleep quality and taking note of your dreams, helping you achieve the best state for lucid dreaming.