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This Is What Happens When You Quit Smoking Now

This Is What Happens When You Quit Smoking Now

It’s estimated that in the U.S. up to 25% of the population 18 years of age and older actively smoke cigarettes. Scientists have identified approximately 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, with more than 50 of them known to cause various cancers. As a matter of fact, the World Health Organization, or WHO, has stated that globally one person dies every six seconds from the use of tobacco. It is estimated that one out of every two smokers will die from tobacco-related diseases, such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart attack, stroke and other illnesses.

While the effects from smoking tobacco are cumulative, it is possible to reverse the effects of smoking. Quitting smoking now greatly reduces the chances that you will experience a smoking-related disease, and could increase your lifespan significantly. Your body will begin to heal almost immediately after your last cigarette, and will continue to repair the damage in the days, weeks, months, and years after you have quit.

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What happens after you stop smoking?

  • In the 20 minutes immediately following your last cigarette, your blood pressure and pulse rate begin to return to normal and the circulation to your extremities increases, delivering much needed, oxygen-rich blood.
  • Eight hours after your last cigarette, the carbon monoxide in your system has been 100% eliminated, replaced by the oxygen your cells need to function normally.
  • 24 hours after your last cigarette, your risk of having a heart attack begins to decrease thanks to the normalization of your heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygenation.
  • 48 hours after your last cigarette, the nerve endings that have been blunted begin to reawaken and your sense of smell and taste begin to re-emerge.
  • Between two weeks and three months after your last cigarette, your circulation continues to improve and you can now breathe easier. Your lungs now produce less phlegm and your lung function has begun to improve. Your ability to participate in physical activity is greater, as shortness of breath becomes less of an issue.
  • In one to nine months after your last cigarette, you will notice a significant decrease in your smoker’s cough. Sinus congestion lessens and fatigue and shortness of breath become virtually non-existent. The tiny, hair-like structures that line the interior of your lung cavities become active once more, and your lungs are now functioning much like they did before you began smoking.
  • One year after your last cigarette, your risk of having a heart attack is less than half of that of a regular smoker.
  • Between five and 15 years after your last cigarette, you are at no more risk of having a stroke than other non-smokers.
  • 10 years after your last cigarette, your risk of developing lung cancer drops significantly. Additionally, your risk of developing other cancers, such as that of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas, significantly decreases. Although you have not smoked a cigarette in 10 years, you still have a higher risk of developing lung cancer than someone who has never smoked, but your risks are significantly decreased than if you had continued smoking.

Why is it so difficult to quit smoking?

So, with all of the negative health impacts that are known to be associated with cigarette smoking, why would we continue to smoke?

In one word: nicotine.

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Nicotine is the active ingredient in tobacco and what addicts us to smoking in the first place. It is an organic compound known as an alkaloid and can be found in the leaves of several species of plants, although the main route of consumption is through tobacco. It can also be found in the nightshade, or Solanaceae, family of plants, including tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines (eggplant) and peppers. While nicotine by itself is not carcinogenic, it does contribute to apoptosis by inhibiting UV-induced activation of cell death, a process known to interfere with your body’s ability to destroy potentially cancerous cells.

When smokers try to cut back or quit smoking, they experience withdrawal, a rather unpleasant process whereby the brain triggers a cascade of symptoms designed to drive us to consume nicotine. For most smokers, quitting cold turkey is not an option. The withdrawal process is much too unpleasant and difficult to overcome. However using a nicotine replacement therapy while withdrawing from nicotine has shown to be a successful alternative and has helped many people quit for good.

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Have you had success quitting smoking? Care to share how in the comments?

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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