Why Am I Exhausted Since I Quit Smoking?

The cigarette is an effective and amazingly efficient method of delivering nicotine to the brain. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a smoker receives 1 to 2 mg. of nicotine for every cigarette smoked. The fast delivery to the brain makes nicotine a very addictive substance. Withdrawal symptoms include difficulty sleeping and tiredness. Feeling exhausted is a normal, transient symptom when you quit smoking.

How Does Nicotine Work?

Addiction happens in the brain, and nicotine effectively alters the pleasure circuitry in your brain. Like other addictive substances, nicotine increases the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is believed to cause pleasurable feelings. Nicotine levels in the brain peak only 10 seconds after inhalation, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This fast activation of pleasure in the brain cements the association of smoking and feeling good. Nicotine effects wear off as fast as it acts, leaving the smoker wanting more.

Symptoms of Nicotine Use

In addition to boosting mood, nicotine has a number of other effects. It is an appetite suppressant and elevates blood sugar. Your heart rate will increase by 10 to 20 beats per minute and blood pressure will increase by 5 to 10 mmHg. Nicotine increases alertness and memory, making tasks that depend on these traits easier for the smoker.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be severe, however, most symptoms peak in two to three days. Trouble sleeping and bad dreams are withdrawal symptoms that increase daytime tiredness. Along with cravings, you may feel irritable, anxious, impatient and depressed. Some people also get headaches from withdrawal.

Don't Give Up

Ways to relieve symptoms of nicotine withdrawal such as exhaustion are available. Nicotine replacement comes in the form of gum, inhalers, nasal spray or skin patches. These methods can help with initial symptoms and cravings; once you feel relief, you can gradually decrease the dose. Prescription medications also may make quitting easier. Ask your doctor about bupropion or varenicline. Keep in mind that the tiredness from quitting smoking is temporary and that around 38 million people have beat nicotine addiction, according to MedlinePlus, an online resource of the National Institutes of Health.

references & resources
Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.