Can’t sleep? Blame your smoking habit

For a long time smoking has been associated with diseases and reducing the health of smokers in general, however new research, published in The FASEB Journal, suggests that smoking can negatively affect sleep.

The study on sleep

The study aimed to show that smoking leads to changes that ultimately affect functioning of the lung’s circadian clock. Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center exposed mice to long-term (6 months) and acute (three days and 10 days) cigarette smoke. They found that the clock gene expression was altered and lung inflammation was increased with the smoke exposure. The lung inflammation also led to emphysema.

The cigarette smoke seemed to have an effect specifically on a molecule called SIRTUIN1; reductions in levels of this molecule affected levels of BMAL1, a clock protein, in the lungs and brains of the mice.

This doesn’t just affect mice this way, but humans too.

Researchers exposed human lung tissue to cigarette smoke (the lungs were from people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as smokers); they also found reductions in SIRTUIN1.

This study has found a common pathway whereby cigarette smoke impacts both pulmonary and neurophysiological function,” said study researcher Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., of the Department of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in a statement. “Further, the results suggest the possible therapeutic value of targeting this pathway with compounds that could improve both lung and brain functions in smokers.