Can I Smoke During My Sleep Study?

In 2013, 17.8% of American adults reported smoking cigarettes, down from 20.9% in 2005 and 42.4% in 1956 (when the U.S. government first started keeping such records).

That’s great news! But it’s really important for people who already have sleep issues to stop or reduce their smoking as smoking affects the quality of your sleep in many different ways:

  • Smoking increases your risk of sleep apnea (learn more about sleep apnea here)
  • Smokers wake up more frequently during the night.
  • Smokers have trouble falling asleep and feel restless in the morning.
  • Smokers are more likely to suffer insomnia (read more about insomnia here).

If you’re a smoker and have scheduled or are considering scheduling a sleep study, you’re probably worried about how you’ll make it through the night. Our technical director, Jonathan Sherrill addresses your concerns in this post.

Can I take a smoke break during my overnight sleep study (PSG)?

No. Even if you’re a really heavy smoker, we can’t allow you to leave the facility to smoke in the middle of your sleep study.

Polysomnography measures multiple signals such as breathing, heart rate, eye movements, and more, via electrodes that are placed on your head, face, around your chest and on your legs (learn more about different types of sleep studies and the disorders they diagnose here). It wouldn’t be feasible for the technician to remove the sensors every time a patient needed a cigarette break. Additionally, since the studies take place at night, the access to the sleep centers is often restricted and secured. Leaving the sleep center and then returning to complete the study at night is not possible. 

What if I’m having a daytime MSLT after my overnight study- can I smoke then?

You still can’t smoke during your overnight sleep study, but we would allow you to leave the facility to smoke during breaks between naps (learn more about how MSLT daytime studies are used to diagnose or rule out narcolepsy here). 

American Academy of Sleep Medicine guidelines require that you stop smoking at least 30 minutes before the start of your next scheduled nap. You would need to coordinate this with your daytime technician. 

However, nicotine can contribute to insomnia and since the MSLT specifically measures the latency to sleep onset (how long does it take you to fall asleep?) it may alter the results.  

Can I smoke an electronic cigarette during my sleep study?

No. Electronic cigarettes or vaporizers cannot be used in our facilities at any time. For daytime studies, you would follow the same protocol listed above for regular cigarettes.

There are no restrictions for nicotine patches and gum. Please list all medications on your paperwork when you arrive for your sleep study.

What about marijuana and alcohol?

Neither marijuana nor alcohol are allowed to be consumed in our facility during any of our testing. If a patient consumed alcohol or marijuana ahead of the appointment we wouldn’t refuse the study unless the patient’s behavior was inappropriate.

Again, please list all medications on your paperwork when you arrive for your sleep study.

Do you suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, need to rule out or diagnose a sleep disorder?

Request sleep study


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  1. Terry Standridge Reply

    This really opened my mind I’ve suffered from depression, anxiety,mood swings, have trouble sleeping,getting to sleep and staying asleep, this has been going on for many years. It started mid 20’s and I’m 54 that’s it all or most of my mental health problems are mentioned in these study that’s it I’m done as of now I’m so thankful to Jonathan and whoever else is responsible for getting this information . Thank God for guiding me to this information truly makes me look at my behaviors. So humbled Terry Standridge. P. S. I also have heart disease imagine that lol

  2. High Rated Gabru Reply

    Cool blog. Thanks a ton!!

  3. Ronald Phillips Reply

    Smokers have trouble falling asleep and feel restless in the morning.

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