Substance Use

How Does Cocaine Affect Your Sleep?

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Cocaine Sleep Effects

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that has many adverse effects, including insomnia. Cocaine use can cause disruptions in sleep patterns, circadian rhythms, and chemical production in the brain, all of which can lead to difficulty falling or staying asleep. With the many health risks associated with sleep deprivation, it’s essential to understand how cocaine affects your sleep and what you can do to get help. Here’s what you need to know.

If you or someone you know suffers from cocaine addiction, it’s crucial to seek professional help. Addiction can have life-threatening consequences. Zinnia Health specializes in treating cocaine addiction and can help you get on the path to recovery. Contact us at (855) 430-9439 to learn more.

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What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a drug that’s been around for thousands of years. It’s made from the leaves of the coca plant, which is native to South America. Cocaine use in ceremonies and as medicine was common among early civilizations.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, cocaine was introduced to Europe and North America. It was used as a stimulant and anesthetic. However, its harmful side effects soon became apparent. Due to its highly addictive nature and the impairment it caused, 48 states banned cocaine use at the beginning of World War I.

Today, cocaine use is prevalent, and although it’s illegal in most countries, cocaine addiction is widespread.

What Are Cocaine’s Effects on the Body?

Cocaine blocks the reabsorption of dopamine, which causes an increase in dopamine levels. Cocaine users experience this increased dopamine in the brain as pleasurable feelings and emotions. However, excessive release of dopamine is part of the addiction process.

Cocaine also causes the release of norepinephrine and serotonin. Norepinephrine is a hormone and neurotransmitter that triggers the fight-or-flight response, which leads to increased heart rate and blood pressure. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences mood, appetite, and sleep. High levels of serotonin are associated with feelings of well-being and happiness.

How Does Cocaine Affect Sleep?

Cocaine use can disrupt sleep in several ways:

  • Insomnia: Cocaine’s stimulant properties can cause wakefulness, poor sleep, and sleep abnormalities.
  • Damage nasal passages: Cocaine users often snort cocaine through the nose, which can damage nasal passages. This can lead to rhinitis, characterized by a blocked or runny nose and itching. Rhinitis can make it difficult to breathe through the nose, which can cause sleep disruptions.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure: As mentioned above, one of the effects of cocaine use is the release of norepinephrine, which triggers the fight-or-flight response. This can lead to an increased heart rate and blood pressure, making it difficult to fall asleep and or enter deep sleep.
  • Anxiety and paranoia: Cocaine can cause anxiety and paranoia, making it difficult to relax, which may lead to sleep disorders and sleep deprivation.
  • Decreasing the time spent in deep sleep: Deep sleep is vital for physical and mental health. Cocaine use disorder can reduce your time in deep sleep, leading to fatigue and other health problems.
  • Affects your body’s natural chemistry: Cocaine addiction can cause sleep problems even after you stop using the drug. Cocaine can alter the brain’s chemistry, making it challenging to regulate mood and sleep patterns. Cocaine withdrawal can also cause brain changes that cause sleep abnormalities.

If you or someone you love is a chronic cocaine user experiencing sleep problems, it’s essential to seek professional help. By being proactive and getting the help you need, you can avoid the severe consequences of cocaine overdoses and get your life back on track. Contact Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439 to get started on your journey to recovery from substance abuse.

The Different Stages of Sleep and How Cocaine May Affect Them

There are five stages of sleep: wake, Non-REM 1 (N1), Non-REM 2 (N2), Non-REM 3 (N3), and REM (rapid eye movement).  Depending on the unique situation, cocaine users may experience sleep disruptions in different stages, and sleep efficiency may be poor.

  • Wake: During the wake stage, you’re conscious and alert. You can move and react to stimuli. This is the stage when you start falling asleep, and it’s the shortest. As a stimulant, cocaine increases alertness and energy, which can make it difficult to enter this stage of sleep.
  • N1 Light Sleep (5% of total sleep): N1 is the transition from wakefulness to sleep and the lightest stage of sleep. During this stage, you might experience brief, dream-like experiences. As seen by electroencephalogram (EEG), cocaine use significantly increases beta-wave activity in the brain. Beta waves are high-frequency waves associated with wakefulness and alertness. This increase in beta wave activity may make it challenging to enter this stage of sleep.
  • N2 Deeper Sleep (45% of total sleep): N2 is the first stage of deep sleep, characterized by low brain waves and muscle relaxation. During N2, your heart rate and blood pressure decrease, and your body temperature drops.
  • N3 Deepest Slow-Wave Sleep (25% of total sleep): N3 is a deep sleep stage. This is the stage of sleep when your body repairs and restores. Growth hormone is released during N3 sleep, which helps with tissue repair, muscle growth, and cell regeneration. During this stage of non-REM sleep, sleep disturbances are least likely to awaken you. Cocaine use may not significantly disrupt N3, but it can reduce the time spent in this stage.
  • REM (25% of total sleep): During REM sleep, your brain is active, and you may experience dreams. However, cocaine use prevents the brain from entering REM sleep. REM sleep is essential for restoring the body and mind. Without REM sleep, people only enter light sleep and feel exhausted during the day. Cocaine also increases the risk of nightmares and night terrors.

How Cocaine Affects Your Circadian Rhythms

Your circadian rhythms are your body’s natural sleep-wake cycles. They’re regulated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a group of neurons located in the hypothalamus. The SCN regulates melatonin production, which makes you feel sleepy when it’s dark and awake when it’s light.

Cocaine abusers may experience disruptions in their circadian rhythm and sleep cycles in several ways:

  • Cocaine affects the central nervous system and may cause optic neuropathy: The optic nerve carries information from the eye to the SCN. Cocaine abuse may damage the optic nerve, which can disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycles.
  • Cocaine may cause changes in gene expression: Gene expression is the process by which a gene’s instructions are used to produce proteins. The proteins regulate many of the body’s functions, including the sleep-wake cycle. Cocaine abuse can cause gene expression changes, disrupting the circadian rhythm.

Why Is Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Important?

Getting a healthy amount of total sleep time each night is essential for overall health and well-being. Good sleep quality helps the body repair and aids in memory consolidation and learning. Poor sleep can lead to fatigue, irritability, impairment in cognitive function, and a decrease in mental health. Getting enough sleep is also essential for physical health.

Lack of sleep can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. It can also weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.

What Are the Symptoms of Cocaine-Induced Sleep Problems?

Cocaine-induced sleep problems can vary depending on the person. Some people struggle to fall asleep (low sleep efficiency), while others wake up frequently at night. Other side effects of cocaine-induced sleep problems include:

  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing on tasks
  • Irritability

These symptoms can lead to daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia) and other health problems. If you’re struggling with a cocaine-induced sleep disorder, it’s crucial to seek professional help. 

Getting the Help You Need

Cocaine substance use disorder is a severe condition that can be difficult to overcome without help. Many effective treatment options are available, including detox, inpatient therapy, outpatient therapy, and counseling. With so many treatment options available, it can be overwhelming to figure out which is right for you.

Zinnia Health can help. Our experienced and compassionate staff will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs. Visit our site or contact us today at (855) 430-9439 to learn how we can help you recover from cocaine dependence.

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