Once you’ve quit smoking, you may feel more sleepy or lightheaded, or overly excited and irritable. You may have cravings for sweet or salty foods at times when you used to smoke. These are signs indicating that the nicotine is leaving your body.
Remember that many of these physical symptoms will go away within the first couple of weeks. After the first week, much of the nicotine will have left your system and with it your body’s reaction to the immediate loss of a chemical that it had become used to.
After that, you will still have cravings and other reactions, but these cravings will be based on the psychological associations you have developed, such as not being able to enjoy your morning coffee without a cigarette. But these associations will lessen over time.
The best thing you can do at this stage is to know what to look for and to plan how you’ll cope when cravings happen and symptoms occur. The better you can anticipate times when you are going to be tempted to smoke and the more you have specific plans for managing them, the more easily you will negotiate the next few weeks. Even if a temptation sneaks up on you and. catches you unaware, it’s still good to have thought through the specific things you can do to get past it without smoking.
You’ve already learned how to cope with nicotine cravings using healthy snacks and delaying the urge to smoke. The following are suggestions for how to handle some of the other sensations you may experience as the nicotine leaves your body. These were developed from our own work with patients and decades or American Lung Association programs that have helped thousands of people quit and stay smoke-free.
– Fatigue, Feeling Extra Tired
For many people, nicotine acts as-a stimulant. Now that you have quit, your body is going back to normal. If you feel tired or sluggish, try to reserve some extra time for sleeping. Let yourself take naps and don’t push yourself too hard. Remember, you can’t smoke when you are asleep. On the other hand, another way to overcome feelings of fatigue is to exercise.
– Dizziness, Headaches
If you feel dizzy, make sure to move around a little more; slowly and carefully and be extra cautious. Unless you and your doctor have decided you shouldn’t use them, you can try over-the-counter, non prescription pain medicines like aspirin or ibuprofen to get rid of a headache.
You might try cold compresses or taking a warm bath or hot shower when you feel a headache coming on. You can also drink more water and reduce your intake of caffeine. Try cutting down or replacing your morning coffee with herbal tea, or start making your coffee half decaffeinated.