This randomized, open-label, crossover study was conducted to compare the effects of a 24-hr nicotine patch and a 16-hr nicotine patch on morning smoking urges and sleep quality of dependent smokers during a short period of cigarette abstinence. A total of 20 smokers (9 women and 11 men) smoking at least 20 cigarettes/day completed the two smoke-free study periods. For each period, cigarette abstinence started on the first evening and a nicotine patch was applied the next morning (for 16 or 24 hr), after baseline measures; a second patch was applied the next morning, 1 hr before the end of the experimental period. Smoking urges, mood and behavior self-reports, psychomotor performance, and polysomnographic recordings were compared between the two types of nicotine patch according to changes from baseline. Both patches decreased morning smoking urges, although results were significantly superior for the 24-hr patch. Furthermore, the 24-hr patch was more effective than the 16-hr patch in reducing the positive reinforcing dimension of smoking urges. Regarding polysomnographic recordings, the proportion of slow wave sleep was significantly increased from baseline with the 24-hr patch compared with the 16-hr patch. As for psychomotor performance measured through the critical flicker fusion test, significant improvement in morning alertness was observed in the 24-hr patch group. In conclusion, the 24-hr nicotine patch formulation is more effective than the 16-hr formulation in alleviating morning smoking urges and more specifically the positive reinforcing factor. The present findings do not support the idea that nicotine delivery during bedtime might disturb sleep, but rather it improves restorative sleep and postwaking arousal.