We’ve all needed those extra cups of coffee to overcome the exhaustion and lack of productivity after a sleepless night. Of course, those immediate consequences are evident, but who would have thought that our hair also gets tired? 

Yes! Insufficient Sleep is one of our body’s balance disruptors that we’ve constantly pointed at through our holistic approach as one of the causes of hair concerns. Why?

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.”

Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the release of the hormone promoting normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults. Growth hormones and enzymes are also needed for healthy hair.

¨High levels of stress and lack of sleep are intrinsically related. One can generate the other and vice-versa, potentially leading to a markedly vicious cycle that is negative for our health and wellbeing¨

At night, our body carries out several repairing and balancing processes all of them linked (but not limited) to healthy hair growth. These include:

  • Protein synthesis.
  • Cell regeneration.
  • Hormone regulation.
  • Nutrients absorption.

Additionally, in recent years there have been studies suggesting a link between melatonin (the hormone that regulates sleep–wake cycles) and hair growth. The Sleep Research Foundation indicates that topical melatonin is believed to show improvements in hair growth, which means that a decrease in melatonin could eventually lead to hair loss.

High levels of stress and lack of sleep are intrinsically related. One can generate the other and vice-versa, potentially leading to a markedly vicious cycle that is negative for our health and well being. We would like to discuss the issue of stress in a separate post.

Nowadays our busy and connected lives make it hard to go to bed early. Checking the last social media post from our friends, watching one more episode of our favorite TV show or reading the latest news, takes valuable time from our sleep. Experts usually recommended around 7-8 hours of sleep, and even though this could vary for everyone, we strongly recommend making an effort to achieve it.

A few tips to improve your sleep habits:

  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times on weekdays. Want to sleep a bit more on weekends? Ok, but don’t exaggerate so your internal clock doesn’t get confused.
  • Before going to sleep, devote some time to mindfulness through meditation, prayer, gratefulness. And don’t forget your breathing. 
  • Take a relaxing bath. Enhance it with your favorite essential oils.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals at least 2 hours before going to sleep.
  • Also avoid stimulants such as caffeine drinks (coffee, tea or sodas), alcohol and nicotine a few hours before bedtime.
  • Stay away from shocking images just before jumping into bed such as upsetting movies, tragic news or other disquieting thoughts.
  • Set a time to turn off cell phones or switch them to silent mode. Also avoid bright artificial light such as computer screens, tablets, and TV. 
  • Exercise during the day.
  • If you need (and can take) a short nap during the day, that’s ok. Don’t make it too long. 
  • Make your room and bed comfortable. Sleep in a quiet, dark and well-ventilated room with a comfortable mattress and pillows.

Improving your sleep may generate positive changes not only in your hair but in your overall well being.

Comment below if you have any questions or need additional information on this article.

References:

Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency 

Topical Melatonin for Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3681103/ 

Does A Lack Of Sleep Stunt Hair Growth? We Asked The Experts https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/lack-of-sleep-hair-growth

Sleep Deprivation and Hair Loss http://www.sleepresearchfoundation.com/sleep-deprivation-and-hair-loss/

Melatonin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melatonin