Insomnia or sleep deprivation not only affects your health but also weakens the hair follicles, resulting in hair thinning or shedding. Increased levels of psychological distress and improper sleep result in hair loss or androgenetic alopecia (1). This article explains the relationship between lack of sleep and hair loss, along with tips to improve sleep quality. Scroll down to know more!
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Science Behind Sleep Deprivation, Stress, And Hair Loss – A Vicious Cycle
Adequate sleep is essential to stay healthy and maintain your well-being. A peaceful sleep for 7-8 hours is needed for the body’s natural repair and regulation process. It also helps your physiological system recover from stress. Insufficient sleep has negative consequences on the health that directly or indirectly leads to thinning of hair.
Our body undergoes different sleep or circadian cycles that regulate the stem cells and growth of hair follicles. During the anagen stage (hair growth phase) of the hair development cycle, a circadian oscillation results in stem cell development of hair follicles that stimulates hair growth during a particular period of the day (2).
Poor sleep and improper circadian cycle raise the cortisol level (stress hormone) that results in hair loss (3) (4). A study published in the American Journal of Pathology illustrated the relationship between stress levels and hair growth. The release of neurohormones, neurotransmitters, and cytokines related to excess stress level affects the hair growth cycle (5).
However, insomnia or lack of sleep affects the functioning of the human growth hormone (HGH). A study shows that night surge of growth hormone is dependent on the sleep cycle. Irregular, limited, or disturbed sleep lowers HGH levels, which lead to thinning hair or male/female pattern baldness (6) (7).
Therefore, a regular sleep routine of 7- 8 hours may help manage stress and decrease premature shedding of hair.
Lifestyle changes, proper diet, and regular sleep-wake cycles are important to improve hair quality and reduce hair shedding (telogen effluvium). Here are a few strategies that can help improve your sleep environment.
Tips To Improve Sleep Hygiene
- Maintain a consistent sleep routine. It helps regulate your body’s natural function, improves the quality of life, and positively impacts the stem cell proliferation of hair follicles.
- Keep your room dark and limit the light from electronic devices. A study showed that darkness stimulates melatonin secretion that improves the quality of sleep (8), (9). You can also wear an eye mask or eye pad for better sleep.
- It is easier to sleep if your surroundings are quiet. Thus, make your room sound-proof or close the door for a good sleep.
- A comfortable bed and pillow are essential to enhance your sleep quality.
- Alcohol intake during bedtime also hampers sleep quality and hygiene. Hence, avoid consuming alcohol before you go to bed.
- Do not eat a heavy meal just before sleeping. Maintain at least 2-3 hours of gap between dinner and bedtime.
- Reduce the stress in your daily life. Do breathing exercises and yoga to relax and calm the mind.
Proper lifestyle and good sleep quality are the keys to restore your hair health. Practicing meditation or yoga to manage stress levels and following a fixed sleep-wake up routine can help reduce hair fall to some extent. But if you are facing severe hair loss or shedding, consult a dermatologist to analyze the underlying conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can tiredness cause hair loss?
Tiredness is not directly linked to hair loss. But lack of sleep increases tiredness and stress levels, which are directly linked to hair loss.
Will my hair grow back if I sleep more?
Sleeping more does not help in hair regrowth. But proper sleep with a healthy lifestyle can reduce further hair shedding.
How should I sleep to prevent hair loss?
Keep your room dark, and lie on a comfortable bed and pillow for a peaceful sleep.
What is the best way to sleep with hair?
Tie your hair in a loose braid to prevent traction alopecia (friction hair loss). Do not sleep with a tight ponytail or other hairstyles, as it might lead to further hair shedding.
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- Circadian Clock-mediated Control of Stem cell Division and Differentiation: beyond night and day
- Androgenetic Alopecia: Quality-of-life and Associated Lifestyle Patterns
- Interactions between sleep, stress, and metabolism: From physiological to pathological conditions
- Stress and the hair follicle: exploring the connections
- Growth hormone and cortisol secretion in relation to sleep and wakefulness
- Further Clinical Evidence for the Effect of IGF-1 on Hair Growth and Alopecia
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