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by Bridget Reed
January 23, 2023
Hair loss is a common struggle many people go through at some point in their lives — over 35 million men and 21 million women suffer from hair loss. If you’re in that group, you are not alone!
Dealing with hair loss is difficult — it can mess with your self-esteem and have you questioning your health. It’s important to get to the root cause of unexpected hair loss to determine if you can change your lifestyle and choices to decrease the loss.
Hair loss can occur for many different reasons, but we will discuss how lack of sleep may contribute to hair loss. It’s never been more important to get those ZZZs.
Getting plenty of sleep for your body to stay healthy is crucial. Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our health — it goes hand in hand with eating and drinking. Without the right amount of sleep, our health can take a major dip.
One night of no sleep won’t necessarily have long-term effects on your body or hair, but the issue starts when a lack of sleep becomes more routine. It’s a good idea to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night for your body to function at its best. No more all-nighters, please!
Lack of sleep can also cause changes to your skin and even alter your mood (we’ve all been that grumpy morning person, right?). And surprisingly, a lack of sleep can also impact your hair growth.
Healthy hair is dependent on healthy growth hormones. While you sleep, your body performs its natural repair and regulation process, including the hair growth cycle. Your follicles grow hair during this hair growth cycle, so any interrupting can be an issue.
It’s normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day. This is called shedding and is nothing to be worried about. But a significant amount of shedding accompanied by less-than-ideal nights of sleep can be worrisome. Plus, you deserve rest!
Hair loss due to lack of sleep is a slow-moving process. You don’t just wake up with chunks of hair missing; it happens at a slow and steady pace.
You may notice more hair in your hairbrush than before or that the shower drain is becoming clogged more often. You may also notice your hair seems thinner and your hair tie seems looser.
Lack of sleep can also be called insomnia. Not getting enough sleep can be due to a variety of different reasons. It could be something easily fixed or something that requires more intervention. If you can’t quite figure out why you struggle to sleep, it’s important to seek medical advice.
Below is a list of a few causes of sleeplessness.
As you age, your hormones can get out of whack. Hair loss during menopause is common, but not permanent — try and breath through that knowledge! It’s also common to experience some sleeplessness as your hormones fluctuate.
As estrogen declines in the body, you may find that you are waking up early or that your sleep-wake cycle seems off. Plus, there’s nothing like a hot flash to have you tossing and turning.
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition in which your breathing repeatedly starts and stops. This can keep you from getting a full night of sleep, and be an overall frustrating experience.
Besides difficulty staying asleep, sleep apnea symptoms include snoring, dry mouth, gasping for air, and irritability. If you are stressed that you may have sleep apnea, it’s best to consult a doctor to find remedies and prevent it from persisting.
Depression is a mental health condition that affects your mind, and can cause a lack of sleep. If you aren’t having any trouble sleeping through the night while dealing with depression, the quality of your sleep may not be as solid.
Other depression symptoms include fatigue, constant feelings of sadness, and loss of interest.
If you are feeling depressed, you are not alone (especially in these trying times!). Depression is best diagnosed by a professional; they can help you find ways to treat it.
Stress is a feeling of being overwhelmed and can come with a racing heart, sweating palms, and intrusive thoughts. It’s no fun.
It is easy to have difficulty sleeping when your mind is keeping you up due to stress.
Diet and sleep go hand in hand. If you have an imbalanced diet, you may struggle to get the quality sleep you need. If you consume too much caffeine before bedtime, you may have difficulty falling asleep.
Restless leg syndrome is the uncontrollable urge to move your legs. Restless leg syndrome often occurs when you are trying to sleep. The constant need to move your legs can keep you from getting a full night’s rest, as you can imagine.
You can see a doctor if you believe you have restless leg syndrome and they can help you find ways to relieve this.
If you have concluded that you are experiencing hair loss and think it is due to a lack of sleep, there are plenty of ways to improve your sleep patterns. Some of the causes may need medical intervention, but a simple life change could go a long way for those who don't.
As discussed, having a healthy diet is crucial to getting a good night's sleep! Keep your diet healthy and drink plenty of water. A healthy adult needs at least eight glasses of water a day.
You can also eat certain foods to help you sleep better. An example of a food that helps you sleep is pistachios as they contain melatonin, or turkey, as it contains a small amount of tryptophan.
Melatonin is a hormone in your body made by your pineal gland. It helps put you to sleep and regulate your sleep-wake cycle.
It is important to destress! Stress can get in the way of getting to sleep and staying asleep — plus, it’s just not a great feeling.
Find ways to decrease stress, such as meditating, reading a book, or exercising. Take time out of the day every day to devote yourself and just relax.
Exercising is a great way to decrease stress and improve sleep. When you exercise, it pumps up your endorphins. Exercise also plays a role in your hair growth cycle. So, the more exercise you get, the healthier your hair is.
You can also take certain supplements to help you get enough sleep. You can get over-the-counter ones such as melatonin or prescriptions from your doctor for more severe cases of insomnia.
Put down the phone and get to bed, you! It can be tempting to take your phone to bed for some late-night scrolling, but the blue light from your phone can severely disrupt your sleep. You have to make time for sleep — trust us, your body will thank you.
Hair loss is never good news, but there is good news with hair loss caused by lack of sleep. It does not have to be permanent! Your hair should grow back just fine if the hair loss is due to a lack of sleep.
Once you get to the root of the cause of your insomnia and start taking steps to improve it, you can work on regrowing your hair. Hair growth will happen naturally over time. Hair grows up to an inch a month, but you can also take steps to assist along the way.
Hopefully, now that you’re destressing, exercising, and eating a balanced diet, your body and hair growth will already be improving, but there are a few other things you can add to your hair routine to help your hair grow back after hair loss.
Having a great shampoo and conditioner that adds nutrients to your hair and assists with growth is always a good idea. Having the right shampoo and conditioner is a big part of hair growth.
Some shampoos and conditioners can put a strain on your hair. They can make your hair dry, leading to split ends and breakage. Try to stay away from shampoos and conditioners containing sulfates and silicones.
Also, an important part of hair growth is ensuring you get the right amount of vitamins for your body. Vitamins are crucial to have a healthy hair growth cycle. A vitamin deficiency will lead to additional hair loss. Be sure you are getting ample vitamin A and iron, as they are vital for hair growth.
You can also add hair supplements to your diet that are full of biotin and collagen. Biotin and collagen are awesome for assisting in hair growth.
While you wait for your hair to grow and be strong again after hair loss due to lack of sleep, try to style it a little less — just let it be. Try not to tie your hair up super tight, and be gentle when brushing it to avoid pulling the hair and scalp.
Always always always use a heat protectant when styling your hair with heated tools. I know we sound a little harsh, but better safe than sorry, right?
Remember, everyone’s hair growth is different, and your hair may take longer to grow back than others; that does not mean it won’t grow back. Hair growth takes time and a consistent healthy hair care routine. You got this!
Getting the right amount of sleep is important! Do not underestimate how important sleep is for your health.
Getting the right amount of sleep is vital not only for your body but for your hair growth. If you do not get enough sleep for a long period, you may notice negative changes in your body and your hair.
Better Not Younger is dedicated to offering products that support healthy, luscious, and nourished hair no matter your age. We endeavor to create vegan products free from parabens and harsh chemicals — it’s time to show your hair a little love.
To keep your hair full and healthy, take care of yourself, get some much-needed ZZZs, and check out Better Not Younger for all your hair needs.
Sleep apnea - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic
Restless legs syndrome - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic
Female pattern hair loss: A clinical, pathophysiologic, and therapeutic review | PMC
Menopause and insomnia | Women's Health Concern