Poor sleep quality leads to several health issues, whether it’s stress, skin issues, energy levels or a poor immune system. Did you know that your sleep cycle can also affect your hair’s overall health? A good and restorative night’s sleep is required for the protein synthesis of the hair and the release of enzymes and growth hormones that are necessary for overall hair health.
How is sleep important for hair growth? Well, epithelial hair follicle stem cells go to work when you sleep, and several good nights of rest can help ensure this process happens seamlessly. Conversely, lack of sleep stops those stem cells from doing their job, and the result could be an impairment in this growth.
Sleep deprivation can eventually lead to stress, and stress has been known to result in telogen effluvium hair loss. This is when stress pushes the hair follicle into a premature “resting state,” which is then followed by a premature “shedding phase.”
The way that sleep affects your body’s natural hormones is probably the most important part of preventing hair loss. The body produces a hormone called melatonin, which helps it regulate sleep cycles. Surprisingly, it also has been shown to increase hair growth. If your body decreases in its melatonin levels, it’s possible that this results in hair loss.
Interestingly, the hair follicles contain “clock genes” that keep the track of your body’s circadian rhythms and regulate your body clock. To put it in simple words, your hair knows when you are sleeping and when you are awake!
Based on a study conducted by researchers of the Research Institute for Time Studies at Yamaguchi University in Japan, it was found when researchers tested the genes in the subjects’ follicles that body-clock gene activity peaked right after a subject had woken up, regardless of the time the subject woke up. This suggested that the brain “turns on” the genes at different times of the morning in different people. Other clock genes followed similar patterns, making it possible to predict “morning people” with just a pluck, the study said.
If it has been determined that stress-induced sleep issues appear to be the culprit of your shedding, there are things that you can do to get your sleep cycle back on track.
- Cut down on caffeine at least three to four hours before bedtime.
- Move the TV out of the bedroom if you have one there. The fewer distractions you have, the easier it will be to fall asleep. The same goes for any handheld devices—the blue light our cell phone screens emit can interfere with falling asleep.
- Replace your curtains with blackout drapes to block out all outdoor light.
- Try going to bed at the same time every night. Having a routine can help encourage regular sleep.
- Try to meditate once a day; meditation can aid in relaxation and help reduce stress.
- Try a white noise machine. The soothing noises can help lull you into dreamland.