The connection between Sleep and Hair Health

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Is it quite normal for you to see your precious hair on your pillow every morning or that your vacuum-cleaner dust bag has more hair strands than dust, or that every time you have a hair wash your bathroom is clogged because of hair strands? Well the good news is that you are not alone to suffer from this sad saga called “The dark tales of hair loss.”

According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, losing 50 to 100 strands of hair every day is normal. The problem arises when the percent of hair fall is greater than hair growth.

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The cause for hair loss could be hereditary, using too much styling products, deficiency of nutrients such as biotin, vitamin C and B, hormones, weather, water etc. However recent studies in this area shows that the primary reason for hair loss especially between the age group of late 20s to 30s is due to stress caused by sleep deprivation.

Impact of sleep on our overall health

When it comes to sleep, QUALITY always supersedes QUANTITY. Quantity sleep means getting minimum 8-9 hours of sleep every night, however this alone doesn’t guarantee that you will wake up feeling fresh and rejuvenated. Here comes the aspect of sleep quality. One is said to have a good quality sleep when you fall asleep within 20 mins of hitting the bed and sleep well through the night without frequently waking up. Quality sleep is essential for activating the secretion of various enzymes and proteins, activating the lymph nodes to flush the toxins, regenerating cells, aiding better absorption of nutrients, strengthening the immune system, and balancing vital hormones like Cortisol and Melatonin.


The cycle of sleep deprivation, stress and hair health

Sleep is essential for our body to recover from the wear and tear it undergoes daily. In event of sleep deprivation, when our body hasn’t rested well but it still has to distribute the goodies (proteins, nutrients, vitamins) to continue important bodily functions, guess which part has the least priority…yes you guessed right, it’s our hair. Therefore, when we are sleep deprived our hair gets left out in getting its share of the core nutrients such as biotins, Vitamin C & B that make it healthy. Sleep deprivation causes stress that in turn causes an unnatural increase in the level of the vital hormones such as Cortisol and Melatonin. These hormones not only control and help maintain the circadian rhythm but severely impact hair health.

  • Cortisol controls the production of oil in our sebaceous gland and every strand on our head has its own sebaceous gland. An increase in the Cortisol level increases the production of oil making the scalp greasy. This leads to other scalp related problems.
  • Melatonin helps in secretion and release of antioxidants that prevent cell destruction. Studies have shown that application of topical Melatonin helps combat hair loss due to aging and alopecia.

Imbalances in the levels of Melatonin and Cortisol creates a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation causing stress that causes hair fall and this unnatural hair fall causes further stress leading to chronic sleep deprivation.

Hair care tips to be followed before sleeping

If the cause of your hair loss is stress and sleep deprivation, then you can reverse the effects by following a good sleep hygiene along with the below mentioned pre-sleep hair care tips.

  1. Combing hair before going to sleep helps removes tangles, distribute the oil from the sebaceous gland evenly from hair root to tip, and most importantly it makes you feel sleepy.
  2. Hair is very fragile and more prone to breakage when it is wet, therefore, never sleep with wet hair.
  1. If you have dry and frizzy hair, apply serum before going to sleep to reduce breakage when asleep.
  2. A quick head massage before sleep stimulates blood circulation that aids hair growth and also helps you sleep better.
  3. Switch to silk or satin pillow cover to reduce occurrences of hair breakage when asleep.

To improve hair health via sleep you need to break the vicious cycle of sleep and stress by following a good sleep regime, practicing all hair care tips, and using safe and mild hair care products.



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