Undeniably having a good night’s sleep, in terms of the quality of sleep is very important for the overall wellness of our body and mind. Getting the right amount of sleep plays an important in our brain functions, helping us with our mental wellbeing as well as boosting our immune system and thus improving our physical health too.
But, what happens when we continue having bad sleep one night after another, and constantly suffer from lack of sleep? Sleep deprivation can lead to several health problems, including exacerbation of genetic predispositions such as hair loss. Scientific studies show that sleep deprivation is linked with thinning hair and hair loss. As a Dr. Serkan Aygın Clinic, with this article, we will explore the consequences of quality of sleep on healthy hair and how lack of sleep can accelerate hereditary hair loss in both males and females already affected by androgenic alopecia.
The Connection Between Insomnia and Hair Loss
While there is not an immediate correlation between the onset of alopecia and sleep deprivation, hair loss is a common and frequent phenomenon that can happen to all people, with the change of the seasons or in a particularly stressful period accompanied by sleepless nights. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts our internal circadian clock, altering the healthy growth of hair follicles.
Let’s analyze in detail how sleep and hair loss are connected.
It is demonstrated that high levels of stress have negative consequences on our bodies, and it may lead to an episode of hair loss or hair thinning.
A prolonged period of stress has an impact on our skin and its function, in this time, the body, in response to the stress level, releases an unusual level of hormones and neurotransmitters that can affect the growth of hair follicles. As a consequence of psychological stress, patients may experience Telogen Effluvium (diffuse hair loss).
To better understand the impact of telogen effluvium on our body, let’s take a look at the hair growth cycle to understand this phenomenon.
Generally, hair has three different phases of growth:
- Anagen: The growth phase
- Catagen: Transition phase
- Telogen: Resting phase
Usually, more than 90% of the hair is in the Anagen phase, while just 5% is in Telogen. The Telogen Effluvium upsets the follicles causing the stop of the growth and the hair entrance into the telogen phase (resting phase). A person who is suffering from Telogen Effluvium will have more than 30% of their follicles in the resting phase, which will follow shedding and hair thinning.
The good news is that patients not affected by genetic hair loss will notice their hair growth resumed in less than six months. Unfortunately, in the case of patients affected by androgenetic alopecia, the Telogen Effluvium will exacerbate the normal shedding and speed up the genetic hair loss, which will continue even after you have solved your sleeping problem.
At Dr Serkan Aygin Clinic, we invite patients affected by alopecia to book an online consultation before undergoing hair surgery to receive the best recommendation for their cases.
Alteration of day-night cycles (Internal Circadian Clock)
The internal circadian clock is an internal process that regulates our sleeping cycle. In a 2014 study, it was demonstrated that the interruption of the sleeping circle (day-night cycles) was slowing the regeneration of stem cell tissue. This study shows the impact of sleeping interruption on hair follicles, leading to unhealthy and weak hair.
The production of melatonin (a hormone that regulates day and night cycles) is also affected by the alteration of the circadian clock. Melatonin is usually produced during the night, and the lack of proper sleep would alter its concentration in the body and potentially slow down hair growth.
As mentioned above, once you have solved your sleeping problem, your hair loss will stop. However, if the main cause of your hair loss is hereditary, this will likely continue as a progressive condition. In males and females, the hair loss pattern manifests differently. While hair thinning in women appears all around the head, men will generally suffer from receding hairline or crown thinning. In this case, a hair transplant might be the only solution to restore your hair density.
Having a good sleep routine for sure will make you feel better, but let’s not forget that sleep deprivation is not the only reason that can cause hair loss, many other factors can influence your hair loss, such as extreme diet exceeding in protein, environmental factors like smoking, usage of contraceptive pills, or medicines used to control blood pressure.
How to Improve the Sleep Quality
Nowadays, most people live a very busy life, and whatever might be the reason for your sleeping disorder you may try to follow some of these practices that ease the level of stress in your body and help you get a good night’s sleep.
- Yoga and breathing exercises
It has been proved to give beneficial effects. For this reason, people often practice yoga to seek relaxation and stress relief.
The latest research showed that after yoga, people’s anxiety and stress levels diminish.
- Avoiding alcohol and cigarettes
The negative effects of tobacco and alcohol consumption on our health and hair are widely known, for this reason, we recommend you to avoid them.
- Set your sleeping schedule
Trying to sleep always at the same time, even on weekends will help your body to have better repose.
Those are simple indications that can help people cope with stress and sleeping problems. However, in case of serious sleep conditions we recommend you seek professional help.
If you notice sudden or patchy hair loss while combing or washing your hair, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Serkan Aygin Clinic.