The Importance of Sleep for Healthy Natural Hair:

Many women and men rightfully take a great deal of pride and pleasure in maintaining their crowning glories of natural hair. They devote particular attention to finding the perfect shampoo or conditioner to use in order to ensure that their hair looks its very best. They seek out the combs, brushes, silky bonnets, and numerous other items, they feel that they must have to maintain their lustrous locks. Unfortunately, in spite of their most diligent efforts they may still sometimes experience dull, thinning, fragile hair that breaks and sheds easily. Too often, people rely solely on creams, oils, and other products, to put on their strands to achieve abundant heads of hair.

Although quality haircare products can be very beneficial and wonderful to use, people should realize that truly strong and healthy hair comes from within. Most people are not aware of the profoundly negative affect that stress, sleep deprivation, or poor quality sleep can have on their hair health. The frequent lack of a good night’s sleep can cause stress and hormonal changes in the body that may result in hair loss. For our purposes, a good night’s sleep can be broadly summarized as being at least seven hours in duration, in a cool dark room free from noise and disruptions. In this article, we will go into more detail on the importance of sleep for healthy natural hair:

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Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. What is written throughout this article is not medical or professional advice. It is for informational purposes only.

The sleep cycle and your hair growth cycle

A good night’s sleep means that it is restorative. It allows the body to synthesize hair protein, and to release the enzymes and growth hormones required to develop healthy hair. The human body produces Melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep cycle and aids in the promotion of hair growth. If the body consistently does not get restorative sleep, it is stressful and can result in the insufficient production of Melatonin. The manner in which sleep affects Melatonin production is probably the most important part of preventing hair loss.

Hair growth is divided into stages – two of which being the anagen and telogen stages. Hair actively grows during the anagen stage and it will do so for two to four years. After that, it will then enter the telogen or resting stage. During this stage, the hair naturally sheds for several months while being replaced with new growth. Usually, when a person is not stressed and is getting good sleep, about 85% of their hair is in the growing stage and 15% is in the resting stage.

What happens to your hair when you do not get enough sleep?

When a person is consistently not getting adequate or good quality sleep, it can be stressful on the body and cause a telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium is hair loss or thinning that results from stress or shock to the body. In addition to stress from poor quality sleep, telogen effluvium can be triggered from reactions to fear, illnesses, new medications, psychological shock, surgery, and more. Telogen effluvium accelerates root hair from the anagen stage into a premature resting stage proceeded by a premature shedding phase. Generally, the hair shedding from telogen effluvium will start two or three months after the stressful or shocking event. In some instances, as much as 70% of the hairs on the scalp can be shed in the two months after the event.

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The importance of sleep for healthy natural hair – or healthier, thicker hair starts from within

Telogen effluvium is hair loss that occurs from stress. It is usually the thinning of hair on the top of the scalp. The good thing about telogen effluvium is that it is a reversible condition. It usually does not require medical treatment and is often resolved in months. The duration of telogen effluvium is approximately three to six months. Hair typically grows back when the stress goes away. It is advisable for people experiencing significant hair loss to see a doctor for a blood test to make certain that the cause is telogen effluvium rather than a serious concern that requires medical attention.

The connection between stress and hair loss is widely acknowledged by those in the medical field. A reasonable way to proceed to achieve fuller, healthier hair is to take charge of stress where ever possible. Minimize stress and you minimalize hair loss. Exercise and practice self-care with calming activities such as yoga or meditation. Limit time spent on the internet or social media. Reduce your overall screen time. Eat healthy foods, limit sugar and drink plenty of water. Additionally, form the habit of practicing good sleep hygiene.

Practicing good sleep hygiene:

Good sleep hygiene is simply taking the necessary actions and steps to ensure that you will have regular, good quality, restful sleep. This means:

  • Keeping your bedroom at a comfortable temperature
  • Sleeping in a dark room
  • Make sure your bed is as comfortable as possible
  • Turn off the television, smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime
  • Try to remove gadgets that emit blue light out of the room if possible or turn them face down
  • Take a warm bath before bed
  • Establish and maintain a consistent bedtime and wake-up time
  • Try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night

In conclusion, a positive lifestyle that includes good nutrition, low stress, good sleep hygiene practices, as well as gentle hair care, should help you to achieve your healthy natural hair goals for a long time.

With the importance of sleep for healthy natural hair in mind, on average, how many hours of sleep per night do you get? Leave a comment down below!

References:

1Telogen Effluvium Hair Loss – American Osteopathic College of … – AOCD. https://www.aocd.org/?page=TelogenEffluviumHA.

2Admin, SNY. “How Insufficient Sleep Affect Hair Loss.” Scalp International Hairlines, 9 Dec. 2021, https://www.scalpny.com/blog/lack-of-sleep-cause-hair-loss/.

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