We know sleep is important — it seems that a full night of sleep improves just about everything.
However, we didn’t realize the connection between sleep and hair growth. It turns out that getting your Zzz’s is crucial to the hair growth phase, and that sleep deprivation can lead to stress which equals hair loss.
We reached out to Dr. Michael Breus, The Sleep Doctor and Maryam Tantawy, Director of Product Marketing and Innovation at HUM Nutrition for more information on the link, and tips for achieving your best rest.
Figure out your sleep personality
While how much sleep the average person needs is a very personal calculation, most people need between “7-9 hours,” according to Dr. Breus. To find out your individual sleep needs and determine what sleep category you fall into. Dr. Breus breaks people down into chronotypes with an animal identifier. Bears have a higher sleep drive, wolves like to stay up late, lions are early risers and dolphins are very light sleepers and tend to be overachievers. Once you determine your sleep type at www.chronoquiz.com, you can change your habits for better sleep.
Hormones, sleep, and stress
Though baldness in men is linked to genetics – and there’s no amount of sleep that will alter your DNA – hormones also play a major role, and sleep deprivation can affect hormone levels. “Human growth hormone (HGH) is produced when we progress through normal sleep cycles. In people who get irregular, interrupted, or limited sleep, they may have lower levels of HGH. Lower levels of HGH can contribute to numerous health issues including thinning hair. As a result, getting quality sleep may be able to help reduce thinning and loss of hair,” say Dr. Breus, making the connection.
“Sleep deprivation can cause both physical and emotional stress, which can increase the risk of telogen effluvium in which a person loses a significant amount of hair. A consistent sleep routine that helps to avoid major fluctuations in sleep quality and quantity thus may be one way to help manage stress and decrease the likelihood of this condition,” he continues, highlighting the link between a lack of sleep, stress and hair loss.
He points out that research is lacking in this area, if you have sleep deprivation and circadian disruption, then all rhythms will be off. “We know that hair grows in cycles, and these cycles are circadian. Thus, sleep deprivation will certainly change the hair growth cycle (most likely making it worse). In addition, we know that hair growth is related to Human Growth Hormone release, which is primarily seen in stages 3 and 4 sleep.”
The body regenerates at night
“Sleep is critical for your body’s regenerative processes. During this time all of the cells in your body – including hair follicle cells – are repaired and regenerated. Sleep also activates growth hormones and enzymes to build proteins essential for strong, healthy hair and proper growth,” continues Maryam Tantawy, Director of Product Marketing and Innovation at HUM Nutrition. “Lack of sleep not only stunts this time for growth and renewal, but also weakens your immune system and ability to absorb nutrients needed to produce healthy hair. Without proper nutrient absorption, hair volume, shine and condition are all compromised,” she explains.
How to sleep better
To get more sleep, Dr. Breus suggests making the following changes (some are admittedly easier than others).
1) Stick to one wake up time
2) Stop caffeine by 2pm
3) Stop alcohol 3 hours before bed
4) Exercise daily, but stop by 4pm
5) Get 15 min of sunlight every morning
To boost z’s, Maryam recommends HUM Nutrition Mighty NightTM, which contains a combination of botanicals (ceramides, ferulic acid and CoQ10, which all work to improve cell recovery and renewal) shown to help you stay asleep, giving your body sufficient time to repair. “It is formulated with a specific ratio of valerian root, passionflower and hops, which was studied and shown to improve sleep quality, total sleeping time, and reduce sleep disturbances. In fact, the same study demonstrated that this botanical blend was just as effective as a common prescription sleeping aid in alleviating these symptoms,” she says, noting that in a study of 27 subjects taking Mighty NightTM for 60 days, sleep quality was improved by more than 70 percent and the time it took to fall asleep was cut in half.
So hit the sheets and you might see a change in hair growth.