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5 Effective Ways to Get Better Sleep and Combat Hair Loss
By Jacqueline Samaroo
Lack of sleep can lead to a myriad of health issues with hair loss being just one of them. Read on to discover how you can get better sleep – sleep that is more restful and more rejuvenating.
This article takes a quick at how sleep and hair growth are related. It then gives you a bit of a refresher on the many benefits of getting sufficient sleep. We then jump into the meat of the matter with some tips on how you can get better sleep and enjoy its benefits, including healthy hair growth.
Here’s the layout:
- Effect of Lack of Sleep On Hair Growth
- Benefits of Regular, Restful, Rejuvenating Sleep
- Five Ways to Get Better Sleep
TLDR? Here’s a summary of those five ways to get better sleep:
- Develop a bedtime routine.
- Learn ways to cope with stress.
- Pay attention to your diet.
- Put more physical activity into your day.
- Get your doctor’s advice.
Effect of Lack of Sleep On Hair Growth
We covered the connection between lack of sleep and hair loss in our recent post: Can Lack of Sleep Cause Hair Loss? Here Are 5 Alarming Ways! Be sure to check it out.
Here’s a quick look at what you will find in it.
- Lack of sleep causes increased release of the stress hormone cortisol which has been linked to telogen effluvium. This is a condition in which an excess of hairs go into the resting phase and are shed.
- Lack of sleep interrupts cell regeneration, including the regeneration of hair cells in the hair follicle. New hair cells are needed to keep the hair rooted and growing.
- Lack of sleep interferes with protein synthesis throughout the body, including protein synthesis of the hair which is mostly made up of keratin protein. The hair becomes weakened and prone to falling out.
- Lack of sleep decreases melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep. Ongoing research is showing that topical melatonin combats hair loss, leading scientists to think a drop in melatonin may cause hair increased hair fall.
- Lack of sleep impairs cognitive ability making it less likely you will take sufficient care of your hair.
Benefits of Regular, Restful, Rejuvenating Sleep
Apart from helping to ward off premature hair loss, there are many other ways in which sleep benefits your mind, body, and spirit.
- Sleep helps to reduce your stress levels, as well as reduces the effects (including hair loss) that chronically elevated stress can have on your body.
- Getting the sleep your body needs strengthens your immune system and you get sick less often.
- Regular restful sleep helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
- Sleep lowers your risk of developing serious health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic inflammation.
- Both memory and learning capacity are improved by rejuvenating sleep.
- Getting consistent adequate sleep improves your mood, outlook, and social interactions.
- Sufficient regular sleep improves attention and concentration with the ability to better complete tasks throughout the day.
- When you get enough sleep, you are better at decision-making and much less likely to catastrophize when difficult situations arise.
- Sleep improves brain function by helping to clear toxins and protein buildup from within the interstitial spaces of the brain, reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
- A night of restful, rejuvenating sleep gives you an energy boost throughout the next day.
Five Ways to Get Better Sleep
Getting ample restful and rejuvenating sleep is vital – for the sake of your hair and all other aspects of your health. Here are some tips on how you can get the sleep you need.
1. Develop a bedtime routine.
According to the Sleep Foundation, “A bedtime routine is a set of activities you perform in the same order, every night, in the 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed.”
These should be winding down activities that help to calm you and get your mind and body ready for sleep. They can be a mix of the following:
- Light reading
- A warm bath
- Light stretching
- Tea or a light snack
- Writing a to-do list
Also, some persons need total darkness and absolute quiet to fall asleep. Others need soft lighting and some amount of background noise. Ensure your room is sufficiently dark and sufficiently quiet for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
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2. Learn ways to cope with stress.
Lack of sleep and elevated stress can become a vicious cycle. That’s why one of the most important things you can do to break that cycle is to be patient. Don’t stress over not getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep straight away or every night. Give your body (and your mind) time to become adjusted to the habits that will help you get the restful and rejuvenating sleep you need.
Some strategies for limiting and coping with stress include
- Having a hobby or learning a new skill
- Taking care of a pet
- Finding a new balance between work and home life
- Regular exercise
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3. Pay attention to your diet.
Certain foods make it harder for you to fall asleep or may interfere with your sleep. Plus, your metabolism is slower while you sleep which could cause unintended weight gain from pre-bedtime meals.
Avoid having a heavy meal close to bedtime. It not only goes against your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) it also sets you up to be awakened at night by the normal body processes that take place after you eat. Processes like the act of digestion and needing to use the bathroom won’t stop simply because you are in bed.
If you must have something to eat before bed, choose wisely. Not surprisingly, fruits, nuts, raw or steamed veggies, milk, and fruit juice are good options. The foods on the “naughty list” won’t be a shocker either. Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and anything that falls in the high-fat, high-sugar, or high-salt categories.
While we are at it, even though it is not food, nicotine and nicotine-containing products should be avoided, too, if you are hoping to get better sleep.
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4. Put more physical activity into your day.
30 minutes of moderate exercise daily can make a world of difference to how you sleep. And, according to John Hopkins Medicine, if you start today, you could begin seeing the effects tonight. A word of caution that goes with sleep and exercise, however, is to be aware of how close to bedtime you exercise.
Physical activity raises body temperature and tends to leave us feeling more alert and less sleepy. It may take a while for our bodies to cool down and get into sleep mode. If you exercise in the evenings, aim to complete your exercise routine (which should ideally be light to moderate) at least an hour before you begin the activities of your bedtime routine.
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5. Get your doctor’s advice.
Both lack of sleep (the inability to get sufficient restful sleep) and hair loss are worrying conditions. We know lack of sleep can lead to hair loss and that stressing over hair loss can cause lack of sleep. But, there may be some other health issues, such as a nutrient deficiency, contributing to your hair loss. That’s something your doctor may be able to pinpoint.
Additionally, getting to the root cause of your lack of sleep can be an important step in overcoming it even if you follow all the tips we have given in this article. Discussing it with your doctor also gives them the opportunity to check for any other effects lack of sleep may be having on your health.
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Do you have any tips on how to get better sleep and combat hair loss? We’d love to hear them!