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Does Lack of Sleep Affect Hair?

An expert explains the relationship between sleep and healthy hair, plus hair growth.
August 17, 2022

By now you may already be well versed on the topic of sleep and skin health, and how a lack of
beauty rest can take a toll on your appearance. But what about how sleep affects your hair? As it turns out, your sleeping patterns — however good or bad — could be affecting your hair, including your hair’s health and hair growth.

In an effort to learn more on this subject and improve the look and feel of our strands, we talked to Dr. Erin Gilbert, board-certified dermatologist and L’Oréal Paris consultant, who gave us the scoop on why we should care about the connection between sleep and hair.   

How Sleep Is Affecting Your Hair

Like skin, hair simply needs rest for renewal. According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sleep has a hand in regulating several biological functions. So when it comes to hair, outside of the telogen or resting stage of hair growth, daily rest can be beneficial for your strands, according to Gilbert. 

“All structures of the body undergo cellular renewal while the body sleeps, most notably

between [the hours of] 10pm and 3am,” she says. “Younger and older people can often get away with less sleep, however those in the middle, particularly those entering the peri-menopausal stage in the mid to late thirties or forties, can really feel the effects of inadequate sleep.” 

Further, a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that there was a direct connection between stress and a lack of hair growth, specifically that hair follicles showed degranulation during a stress response. Since sleep restores the body and regulates stress, it can become an important factor in combating stress-induced hair loss.   

That being said, Gilbert explains that not getting enough sleep alone isn’t a reason to fear that your hair will fall out. There are several factors that can contribute to stunted hair growth or hair loss, but there are steps that you can take to find balance that promotes healthy hair.

“Ideally we live in a relative state of equilibrium with adequate nutrient intake, cellular

renewal and free from excessive stress,” she says. “When any one of these things is perturbed we can see increased ‘wear and tear’ on our bodies. One common source of hair loss or thinning hair is nutrient deficiency. In these cases replenishment of the missing nutrients will improve hair growth and health.” 

Some examples of this are omega 3 and omega 6 oils, zinc, and B vitamins. Gilbert also explains that gut health is extremely important for nutrient absorption, so if your system is stressed and your gut can’t absorb the nutrients you’re consuming, you may be seeing the effects of that more so than a lack of sleep.

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What Other Factors Can Affect Hair Growth?

While hair loss in women isn’t discussed as often as men’s hair loss, it’s quite common — according to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 55 percent of women experience some hair loss by the age of 70. Genetics are to blame for the most common form — female pattern baldness — though hair loss, or lack of hair growth, can be influenced by a variety of things.

“You always have to consider family history and or other factors that can contribute to hair loss, like hormonal changes and medication,” says Gilbert. “Some women have a family history of hair loss. There are additional dermatologic conditions, like alopecia areata, which result in areas of temporary circular hair loss.”

So, what can you do to revive your strands if you’re not getting enough sleep to promote hair growth?

“Making sure that you have a nutrient rich diet is the first step in [reviving thinning or unhealthy hair],” Gilbert says. “Beyond that you can incorporate steps in your hair care regimen that strengthen and improve the appearance of lackluster hair. Salon or at home masks can help or you can take a DIY approach. [Ingredients like] coconut oil, sunflower oil, mineral and castor oil are helpful. Finally, if you have a family history of hair loss, topical minoxidil may also slow hair loss.”

5 Products That Promote Healthy Hair

Since rest alone won’t help you get the hair of your dreams, you may want to incorporate some of the ingredients that Dr. Gilbert mentions into your hair care arsenal. Check out a few of our favorite products that include these powerhouse elements for healthy hair. 

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Restoring Shampoo for Long, Damaged Hair

This repairing shampoo includes castor oil and a blend of vitamins to help you protect hair as it grows. The dye-free, paraben-free formula seals split ends and adds shine so you can hold on to every inch while keeping your strands looking beautiful. Pair it with the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Conditioner for Long, Damaged Hair for optimal results.

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls No Build-Up Curls Micellar Shampoo

This clarifying shampoo made with waves and curly hair in mind is formulated with castor oil and hyaluronic acid to give hair softness and bounce without product weigh-down. It’s perfect for those who need to give their scalp and hair a cleanse for a buildup-free foundation that promotes hair growth.

L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Signature Masque, Color Care Hair Mask

Whether your hair is color-treated, in need of a hydration boost, or looking lackluster, reach for this hair mask for nourishment. Infused with rose extract and vegan protein, it helps to enhance color and shine while providing intense hydration.

L’Oréal Paris Total Repair 5 Power Restore Multi Use Treatment

A multitasking treatment for all hair types, this hair mask can also be used as a leave-in conditioner or co-washing conditioner. Made with a protein repair concentrate, the lightweight formula works to strengthen hair against future damage while restoring your strands back to a healthy state. 

Next: Beauty Myth Busters: 4 Hair Loss Myths You Need to Stop Believing, Stat


Written by: Shalwah Evans, Photo: iStock

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