Is Sleep Essential for Hair Growth? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

We learn a whole new meaning to "beauty sleep."

We’ve all heard that a good night’s rest is important, but why exactly is getting a full 8 hours, more or less, good for you? Sleep—or, more precisely, the lack of it—can affect your physiological and psychological health. If you’re not sleeping well, you may notice that your hair doesn’t appear glossy or bouncy. And while the connection between sleep and hair care is often debated, there have been studies that explore whether lack of sleep affects hair growth. We’re here to give you the ultimate guide on sleep and hair.

This article was created in partnership with Nutrafol, a company in which Unilever is an investor.

Can a lack of sleep affect your hair?

There’s been substantial research on hair loss as it relates to sleep, and some studies have indicated that stress-related sleep deprivation can cause a host of physical problems, one of which includes hair loss. How? Well, sleep contributes to many positive outcomes: from boosting the immune system to lowering blood pressure to weight loss, and yes, it can even help make your hair grow.

How is sleep important for hair growth? Well, epithelial hair follicle stem cells go to work when you sleep, and several good nights of rest can help ensure this process happens seamlessly. Conversely, lack of sleep stops those stem cells from doing their job, and the result could be an impairment in this growth.

sleep and hair loss lack of sleep
Sleep contributes to many positive outcomes: from boosting the immune system to lowering blood pressure to weight loss, and it can even help make your hair grow.

What about too much sleep?

While there have been many studies on oversleeping or hypersomnia, as of today, there aren’t any indications that oversleeping promotes hair loss. Your body produces melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle and has also been shown to increase hair growth. If your sleep cycle is out of whack,  it could be due to a decrease in melatonin levels in your body. That decrease could result in hair loss.

While there isn’t, pardon the pun, an overnight cure for hair loss that might be incurred by either of the above stress-related sleep issues, harnessing the power of 2018 Allure magazine Breakthrough Award’s Nutrafol Women supplements could help return your hair back to its previous glory. Nutrafol for Women was formulated for women’s bodies and you can boost its effects with a Nutrafol personalized Growthplan, which may recommend targeted boosters like the Nutrafol Stress Adaptogen. They’re formulated to multi-target root causes of compromised hair growth and promote whole-body wellness.

Nutrafol, which has a variety of supplements and boosters formulated to bring hair back to its optimal health, also has a helpful quiz to determine which of the five common factors—hormones, stress, metabolism, gut health or toxins—could be affecting your hair growth.

In a clinical study, 80% of women who used Nutrafol Women supplements saw significant hair growth and thickness.

Nutrafol for Women
In a clinical study, 80% of women who used Nutrafol Women supplements saw significant hair growth and thickness.

Does your sleeping position impact hair growth?

There isn’t a sleeping position that promotes or prevents hair loss. Unfortunately, there isn’t a sleeping position for hair growth, either. If you’re a side-sleeper, stomach-sleeper or prefer to sleep on your back, you can literally rest assured in the position you like best.

Easy ways to wear your hair in bed

There are a few ways to protect your hair while you sleep. No matter what length your hair is, using a silk pillowcase can keep your hair healthy and reduce friction at bedtime. It can keep curls looking their best and cut down on frizz, breakage, and damage, as well as help prevent knots.

If silk pillowcases aren’t your thing, you might want to try using a satin or silk headscarf to protect your hair. Simply knot a scarf over your hair at bedtime, ensuring it won’t slip during the night.

While sleeping with your hair down isn’t linked to hair loss, it still can be annoying. There are several hairstyles for every type of hair that you can wear to sleep; not only will they keep strands off your neck and face, but these sleep styles can translate into an even cuter second-day style to wear the next day. Here are a few easy ways to wear your hair in bed:

Short Hair

If you have short, natural hair, try dividing your hair into four sections to create Bantu knots. Use coated bobby pins and place them in your hair to keep locks secure at night. Use a soft, stretchy headband to keep your hairline tamed while you get those zzz’s.

Mid-Length Hair

∙ If you have natural hair, divide your hair into two sections and create a chunky French braid. The next morning, undo the braid and you’ll have lots of waves. Speaking of waves, this trick to get the beachy look is easy. Simply divide your hair into two sections and create pigtails. Twist the pigtails and pin them up. Let loose upon waking.

∙ Bun it. Take your hair and wrap it around itself at the base of your neck. While hair is in a bun, use a scrunchie to keep it in place overnight.

Long Hair

∙ A messy top knot helps keep your hair off your face and neck.
∙ A French braid keeps everything tidy while you sleep. Shake out your new head of waves when you undo the braid in the morning.
∙ Divide your hair into two sections and pin two low buns at the base of your neck. When you unpin your hair, you’ll have loose waves.

Nutrafol Women
Having a routine can help encourage regular sleep.

What to do if you’re suffering from hair loss?

If you are suffering from hair loss, make an appointment with a dermatologist to find out what’s going on with your follicles. You can also take this helpful Nutrafol quiz to figure out which of the five most common factors of hair loss, whether hormones, stress, metabolism, gut health or toxins, could be, pun intended, at the root of your problems.

If it’s been determined that stress-induced sleep issues appear to be the culprit of your shedding, there are things that you can do to get your sleep cycle back on track.

∙ Cut down on caffeine at least three to four hours before bedtime.
∙ Move the TV out of the bedroom. The fewer distractions you have, the easier it will be to fall asleep. The same goes for any handheld devices—the blue light our cell phone screens emit can interfere with falling asleep.
∙ Replace your curtains with blackout drapes to block out all outdoor light.
∙ Try going to bed at the same time every night. Having a routine can help encourage regular sleep.
∙ Try to meditate once a day; meditation can aid in relaxation and help reduce stress.
∙ Try a white noise machine. If you have an Amazon device, ask Alexa to play “Sleep Sounds.” The soothing noises can help lull you into dreamland.

If you’ve been eating too much fast food, you might also want to change your diet. Fill your refrigerator with protein-rich staples like turkey to add to your meals. Turkey is a lean meat that contains a lot of protein and tryptophan. The latter is a healthy amino acid that can help make you sleepy. Make sure to review your vitamins and supplements; some may or may not alleviate the effects of stress on your body and hair. A supplement like Nutrafol’s Stress Adaptogen, when used with a personalized Growthplan, can reduce the effects of stress on your hair and your body.

Nutrafol has a variety of supplements and boosters that have been formulated to bring your hair back to its optimal health. Take the Nutrafol quiz to learn if stress is an area of focus on your for you to support healthier hair growth.

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