Sleep does a body good. It’s an indispensable part of a healthy life that we nonetheless take for granted. Sleep may not cause male pattern baldness, the most common form of hair loss, but it can contribute to you losing your locks in other ways.
Does stress cause hair loss? You bet it does! Do you lose a lot of bets? That stress can also cause hair loss! Telogen effluvium is when you experience something so stressful that it throws your hair into a state of stasis; trichotillomania is when you pull your hair out because of stress; and alopecia areata is when your own immune system attacks your hair for reasons that even scientists don’t yet understand! Not getting enough sleep makes all these conditions worse!
To begin with, not getting enough sleep releases the stress hormone cortisone. On top of that, you need sleep for your body’s natural repair and regulation processes, which means that you’re not letting yourself recover from the stress you’ve already had. And then there’s the toll that lack of sleep takes on you mind and body, which is stressful in and of itself. The caffeine to power through? More stress! And the fear of not getting enough sleep? Stress!
Add up all that stress and it’s not surprising that lack of sleep can cause stress induced hair loss. But then there’s also the ways in which lack of sleep may potentially disrupt the process of hair growth itself. The American Journal of Pathology explored the connections between stress and the hair follicle. Their study suggested that the cycle of hair growth would be disrupted because the adult stem cells responsible for the hair growth process depend on the internal circadian clock to activate. If this is true, then it’s as if your hair doesn’t know what to do because you’re not getting enough sleep. Your hair’s as foggy as your brain on four hours of sleep a night.
Lastly, Teen Vogue warned its readers of the 7 ways not sleeping affects your health and appearance. Teen Vogue highlighted that, just practically speaking if you’re chronically sleep deprived there’s a good chance you’re neglecting your hair in general. More particularly, however, Teen Vogue focused on a study that suggested that not getting enough sleep kicks your body’s oil production into overdrive, which has the effect of leaving your hair, “flatter, less lustrous, less bouncy.” Harsh!
Not getting enough sleep may adversely affect your hair, but it’s not going to cause androgenetic alopecia. If you’re wondering, “What is androgenetic alopecia?” it’s male and female pattern baldness. Over 50 million men and 30 million women experience hair loss because they have a genetic predisposition that leads to hair loss when DHT is produced in the scalp. DHT is dihydrotestosterone. It’s what you get when testosterone is exposed to the enzyme Type II 5-alpha reductase. One of the easiest ways to tell if you’re at risk for androgenetic alopecia is by counting the number of people in your family that have experienced baldness.
If you’re losing sleep because you’ve got two grandparents, three uncles, and four cousins who’ve lost their hair, there’s an option for you to get some more shuteye. It’s called scalp micropigmentation. That’s when you get hair pigmentation that makes it look like you just got a short buzz cut at the barbershop. How does it look? Like a dream come true! See for yourself and rest easy!