Sleep Deprivation and Hair Loss: Is There a Connection?

by sleep wellness

At this day and age of technology, data and statistics, we are used to quantifying our general health by numbers.

A BMI within the range of 18.5 and 24.9 indicates a healthy weight. A normal resting heart rate begins at 60 and ends at 100 beats a minute. Losing up to 100 hairs a day is only natural.

Getting 8 hours of sleep every night ensures that you will stay healthy and well-rested.

These numbers act as approximations, but they are still the most precise indicators of health problems – and because a human body is such a complex, interlaced structure.

Any number below or above the healthy range indicates an underlying problem.

woman scared hairloss brush

Some hair loss stats to get you thinking

Percentage of women affected by hair loss in their lifetime


Percentage of men with noticeable hair loss by the age of 35


Increase in the % of women seeking non-surgical help for hair loss (between 2004 and 2008)


Let’s talk about it…

young woman mirror checking hair

It is one thing to see some hairs left in your brush when you run it through your locks in the morning, but having them clog your shower drain every few days is an obvious problem.

If the amount of hair that you are losing clearly exceeds the designated one hundred, you might want to look at the number of hours that you dedicate to having a proper night‘s rest.

The latest scientific research suggests that the connection between these two elements is much stronger than we have prieviously thought it to be.

Our tireless body works while we’re asleep

While you are blissfully asleep in your bed, your body keeps on working and even doubles its efforts of maintaining your overall wellbeing. Tissues and muscles are being restored and repaired.

Growth hormone is being secreted. Oxygen and various nutrients are travelling to your hair follicles and promoting the health of your locks. The body takes its time to relax, refuel and regenerate – and if you are not sleeping enough, all of these vital processes fail to materialise. Hair loss is strongly connected to such frequent disturbances.

dog with sleep mask concept

Lack of sleep means that your body will not be able to defend itself against the stressors of daily life, and stress, in its turn, might cause hormonal imbalances that speed up hair loss, make your hair more prone to damage and stunt its growth.

Your immune system weakens and it is reflected in the dullness and dryness of your beloved locks. If sleeplessness persists, much more serious issues might occur, such as a receding hair line, bald patches and even exacerbated hereditary hair loss conditions.

Not getting enough shut-eye is thus a problem that should not be dismissed and getting to grips with your erratic sleeping patterns might be your first step towards healthier, shinier tresses.

Is the hair loss cause by lack of sleep reversible?

You might wonder whether, once the process of hair loss has started, it can really be reversed. The specialists at Belgravia Centre, a leading British hair loss clinic, firmly believe that it is indeed reversible, or at least can be successfully managed, in the great majority of cases.

If your scalp is plagued by a genetic hair loss condition, such as androgenic alopecia, it is usually further aggravated by sleeplessness and stress. Once you get your sleeping patterns under control, the hair loss will persist due to alopecia being a permanent ailment – however, the shedding might very well become slower.

hair on pillow after sleep

On the other hand, non-genetic hair loss can be cured completely by restoring normal sleep patterns and learning to manage daily stress.

Telogen effluvium is the name of a fairly common stress-induced condition that pushes the hair roots into a premature resting state and causes excessive shedding. It might take up to half a year for the sufferers of this ailment to notice full regrowth but the scalp does recover and it is certainly good news.

If you suspect that you might be suffering from any of the above conditions, making an appointment with a trustworthy hair specialist is a great idea. The specialist will be able to determine the exact cause of your hair loss and apply suitable treatment methods to help you regain those shiny locks. A lot of professional solutions revolve around a pharmaceutical product called minoxidil.

Clinical studies have proven that the medicine is capable of promoting hair growth and producing impressive final results. Keep in mind, however, that it tends to benefit female patients to a higher degree than men.

Alternative solutions you might want to try first

For those of you who are not ready to visit a hair specialist, cannot afford it or do not think that the issue at hand is quite that serious, there are a whole lot of natural remedies and DIY strategies out there that are well worth a try.

If the root cause of your hair loss is indeed lack of sleep, then finding ways to sleep more is, naturally, your first step towards healthy tresses. Giving yourself time to wind down before heading to bed is extremely important. Avoid working late, as your mind will struggle to relax after a period of increased activity.

You can always try supplementing your sleep regimen with mild OTC aid like Melatonin – bear in mind, however that, melatonin is not a long term solutions and there are risks involved with using it.

Melatonin, benefits, risks and dosages

The risks even extent to the possibility of taking too much Melatonin and overdosing – while it’s not as bad as it sounds since there is not official lethal dose of melatonin and the question of how much melatonin is too much is still open for discussion.

It is still a hormone and you don’t want to use too much of it – you can see our guide on melatonin overdose here.

Do not watch TV, use a laptop or scroll through your phone – the bright screen disturbs your natural sleeping patterns. Refraining from eating a large meal right before bedtime is also a good idea. Choose a light snack or a cup of warm milk instead.

Besides helping you with your sleep issues – Melatoning is also reported to have a direct impact on hair growth.

young woman mirror checking hair

Can kava kava help you kick your coffee habit?

Drinking caffeinated beverages, as well as smoking, is not recommended for people who struggle to fall asleep at night, so you might want to try and break those habits.

Instead of a mug of your favorite strong coffee, think about alternatives like kava kava.

This drink is similar to coffee and many people have reported good things when they replace a late night dose of coffee with a good Kava brand, be it a drink or a supplement.

It’s just a question of choosing the best kava kava extracts and supplements.

kava kava extract

Hair loss, sleep and stress

Finally, reduce the levels of your daily stress as much as possible. There are a lot of easy and incredibly effective ways to do that: namely, taking up yoga, jogging or any other kind of exercise, utilizing special breathing techniques, adjusting your work schedule in a way that allows you to feel less rushed during the day, and much more.

The key is not being afraid to experiment and give new strategies of dealing with stress a try – as long as you do that, you are sure to find something that works for you.

So is there a connection between hair loss and lack of sleep? The newest scientific discoveries surely uphold the hypothesis. It might seem worrying at first, as the recommended eight hours of sleep are rarely compatible with our modern lifestyle, but you might be surprised to find out just how much of a difference a proper night‘s rest can have on your well-being – and the state of your locks.

After all, sleeping your way to shiny hair is not at all a bad deal and it is good to know that the cure for your hair loss might also be an immensely pleasurable experience!

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  • Bob Ozment

    Bob has been testing and writing about all things sleep (and especially blankets, air mattresses and folding beds), for 8+ years now. before that, he worked as a Quality Assurance Manager with one of the bigger names in the sleep industry. He holds a masters degree Statistics, Actuarial & Data Sciences from the central Michigan University at Mount Pleasant. He's one of the people who designs our producing testing and statistical models. He’s a stomach sleeper, but nobody’s perfect.