Photo courtesy of Nia the Light
Curlies, we all know sleep is important.
If you don't get enough shut eye, you wake up feeling groggy and cranky without enough energy to get through the day. But did you know lack of sleep can also impact your hair? While the connection between sleep and health is nothing new, the matter of how sleep affects hair health is still being studied for new insights. So are there real benefits of sleep for natural hair growth?
Well, for starters, the healthier you are overall, the healthier your hair will be, and the healthier your hair is, the more it'll grow! This cycle is nothing new since our health affects literally every aspect of our physical well-being, especially matters of appearance such as skin, nails, and hair. There's more to this than the idea of sleep just generally being good for you. Let's talk blood!
The key to hair growth is circulation.
The better blood flow you have underneath your scalp, the easier it is for hair to grow. When you lack enough sleep, the body goes into a hyperdrive mode where it shifts the focus to more necessary functions. For instance, when you aren't rested, the brain is the first area compromised. Cognitive function decreases without enough sleep and the body may focus on that matter before any others, so the normal blood flow delivered to the scalp may be decreased, and hair growth will be put on the back burner to compensate for other areas the body deems more essential such as keeping you upright during meetings, and remembering what your name is.
No judgement, we've all been there.
Another one of the main benefits of sleep for natural hair growth is related to stress. When you get enough rest, your stress levels are lower. When your stress levels are lower, hair is more likely to grow. The science of sleep has long seen the relationship between lack of sleep and stress; in fact, a study published in Sleep Medicine Review states that, "Epidemiological studies suggest that sleep complaints and sleep restriction may be important risk factors for a variety of diseases that are often linked to stress, including cardiovascular diseases and mood disorders." The connection between lack of sleep and stress, as well as stress-related health concerns, is a clear one. Lack of sleep leads to stress, and stress leads to inhibited hair growth.
One study published in The American Journal of Pathology reports, "Data suggest that neurohormones, neuropeptides, and neurotransmitters may significantly influence cyclic activity of the hair follicle further supporting the hypothesis that hair follicles represent an important target for stressors." This means that when you get stressed out, your hair has a harder time growing!
Sleep is a necessity for everyone, and hey, curls are people too. Get your bonnet out, and grab those Z's!