Getting seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is important for a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is the body’s time to regenerate, repair, and rebalance hormones. Most of us attach more importance to our work than sleep, and this can have negative effects in the long-term.
While occasional sleep interruptions do not create many issues, regular lack of sleep can put you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it even shortens your life expectancy.
Both mental abilities and physical health will be at risk without enough rest. Also, the risk of injury and accidents at home, work and on the road increases.
Certain causes of sleep deprivation include medical problems such as depression, obstructive sleep apnea, hormonal imbalances, and chronic illnesses.
Some of the common issues you could face due to sleep deprivation include:
Memory issues – It’s during sleep that important brain waves are produced, which play a crucial role in storing memories. Sleep deprivation can negatively impact both short and long-term memory, and even result in poor job performance and lack of concentration. Better sleep is also linked to your brain’s ability to learn and remember.
Weakened immunity system – Lack of sleep suppresses immune system function. Your body will get weakened and make you more prone to catching colds and the flu. The immune system that is designed to protect us from viruses and other ailments will not function properly without enough rest. The body may also limit producing more cytokines to fight infection, resulting in a person taking longer to recover from illness as well as having an increased risk of chronic illness.
High blood pressure – If you sleep less than five hours at night, your risk for high blood pressure increases. Quality sleep helps your blood to regulate stress hormones and enables the nervous system to remain healthy.
Diabetes and heart disease risk – Sleep deprivation also causes the release of insulin – a blood sugar-lowering hormone which leads to increased fat storage and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Sufficient rest helps the heart vessels to heal and rebuild, maintain blood pressure and sugar levels, and ensure inflammation control. Insufficient sleep increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Weight gain – Lack of sleep can affect your body weight as well. With sleep deprivation, two hormones in the body – leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness, are affected. Reports have proven that even 30 minutes of sleep loss could make you more likely to gain weight. Severe sleep-deprivation can increase the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases your appetite.
It can also result in mood fluctuation and poor balance, making you more prone to falls and other physical accidents.
Insomnia and Hair Loss
Sleep plays an important role in allowing the body to repair and regenerate, and promote hair growth. Insomnia may disrupt your physical and emotional health. The hair is very sensitive to changes in the body, and hair loss will occur with such changes.
While there are several pills, therapies and hair care products to reduce hair loss, it’s critical to identify the root cause of hair loss before any treatment and check whether healthy lifestyle changes would work. In many cases, one of the chief causes of hair loss is lack of sleep.
Hair growth can also be influenced by other factors such as trauma, stress and anxiety, family history, hormonal changes and use of certain medications.
If left untreated or unchecked, insomnia can result in a very serious disorder that can prove fatal. Your body gets weak without enough sleep and it fails to absorb nutrients to maintain health, resulting in a weakened immune system, loss of hair volume and sheen, diffused hair across the scalp and receding hairline.
It would be ideal to follow certain tips to sleep better such as
Sleep at a fixed time and wake up at the same time every day and make it a routine
Exercise daily and involve in physical activities such as gardening
Choose comfortable mattresses and pillows to sleep
Evaluate your bedroom and make sure there won’t be any noise or light that disturbs your sleep
Avoid sleeping in the afternoon if you can’t fall asleep at bedtime
Limit intake of caffeine and nicotine
Avoid alcohol before bed as it interferes with your sleep cycle
Reduce consumption of sugary foods and refined carbs
Don’t eat too late in the evening
Try not to drink any liquids before going to bed
Manage your stress with yoga or meditation
Stop using mobile phones on the bed as it may interrupt your sleep
Avoid using sleep medicines as they may have side effects
As part of healthy lifestyle changes, consider consuming food items that promote hair growth. Research reports have shown that it’s possible to thicken hair through dietary changes. Choose food that includes the right nutrients including vitamins A, C, D and E, zinc, B vitamins, iron, and biotin such as – eggs (rich source of protein and biotin, berries (vitamin C), spinach (foliate, iron, and vitamins A and C), carrots and sweet potatoes (beta-carotene), avocados (vitamin E), sweet peppers (vitamin C), walnuts (biotin, B vitamins) and oysters (Zinc).
Effective methods to enhance sleep include behavioural and cognitive treatments such as relaxation techniques, stimulation control and cognitive behavioural therapy and other treatments such as PUVA (psoralen and ultraviolet A) therapy, ultraviolet light therapy and contact immunotherapy. Supplements such as benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, and melatonin receptor antagonists are also recommended to improve sleep quality. Despite having caffeine content, it’s advisable to drink matcha tea before bed for a night of good sleep and it also packs many other nutritional benefits.
Finally, if nothing works, it would be best to consult a hair loss specialist. Before undergoing any treatment, consider researching about a possible treatment option that is clinically proven to produce promising results when treating a variety of hair loss conditions.