Lack of sleep is one of the biggest scourges of modern life, with the London Sleep Centre saying that around 30 to 40 per cent of adults suffer with insomnia every year. Now a new report has linked poor sleep to a number of medical conditions which could lead to hair loss.
Researchers at Yonsei University in South Korea have discovered that people who get less than six hours of sleep each night may be increasing their chances of shortening their life due to serious illnesses.
Dr Jang Young Kim, who co-authored a report on his team’s findings, said that poor sleep can lead to a condition called metabolic syndrome which in turn can increase the odds of being diagnosed with diabetes and heart disease, and suffering a stroke. A 2014 study also discovered that metabolic syndrome was more common in men with male pattern hair loss, although the links were unclear.
Hair loss due to stress
Lack of sleep is already known to be a cause of hair loss because it leads to stress which can inhibit hair growth. But the new evidence suggests that on top of this, the risk of hair falling out as a result of sleep-related issues increases now that diabetes and other medical conditions have been added to the mix.
Diabetes, for example, can lead to the hair loss conditions Telogen Effluvium or Chronic Telogen Effluvium. Heart disease, according to six historic studies, is also linked to hair loss. Furthermore, it has been claimed that heart disease medications such as statins may lead to hair loss.
We have reported many times before that an holistic approach to health through diet, work, play and rest can do wonders for the body, and may be nature’s best defence against everything from serious disease to hair loss to a host of minor ailments.
“If people are having persistent trouble sleeping they should consult their GP for help in identifying and dealing with any underlying causes. Thinning hair, a generalised shedding from all over the scalp as opposed to just the top of the head which indicates genetic hair loss, may come first and can be an indicator of potential health problems,” advises Leonora Doclis, a senior hair loss specialist at Belgravia’s flagship clinic in Central London. Adding: “We are well placed to help with treating thinning hair and can work in conjunction with a client’s GP while they help them to deal with the core trigger”.
Whilst treatment for Telogen Effluvium and Chronic Telogen Effluvium often produces significant regrowth results, obviously the most appealing option is to try avoiding their onset in the first place.
Medications can play a part
In cases where it is the actual medications prescribed for illnesses resulting from lack of sleep that lead to hair loss, this is usually not likely to be a problem in the long-term. “Once the body becomes used to the medication and is no longer having to divert energy towards fighting the illness,” explains Leonora. “When this happens the hair loss should stabilise, generally in around three to four months’ time, although it may sometimes take 12 months or more.”
The health effects of not getting enough sleep are not to be underestimated. The South Korean study found that of the 2,600 adults they studied for two years, those who didn’t get at least six hours sleep per night increased their chances of developing metabolic syndrome by 41 per cent.
For those who are having trouble sleeping and notice their hair is starting to thin, the best course of action is to seek professional help as soon as possible. The reason quick action is advised is because although the shedding generally caused by this type of stress is due to a fairly temporary condition, it can also spark off or exacerbate male or female pattern hair loss in those with an hereditary predisposition.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.