The underlying cause of different types of hair loss can either be straightforward (bad luck in the genes department) or complex, as is often the case when a person’s lifestyle has played a part.
Stress is often where the trail leads in cases of increased shedding but stress-related hair loss may be prevented in the first place if its triggers are better understood and avoided. As well as the emotional aspect of ‘feeling stressed‘, other issues which can cause strain to bodily functions include dietary imbalances, smoking and – believe it or not – regularly not getting enough sleep.
Poor sleep is in itself a form a stress, with the additional issue of the body not getting enough ‘repair time’. This can set off biological reactions which may have negative outcomes for hair health, ranging from dull, dry hair that is prone to breakage, to thinning hair. With this in mind, an article with tips for getting a good night’s sleep on the science website Futurism makes for some interesting reading.
Eat and sleep better?
The first expert its writer quotes is Professor Richard Wiseman from the UK’s University of Hertfordshire, who thinks we might be able to eat our way to a better night’s sleep. “Research shows that you can easily increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep by eating a small portion (under 200 calories) of food that is rich in carbohydrates,” he says.
Next, the writer proposes a Wake-Up Light, developed by Philips, which effectively exposes the body to the rhythms of the sun setting and rising. Philips’ research found that participants in a study reported easier rising, plus better mood, productivity, and quality of social interactions. These types of devices have been around for many years and are available in various formats. The Lumie Bodyclock Starter works on the same premise and the manufacturers state that it can also be beneficial for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – another common reason people may suffer a lack of sleep.
Ambient sound, such as white noise from an app, can also be beneficial to light-sleepers, notes the article, as it can stop people waking up at the sound of creaks and other minor noises. A white noise app developed by TMSoft is singled out as a good example for people who want to try this approach, although there are lots of others available.
The Clinical Sleep Research Unit at Loughborough University, meanwhile, proposes a special blend of scents to help put people to sleep. They helped in the creation of a device called the Sensorwake Oria, a £61 olfactory alarm clock which Futurism says can help people fall asleep thanks to a mix of powdered rose, peach, pear, talc and musk.
Finally, better sleep may also be in the offering if you shell out for… a heavy blanket. The article quotes the Journal for Sleep Medicine and Disorders, which states that: “A weighted blanket may aid in reducing insomnia through altered tactile inputs, thus may provide an innovative, non-pharmacological approach and complementary tool to improve sleep quality.”
The article recommends a Kickstarter-funded option named the Gravity Blanket: it’s available in 10, 20 and 25lb options, but it does cost around £200.
Stress-related hair loss
The hair loss condition most commonly encountered due to this type of slow-building persistent stress, is something called Telogen Effluvium. This is a temporary condition which tends to affect more women than men, mainly due to a number of hormonal issues being among the many triggers.
Although the hair fall may feel as if it has come on suddenly, it tends to take three months from the onset of Telogen Effluvium for it to become noticeable and should last no longer than six months. It causes significant hair thinning from all over the scalp and can result in a 50 – 70 per cent drop in hair density, though some people may experience less shedding and barely notice that they have been affected. Should the hair loss become more pronounced and take longer than six months to clear up, it is likely to be Diffuse Thinning, also known as Chronic Telogen Effluvium.
Though both forms of hair loss are temporary and should clear up on their own, appropriately tailored courses of Telogen Effluvium treatment can often help to accelerate the regrowth process. While Telogen Effluvium can be disconcerting, it is easily dealt with either by waiting it out or by seeking the help of a specialist hair loss clinic.
One of the benefits of consulting a professional is that they can check for additional hair loss issues. Telogen Effluvium is known to be able to speed up the onset of androgenetic alopecia – often referred to as male pattern baldness for men and, for women, female pattern hair loss – in people with an underlying genetic predisposition. For those already showing signs of hereditary hair loss, the rate of shedding may be accelerated as a result. It is also possible to experience both Telogen Effluvium or Chronic Telogen Effluvium simultaneously alongside pattern hair loss.
Though the genetic hair loss conditions are permanent, they can generally be successfully managed. At Belgravia our specialists use an approach that involves pairing clinically-proven medications and hair growth boosters to form bespoke hair loss treatment courses tailored to the client’s individual needs. Furthermore, lifestyle habits – including any deficiencies that may need looking at, from vitamins and minerals to sleep – will also be discussed to help achieve the best possible outcome.
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.