As dark nights take over our evenings, the thought of crawling into bed for an early night becomes more and more appealing. Sometimes in our fast-paced modern lives, one element which is often overlooked is the real impact that our quality of sleep has on our overall well-being.
Sleep is not merely a luxury or simply a time to rest; it is a key foundation for our health. When we are asleep, our bodies undergo a variety of processes that help our bodies physically restore, consolidate our memories and even balance out our hormones. If we become sleep-deprived, one of the first signs is we might find ourselves struggling to focus on a task or even maintain attention. If this lack of sleep continues, it can cause issues such as weakened immune systems, mood disorders, and even an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, just to name a few.
So how much sleep are we supposed to get a night? Well, for adults it is recommended that we should get 7-9hrs per night. When expanding this over a lifetime, it works out that we spend a third of our lives in the land of nod – how dreamy. During our shut-eye periods, our incredible little bodies take us through a range of different stages, known as the sleep cycle. Each one of these stages in the sleep cycle plays an important role in our body’s day-to-day functioning. In one night, we might actually go through 4 to 6 sleep cycles, and on average each cycle lasts about 90 minutes. And even then, sleep cycles will vary from person to person, and from night to night.
One little thing before we get to explaining the different stages of a normal sleep cycle. During our sleep cycle, there are two distinct sleep types, non-REM and REM. Firstly, REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement Sleep, which is characterised by increased brain activity, vivid dreams and temporary paralysis of voluntary muscles. While non-REM sleep is marked by slower brain waves and is linked with physical restoration and minimal dreaming. You got it? Right, let’s jump into that sleep cycle…
STAGE 1 (non-REM): This lasts around 1-7 minutes. It’s when our body isn’t quite fully relaxed and you are easy to wake in this stage, but our brain/body activities have started to slow down.
STAGE 2 (non-REM): This lasts 10-25 minutes. Now our body has entered an even more relaxed state, whilst our breathing and heart rate have slowed right down. Fun fact: People typically spend half their sleep in stage 2.
STAGE 3 (non-REM): This lasts 20-40 minutes, and we are now officially in deep sleep. It’s harder to wake someone up if they are in this phase. This stage is super important for restorative sleep.
STAGE 4 (REM): This lasts 10-60 minutes. Our increased brain activity here is nearing levels seen when you are awake (!) Yet, our body experiences atonia which is temporary paralysis of the muscles (yikes!) Two exceptions though are our eyes (hence its name) and the muscles that control breathing *phew*. You only enter REM when you have been asleep for about 90 mins, and it makes up around 25% of sleep in adults.
Now, what on earth has all of this got to do with our hair, you might be asking? There’s that age-old saying about getting our beauty sleep, to ensure the next day we are looking and feeling refreshed. But is there any real science behind this saying? Research has shown, that just like eating a healthy diet, exercising and drinking plenty of water is good for hair health, so is the quality of sleep we have each night.
Not catching enough Zs can take a toll on the appearance and strength of our locks. When you're not getting enough sleep, it throws your body into stress mode, and that means a surge in cortisol, which is THE stress hormone. And guess what? Cortisol prompts the production of more sebaceous oil, including at the roots of your hair, leading to a greasy nightmare *eurghhh*. Similar to our skin, our hair needs its downtime (i.e. sleep) for rejuvenation too.
Stress and a lack of shut eye have a direct connection to hair growth. When stress kicks in, your hair follicles go through degranulation (basically when our cells release stored substances in response to a signal, in this case, stress), which doesn't bode well for our hair! This is where sleep steps in as the ultimate hero – remember not all heroes wear capes. It's during those restful hours that your body gets a chance to restore and regulate stress, playing a vital role in preventing stress-induced hair loss.
Nevertheless, it is slightly more complicated than simply, lack of sleep causes hair loss. The main link is the fact that a lack of proper sleep causes us to feel stressed, and one of the top causes of hair loss is stress. So really, hair loss is more related to stress rather than sleep deprivation itself. If you are suffering from hair issues for any reason, GLOWWA Hair Food supplements are a natural way to support hair health and promote hair growth. Made with natural ingredients like Biotin, L-Lysine, and Folic Acid, GLOWWA Hair Food supplements nourish hair from the inside out. Containing only clean ingredients they're also free of artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives. By following these steps and incorporating GLOWWA supplements into your routine, you can support healthy hair growth and address hair loss. Results can often be noticed as little as 12 weeks, with optimum results being achieved from consistent ongoing use. Hair Food can be used all year round to support and maintain your healthy hair growth journey.
Maybe you are sitting reading this, thinking this is all well and good, but I can’t fathom how to get any shut eye atm! Well, you are not alone with 6 in 10 people stating their sleep suffers when they are stressed. While 4 in 10 of us are not getting enough and 1 in 5 sleep badly most nights. For those of you who are struggling to sleep, our team of GLOWWA experts are here for you.
Here are 5 top tips from our GLOWWA team, which aid us in having a few more Zs on a night…
Create a sleep schedule which is consistent: Try to make sure you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night and stick to this routine even on weekends.
Make sure the place you are sleeping is sleep appropriate: Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool. Also, make sure you have comfortable bedding which makes you feel relaxed.
Try not to look at screens before bed: Reduce your exposure to blue light by avoiding your phone, laptop and the TV a few hours before trying to go to sleep. This type of light can interfere with the production of your sleeping-inducing hormone, known as melatonin.
Get your body moving in the daytime: Make sure you get regular physical activity into your day. Exercise will promote better sleep by enhancing your overall sleep quality and reduce the time it takes for you to fall asleep.
Before bed avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine: All these things can disrupt sleep patterns and hinder the ability to fall asleep, so best give them a miss if you’re looking for a good night’s rest.
There we have it, sleep isn't just a beauty rest cliche; it's a vital part of the whole health package. Consistently missing out on quality sleep isn't just a snooze issue – it's a stress bomb waiting to explode! Sleeping is our body’s time to recover, and when it becomes disrupted, it triggers biological reactions that can turn our hair into a brittle mess.
The bottom line? Please pay attention to your sleep. And make sure you're catching enough Zs, your hair is really counting on it for its shine and strength. A good night's sleep is more than just beauty sleep – it's your hair's best friend.