Finding it challenging to "Spring forward"? Don't worry, my friend, you're not alone! The great news is that our upcoming March blog post will give us both the green light to indulge in some extra Z's! It turns out that beauty rest isn't only crucial for your skin and overall well-being—it can also significantly impact the quality of your curls. In today's post, we'll explore why sleep is essential, discover the best sleeping methods to promote curl health, and provide some fantastic workarounds for those times when you didn't quite catch enough shut-eye.
But, why tho?
When it comes to the importance of sleep, if you were to ask random people on the street, most would agree, but their explanations may vary. Surprisingly, there are three theories that attempt to explain why sleep is crucial.
The Energy Conservation Theory suggests that sleep is necessary to conserve energy. By spending part of our time functioning at a lower metabolism during sleep, we can reduce our caloric needs.
The Brain Plasticity Theory contends that sleep is essential for brain function. During sleep, our neurons, or nerve cells, have the opportunity to reorganize. The brain's glymphatic system, responsible for waste clearance, clears out toxins and waste from the central nervous system during sleep. This process allows the brain to function optimally upon waking up.
The Restoration Theory proposes that sleep is vital for the body's restoration. According to this theory, sleep provides an opportunity for cells to repair and regrow, facilitating overall bodily restoration. This is supported by many important processes that happen during sleep, including:
- muscle repair
- protein synthesis
- tissue growth
- hormone release
This is actually the theory that we're going to focus on today.
The Restoration Theory
As the Restoration Theory alludes, when you sleep, your body literally repairs and regenerates itself. This means that if you're getting enough sleep, your body is better equipped to nourish and support your hair body, including your hair follicles, leading to stronger, healthier hair over time.
The Restoration Theory also highlights the importance of hormone release during sleep. When we experience stress, our bodies produce cortisol, a hormone that can contribute to hair loss and thinning. Sufficient sleep provides an opportunity for cortisol levels to decrease, reducing stress and preventing potential damage to our bodies, including our hair. Additionally, melatonin, another hormone released during sleep, plays a role in regulating our body's natural circadian rhythms. When our bodies are in sync with these rhythms, it supports healthy hair growth. Conversely, inadequate sleep may hinder the proper repair of hair damage, resulting in lackluster curls.
So now that you know why sleep is so important, what's the best way to care for your curls during the night? We've covered this topic from Root-to-Tip in the blog post, The Night Time is the Right Time, but here are a few highlights:
- Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase. These fabrics are gentler on your hair than cotton, which can cause friction and damage. This is especially important if you're a back or side sleeper, as you may be putting unnecessary pressure on your curls, which can lead to breakage and frizz. Sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase can help reduce this friction, allowing your curls to maintain their shape and bounce.
- Avoid sleeping with wet hair. Wet hair is more fragile and prone to breakage, so it's best to let it dry completely before hitting the hay.
Can't catch any Z's?
So, all of this sounds great, right? But what can be done when you're cramming for that test, awakened constantly by your newborn or just can't seem to get some rest? Here a few tips on how to keep your hair and body in tip-top shape even when you're not consistently sleeping well:
- Fiber-Rich Foods: Consuming an adequate amount of fiber can improve the quality of our sleep, helping to compensate for a restless night. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes into your diet as they are rich sources of healthy fiber.
- Increase Protein Intake: Eggs are an excellent choice for boosting energy levels on sleepy days. They are high in protein, which provides a satisfying and filling effect. Eggs also contain vitamin B12, which supports energy metabolism and optimal cell function. Protein-rich foods are particularly important when you lack sufficient sleep.
- Got Milk: Including dairy products, soybeans, sardines, and leafy greens in your meals can offer an energy boost. These foods are not only high in protein to keep you fueled but also rich in calcium. Insufficient calcium intake can hinder quality sleep, potentially due to calcium's role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
- Pump Iron: Inadequate iron levels can lead to fatigue and long-term anemia. Iron is essential for delivering oxygen throughout the body. Including iron-rich foods such as spinach, kale, red meat, and clams in your diet can help combat general fatigue and ensure sufficient energy levels.
- Take a Supplement: If maintaining a well-balanced diet is challenging, consider incorporating dietary supplements to fill in nutritional gaps.
- Stay Hydrated: When sleep-deprived, water should be your primary beverage of choice. While coffee or tea might seem tempting, research suggests otherwise. Dehydration can result in unpleasant effects like overeating, moodiness, and headaches, which can be even more draining when sleep is lacking. Staying hydrated not only boosts short-term energy but also supports brain, skin, and heart health. Carry a water bottle with you for easy access throughout the day.
- Sneak in a Nap: Don't hesitate to take a quick power nap if you feel sleepy during the day and have the opportunity. A short nap can provide an extra burst of energy to help you get through the day.
- Low/Protective Styles: Opt for low-maintenance hairstyles when your sleep consistency is compromised. These styles not only save time during your morning routine but also reduce physical stress on your hair. Since lack of sleep weakens our hair, prioritizing low-stress hairstyles is essential until sleep consistency improves.
In conclusion, sleep may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to hair health, but it's definitely a factor worth considering. So go ahead and hit snooze - your hair will thank you for it!