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Insomnia and Hair Loss: Causes and Solutions

Insomnia and Hair Loss

Quality sleep has multiple benefits. It is essential for better brain function, memory, physical performance, immunity, heart health, and for the good functioning of almost every organ.

Sleep is the key to good health. Without sleep, our bodies are unable to attain adequate rest.

Lack of sleep greatly disturbs the immune system, causes fatigue, increases stress, and puts your overall health on a negative balance.

Lack of sleep can directly affect hair growth. In addition, insomnia can also be caused by certain hormones such as excessive thyroid hormone which can also lead to hair fall.

According to recent research, alopecia areata, an auto-immune condition that leads to progressive hair loss, is associated with depression, anxiety, and poor quality of sleep. [Ref]

One way or the other, insomnia and hair loss are often seen side by side. So, let’s find the connection between the two conditions and the possible solutions.


How Insomnia Impacts Hair Health?

Insomnia is when you cannot sleep for three or more nights per week for 3 months or more.

This puts your body in a never-ending cycle of fatigue, stress, anxiety, and restlessness.

Currently, no scientific evidence has directly linked insomnia to hair loss. It is rather indirectly linked as both share the common factor: stress.

Your body needs physical recovery in the form of sleep, and if you don’t get it, this ultimately leads to increased stress and fatigue.

Stress is a key factor in hormonal imbalance and can lead to increased or decreased secretion of hormones, which leads to weak hair follicles and, ultimately, hair loss.

Even disturbed sleep patterns might result in the weakening of hair follicles. According to research, impaired sleep is known to be a triggering factor for various auto-immune disorders like alopecia areata. [Ref]

Moreover, the hair follicles follow a programmed cycle, including active growth, formation, and resting phases.

Because of the lack of sleep and stress, the hair growth cycle is disturbed, leading to excess hair loss.


stress insomnia and hair loss

How to Prevent Hair Loss from Insomnia?

If lack of sleep is causing excessive hair loss, you can fix it by getting an adequate amount of sleep daily.

However, it is not easy for people with insomnia, so here are some tips to help you get better sleep and prevent hair loss.

  • Create a relaxing bedtime environment and make sure the room is dark, quiet, and peaceful.
  • Avoid caffeine or alcohol before bedtime because they might interfere with your sleep.
  • Try meditation, exercise, or deep breathing to induce sleep.
  • Try eating certain foods that improve serotonin levels in the body, such as foods high in tryptophan, an amino acid known to improve sleep quality. These include:
    • Bananas,
    • Plums,
    • Kiwi,
    • Pumpkin,
    • Walnuts, and
    • Leafy greens.
  • If nothing works, go for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help with insomnia.
  • Your doctor might suggest certain medications to improve your sleep. These include:

Apart from this, if your sleep cycle is greatly disturbed, you can try some hair-strengthening supplements or a biotin-rich diet to negate the bad impact of poor sleep on your health.

Furthermore, stress remains the key factor that needs to be addressed to tackle both insomnia and hair loss.


Medical Conditions That Cause Insomnia and Hair Loss:

Certain medical conditions can cause insomnia. You should get yourself tested for the following medical conditions, especially if you have stopped caffeine, are following a healthy routine, and don’t have depression or anxiety:

  • Thyroid Disorder:

    • Hyperthyroidism can cause insomnia and hair loss. Get your TFTs (Thyroid Function Tests) done.
  • Cortisol hormone disorders:

    • High levels of cortisol levels as in Cushing’s syndrome can cause insomnia as well as hair loss.
    • Similarly, low levels of cortisol as in Addison’s disease can lead to hair loss as well as insomnia
  • Stress hormones:

    • The fight, fright, and flight hormones include adrenaline and nor-adrenaline can cause insomnia and hair loss.
    • Pheochromocytoma is a medical condition caused by a high adrenergic state. It manifests as episodic hypertension, insomnia, palpitations, and hair loss.
    • Your doctor may advise plasma metanephrines and 24-hour urinary VMA (vinyl mandelic acid) to diagnose pheochromocytoma.
  • Other medical conditions:

    • Other medical conditions that can cause insomnia may include:
      • Chronic pain disorders including arthritis, fibromyalgia, and metabolic bone diseases
      • Cardiovascular diseases which can lead to shortness of breath while lying down impairing sleep quality
      • GERD is a common cause of poor sleep quality.
      • Neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and restless legs syndrome.
      • Medications include corticosteroids, stimulant drugs including drugs to treat ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactive disorder) such as amphetamine and Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), and decongestant drugs like pseudoephedrine.

Can Better Sleep Cause Hair to Regrow?

Once your sleep schedule gets better, it might help stop further hair falls. But it certainly won’t regrow your hair that has been lost.

For this, hair supplements, a better diet, avoiding stressful conditions, and staying away from heat damage might result in better hair growth, but that too for temporary hair loss conditions like alopecia areata.

Medications, other than vitamins, which may help hair regrow include:

  • Finasteride (Antiandrogens) in men with androgenic alopecia.
  • Topical Minoxidil spray (Rogaine)
  • Spironolactone

Opzelura cream (Ruxolitinib) has been studied in patients with total hair loss with limited efficacy and hence not recommended [Ref]

Additionally, for permanent hair loss, you can go for a hair transplant to regrow your hair.

Here are my own pics before and after hair transplant:

before and after hair transplant
Before and after a hair transplant

Does Insomnia Always Cause Hair Loss?

Insomnia or lack of sleep might not always cause hair loss. It can affect your hair in other ways, like significantly reduced hair density.

For instance, some people with better sleeping patterns might still experience hair loss due to increased stress or psychological conditions.

So, there are numerous causes of hair loss, and sleep deprivation is only one side of the big picture. Other causes include medications, genetics, poor diet, and use of bad hair care products.

Other Potential Causes of Hair Loss

Insomnia can be an indirect cause, but some other factors that are directly related to hair loss include:

  • Stress:

Stress is the most common cause of hair loss. It can lead to telogen effluvium (a condition in which your hair remains in the resting phase), Trichotillomania (a psychiatric disorder of pulling out your own hair), and Alopecia areata.

  • Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal balance, particularly fluctuation in cortisol levels, can also cause hair loss. Increased cortisol levels cause an increase in hair fall. Moreover, this hormone is directly linked to sleep.

  • Insufficient Protein Consumption

If your diet lacks protein, you are more likely to experience hair loss. This is because your hair primarily needs protein to grow.

  • Weak Immunity

Another reason for hair loss is weakened immunity. If you have weak immunity, you are prone to scalp infections like seborrheic dermatitis, folliculitis, and auto-immune conditions like scleroderma. These conditions can cause undesired hair loss.

  • Nutritional Deficiency

Your hair growth gets disturbed if you are deficient in certain vitamins like biotin or minerals such as iron.

Selenium plays a role in thyroid functioning, so its deficiency can cause hormonal imbalance, ultimately leading to hair loss.



In conclusion, there are many factors to consider when looking at insomnia or lack of sleep as a cause of hair loss. No current research directly links insomnia to hair loss.

Nonetheless, insomnia, stress, and hair loss are greatly linked. Once these two factors are involved, they lead to further steps towards poor hair growth and excessive hair loss.

Lastly, it is important to identify the root cause; otherwise, no magic hair growth products would work. So, if you are experiencing hair loss, try to get a sound sleep, avoid stress, and add more protein to your daily diet.


What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

Here is a link to My Facebook Page. You can also contact me by email at or at My Twitter Account
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