The thing about hair loss is that it always feels like an uphill battle. Things like brushing, shampooing, and even sleeping are all necessary actions, yet they seem to cause friction and trigger more shedding.
Instead of counting your losses (literally), making some lifestyle changes to your bedtime routine can make a huge difference. For starters, it can prevent hair damage to your hair (PSA: A lot of hair damage happens at night). And because your epithelial hair follicle stem cells are set into action while you sleep, the right care will significantly assist the process of your overall hair growth.
Opt for a silk or satin pillowcase.
We talk about silk pillowcases often, and for good reason. Compared to cotton, the smaller fibers of silk lessen the friction that happens from rubbing your scalp against the pillow (especially important if you're a tosser-and-turner). Not to mention, cotton pillowcases also absorb the moisture from your hair, making your strands more dry, frizzy, and prone to breakage.
Avoid sleeping with wet hair.
Although there's few things more satisfying than hitting the sheets freshly showered, keep in mind that your hair is at its most vulnerable state when wet. If you're a night showerer, make sure to dry your hair completely to prevent tugging and breakage while you sleep. We recommend allotting an extra hour or two to allow your hair to air-dry, as excessive heat isn't good for thinning hair either.
Use an overnight hair mask.
Hydrated strands in the morning means less breakage throughout the day. Overnight hair masks are the ideal way to give your hair much-needed nourishment and moisture. "It works the same way as putting a night serum on your face while you sleep," says Trey Gillen, hairstylist and Creative Director of Education at SACHAJUAN. "Overnight hair masks have many essential ingredients that improve hair elasticity, hair integrity, and help move down the outer surface layer of the hair for shinier and more manageable hair."
Apply a scalp treatment.
In addition to hair masks (which typically go on your strands), applying a treatment directly to your scalp can also be beneficial. "Scalp treatments are extremely helpful while sleeping," agrees Gillen. "They provide ingredients to stimulate healthy hair cell growth. SACHAJUAN Hair Control Treatment ($55; amazon.com) is a great way to strengthen weakened hair follicles." If you want to go the more natural route, try applying aloe vera or coconut oil.
Detangle your hair before bed.
Those with thinning hair may cringe at the idea of brushing it, but according to Gillen, detangling your hairs before bed will lessen hair loss in the long run. "Tangles can turn into dreadlocks while you sleep, making more come out when you inevitably have to brush come morning," he says. This process will also stimulate blood circulation (helping with growth while you sleep) and distribute natural oils from the scalp through the hair, making any friction to the strands during sleep less damaging.
Never tie your hair up or wear a night cap.
There are certain hairstyles that are damaging to your hair, tight ponies being one of them. However, the damage is increased twofold when they're worn to bed. While it may seem harmless, the tension from having your hair up for several hours can put strain on your scalp and lead to traction alopecia. If you absolutely must get the hair out of your face, try opting for a loose braid instead (secured with a soft scrunchie instead of an elastic) to minimize pressure and prevent tangles—it's also a great way to wake up with heatless waves the next morning.
And contrary to popular belief, Gillen recommends staying away from sleep caps (unless they're made of silk). "They can be too tight on the head and rub generally in one area, which can pull hair out from the roots and damage your hair follicle," he says. "It also goes against the idea that you want less friction while sleeping."