Is Sleeping With Wet Hair Bad for You?


Wet hair, don't care? More like wet hair, beware! 

Sleeping with damp locks can seriously damage your hair. Bedhead isn't simply an inconvenience. Frizz, flyaways, and "crazy hair" are the telltale signs of hair damage. We know hopping from the shower straight to your warm bed is tempting but consider the following reasons why sleep and wet hair don't mix. 

Why Wet Hair Weighs Down Your Style

Handling with care is a mantra many hair gurus have learned to apply to wet hair. Shower fresh locks are fragile and prone to breakage. That means it's important to look after your hair when it's wet. Special caution should be taken when brushing, styling, and even when sleeping. No hair type is immune to the science of frizz! However, fine, delicate hair types should be especially careful and avoid sleeping with wet hair to minimize hair loss and breakage.

Water proteins form weakened hydrogen bonds when the hair is wet as opposed to the stronger protein-to-protein bonds found in dry hair.  This leaves hair prone to damage which can look like frizz, shedding, and dullness. In addition, water strips away the hair's natural moisture as it dries, leaving the hair stiff and brittle. Nurturing natural elasticity is the goal when caring for wet hair.

Let's take a closer look at the effects of sleep with wet hair.

Friction and Frizz

Wet hair should be treated with care.  Of course, this can be challenging to do when you're asleep. Tossing and turning increases tension on your locks. This can lead to hair loss and frizz. If you've ever woken up to strands of hair on your pillowcase, you understand the toll sleep can take on your hair. Even worse, wet hair adheres to its shape more quickly than dry. That means your wild bedhead will easily stick around until morning, complete with frizz and flyaways. 

Sleeping with wet hair pulls on weak spots, causing tangles and other hair woes. Simply put, sleep and hair are a stressful combination.

Hydrate Overnight

If you sleep on a cotton pillowcase, chances are your wet hair is being stripped of its moisture every night. Rough, porous surfaces absorb moisture. Pillowcases and even sheets are among the worst culprits. Beauty blogger Eva weighs in, stating, "since the hair shaft's protective layer is fluffed up, this allows moisture and nutrients to escape. Dehydrated and depleted hair loses the shine and vitality that healthy hair needs to thrive.

Get your glow back by minimizing number of nights you go to sleep with wet hair.

Chills, Headaches, and Migraines - Oh My!

Falling asleep with a chill is never a good idea. Even on warm summer nights, the temperature can shift drastically and adding a chill can lower your immune system. Think of it as going to bed with wet socks. According to healthcare professionals, "Cold temperatures also cause blood vessels to constrict. When this happens, your respiratory tract gets fewer white blood cells that it needs to ward off respiratory infections like influenza and bacterial pneumonia."

Going to sleep with wet hair can also cause you to wake up with a headache -- or worse, a migraine. This phenomenon is essentially a type of "brain freeze." Imagine eating ice cream too quickly and feeling the blood vessels in your brain contract. Now imagine keeping that same pressure on your head all night! Cold exposure can cause cranial, neck, and even shoulder pain. This is often enough to trigger a headache or jumpstart a migraine -- ouch!


Bacteria, Dandruff, and Other Woes

Bacteria thrive in a warm, damp environment, much like your pillow and scalp when you go to sleep with wet hair. This provides the ideal environment for bacterial growth which can in turn lead to build-up, inflammation, and redness. If you've been waking up with an itchy scalp, your nightly hair care routine might just be the culprit. 

Fungi can cause conditions like dermatitis and dandruff, which can lead to a lot of discomfort and seriously ruin your hair day. Unfortunately, changing your sheets and pillowcases every day won't help when water is involved. To combat bacterial and fungal infections, the optimal treatment is to stop these issues at the source. That means providing a healthy, dry environment for your hair and scalp.

Breakage and Hair Loss

Did you know that going to bed with wet hair can accelerate hair loss, thinning, and breakage? Wet hair is twice as likely to break, fray, and split. All hair types suffer from the weight of water and product residue contributing to breakage. However, fine, delicate hair should be especially careful when it comes to going to sleep with wet hair. Fuller, curly hair types also need to be mindful. A poor nightly hair care routine can ruin natural hair growth if you're trying to grow and stretch your curls. You might also find that your curls look a bit "shrunk" in the morning and aren't enjoying their full, radiant volume. You might also see lots of shedding and hair on the pillowcase, comb, or bathroom floor. Taking a break from sleeping with wet hair can dramatically decrease hair loss and lead to longer, healthier locks.

In addition, drying before to sleep lessens dullness and restores your hair's natural luminosity and shine. That's the kind of beauty rest we love to see as healthy hair fanatics!

How to Minimize Damage From Sleeping With Wet Hair

Now that we've discussed why sleeping with wet hair is a big nope for the healthy hair community, we need to acknowledge one very simple truth; life gets busy. Sometimes we're running back from work and setting our alarm for the next morning, all while hopping in the shower for a quick refresh. We understand there may be times when falling asleep with wet hair happens. Rather than aiming for perfection, we've put together a short list of healthy hair tips that can minimize the strain wet hair places on your style. 

Change Your Bedding

Static-resistant bedding that is quick drying and non-absorbent will help seal moisture into your ends. Try silk pillowcases to reduce friction and breakage or make a habit of wrapping your hair before bed in a bonnet or scarf. Even a satin scrunchie is a great option for pulling your hair into a loose, messy bun before bed! A waterproof pillowcase is also a great idea if you're someone who frequently sleeps with wet hair. This will prevent bacterial growth and keep you dry and chill-free.

Dry Your Hair Using a Microfiber Towel or T-Shirt

Avoid rough bath towels and dry your hair with a soft tee or microfiber towel to prevent tangles.


Add a generous dollop of leave-in conditioner to your hair before bed. This will ensure your hair is still absorbing hydration and nutrients, even while you're asleep.

Lock-In Shine 

In addition to a deep conditioning treatment, consider adding natural hair oil such as jojoba or coconut before bed. This will maintain shine, color, and radiance overnight. Opt for lightweight oils for fine hair such as rose and heavier oils like coconut for curls and waves. Start at the ends and work your way towards the roots when applying the product.

Never Go to Bed With Wet Hair Extensions

If you have faux locks, sleeping with wet hair is an absolute no. This will cause extensions to tangle and mat, often becoming unsalvageable over time. Change up your wash day routine and try showering earlier in the evening to ensure your extensions are dry by the time you're ready to sleep.

Change Your Drying Routine, Not Your Bedtime Routine

We often go to bed with wet hair to save time during our nightly shower routine. However, rather than saving time by compromising your hair's health and beauty, make a change to your daily hair care routine instead. Drying your hair does not need to be a time-consuming undertaking. Making the switch to a reverse air hair dryer saves you time in your routine and gently stretches, dries, and cares for your hair without the use of high heat. The innovative RevAir design dries hair 3x faster than a traditional hair dryer so you can go to bed feeling light, styled, and refreshed when you wake up.

Your healthy hair should feel as well rested as you each morning. That means taking extra care of your lovely locks and prioritizing hair health during your nightly beauty routine. Avoid going to sleep with wet hair whenever possible and keep your hair glowing with the right products and gentle styling tools to thrive and dazzle. 

Reach out to our team for more healthy hair inspiration and check out how to revive end-of-summer hair. Happy styling!