How to Prevent Bed Head: 19 Ways to Protect Your Hair While Sleeping

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Closeup of morning bed head

If you’ve ever woken up in the morning and seen a mess of frizzy, fly-away locks staring back at you during your morning mirror check, you know all about the woes of bed head. 

Though it’s been a popular phrase for as long as there have been bad hair days, bed head is an actual condition. It has to do with excess friction between your hair and the surface on which it rests while you sleep. 

Here, we’ll break down the different causes of the dreaded “bed head,” how to prevent bed head, and tips on how to protect your hair while sleeping. We’ll also discuss the following:

So let’s get started learning how to prevent bed head!

What Causes Bed Head?

Before we jump into the tips on protecting your hair, let’s first look at what causes bed head. Several factors can contribute to waking up with a head full of wild, unruly hair. Here are some of the leading causes:

Excess Friction

As we briefly mentioned before, one of the biggest causes of bed head is excess friction between your hair and the surface on which it rests. 

For example, when your hair rubs against a surface like a pillowcase, it can cause the cuticle—the outermost layer of your hair—to lift. This makes your hair more susceptible to damage, frizz, and fly-aways.

Dryness

If your hair is dry, it’s more likely to be brittle and break. Also, when you sleep, your hair is exposed to the air, which can further dry it out. And as we all know, dry hair is more prone to frizz and breakage.

Oily Scalp

If you have an oily scalp, it can transfer that oil to your hair, making it greasy. Additionally, an oily scalp can cause your hair to stick to surfaces like your pillowcase, leading to friction and bed head.

Products You Use Before Bed

Another common cause of bed head is the products you use before bed. For example, if you regularly apply products to your hair before bed—such as mousses, gels, or oils—they can build up on your scalp and hair, leading to bed head.

Heated Styling Tools

Using heated styling tools before bed, such as curling irons or straighteners, can damage your hair and make it more prone to breakage.

While these are some of the leading causes of bed head, there are plenty of steps you can take to protect your hair while sleeping. Let’s look at some of the top tips and tricks for dealing with bed head.

How to Prevent Bed Head For Short or Long Hair

Whether you have long or short hair, you can try a few simple tactics to prevent bed head and protect your hair while sleeping.

Use the Right Pillowcase

One of the most important things is to make sure you’re using the right pillowcase. A silk pillowcase is your best bet, as it’s smooth and gentle on your hair.

In addition, silk pillowcases are less likely to absorb moisture from your hair, which can help to keep it hydrated and to look superb.

If you’re not a fan of silk pillowcases, you can also try using a satin pillowcase or a microfiber towel. Whatever material you choose, make sure it’s smooth and gentle on your hair.

Neck Pillow

Especially if you’re a short-haired gal, you can also try using a neck pillow. Since your head isn’t resting directly on the pillow, this can help to prevent bed head. And as a bonus, it can also help to prevent wrinkles!

Wrap It Up

You can also try wrapping your hair in a silk scarf or cloth before going to sleep.

This is an excellent option, as it helps to keep your hair off of your pillow and prevent friction between your hair and the surface. You can use a hair wrap or scarf, depending on your preference.

Invest in Quality Hair Products

Aside from choosing the right pillowcase and avoiding tight hairstyles, you also need to use quality hair products.

Investing in a good shampoo, conditioner, and heat protectant can help keep your hair looking amazing and prevent damage from bed head.

Short hair and long hair both require specific hair products. When choosing products, look for ones that are suited for your hair length. These products will help hydrate and protect your hair, keeping it looking great.

Try an Overnight Hair Mask

In addition to using quality hair products, you can also try a simple overnight hair mask. An overnight hair mask has many benefits, including:

  • Prevents dryness
  • Moisturizes and hydrates your hair
  • Reduces frizz and tangles

There are many different overnight hair mask recipes you can try. Some of the most popular include olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado.

How to Prevent Bed Head with Curly Hair

If you have curly hair, you know that the struggle against bed head is real. Curly hair is more prone to tangles and frizz, making it more challenging to manage in the morning.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent bed head and keep your curly hair looking amazing.

Twists

One of the best things you can do for your curly hair is to twist it before bed. Twisting will help prevent tangles and keep your hair looking smooth and sleek in the morning.

To do this, take small sections of your hair and twist them before bed. Then, in the morning, untwist your hair and shake it out. You should find that your hair is much easier to manage and style.

Silk or Satin Bonnet

Another tactic you can try is wrapping your hair in a silk or satin bonnet before bed. This will help prevent your hair from getting tangled and frizzy as you sleep.

Dry Your Hair before Bed

If you have time, try to dry your hair before bed. Drying your hair will help prevent your hair from absorbing moisture from the air, leading to frizz.

If you can’t dry your hair before bed, try using a diffuser on your hairdryer. This will help eliminate excess moisture and lock in your hair’s natural texture.

Try a Pineapple Bun 

Consider trying a pineapple bun if you’re constantly battling frizz and tangles in the morning. A pineapple bun helps keep your hair out of your face, helps prevent tangles, and keeps your hair looking smooth.

To do this:

  • Start by twisting your hair into a high ponytail.
  • Cross the ends over and wrap them around each other to form a bun shape.
  • Secure with a hair tie, and you’re good to go!

You can then leave the ends loose or tuck them up into the bun for extra smoothing.

Use Dry Shampoo before Bed

If you don’t have time to wash your hair before bed, try using dry shampoo. This will help absorb excess oils and prevent your hair from looking greasy in the morning.

Apply the dry shampoo to your roots and massage it in well. Dry shampoo will help eliminate any build-up and keep your hair looking terrific.

How to Prevent Bed Head: Tips for Guys

As a guy, you can take some simple steps to prevent bed head and protect your hair while sleeping.

Men’s Sleeping Caps

Men’s sleeping caps are a great way to protect your hair while you sleep. They are designed to fit snugly on your head and prevent your hair from moving around.

This can help prevent tangles and keep your hair looking great in the morning.

Comb It Out before Bed

Another simple tip is to comb your hair before bed. This will help to prevent bed head and keep your hair looking its best.

Just make sure to use a wide-toothed comb and be gentle, so you don’t damage your hair.

Tie Your Hair Back

If you have long hair, try tying it back before bed. Tying your hair will help prevent it from getting tangled and damaged as you sleep.

You can use a hair tie, headband, or even a silk scarf to keep your hair in place.

Wear a Hat

Another option is to wear a hat to bed. A hat will help keep your hair from moving around and getting tangled.

Choose a hat made from a breathable material like cotton so that your head doesn’t get too hot.

Wash Your Hair in the Morning

If you’re short on time, try washing your hair in the morning. Doing so will help eliminate any oils or product build-up that can lead to bed head.

Use a quality shampoo and conditioner to help hydrate your hair and maintain its natural texture.

Get a Haircut

Finally, if you find that your hair gets tangled easily, consider getting a haircut. A haircut will help remove any damaged or dry ends and prevent further damage in the future.

How to Sleep without Messing up Your Hair: Tips for Guys

If you’re a guy and you are wondering how to sleep without messing up your hair, there are some simple steps you can take to protect and care for your hair while sleeping.

Sleep on Your Back

Sleeping on your back is one of the best ways to protect your hair. This sleeping position will help keep your hair from getting tangled or pulled as you move around in your sleep.

Wash Your Hair with Cool Water

Wash your hair with cool water when showering at night to give yourself extra protection from bed head. Warm water opens up the cuticle of each strand of hair, making it more porous and vulnerable to damage from tossing and turning in your sleep. On the other hand, cool water closes the cuticle, making it less likely that your hair will become tangled or frizzy.

Use a Humidifier

If you live in a dry climate, consider using a humidifier in your bedroom. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, which can help to keep your hair from becoming dry and brittle.

This can also help to prevent split ends and reduce frizziness.

Best Way to Wear Hair to Bed to Prevent Breakage

The best way to wear your hair to bed to prevent breakage is to put it up in a loose bun or braid. Sleeping with your hair down can lead to tangles and breakage, especially if you have long hair.

A loose bun or braid will help keep your strands from getting tangled during the night and help prevent damage from friction.

If you have short hair, sleeping with a satin scarf or pillowcase can help reduce breakage and keep your locks looking smooth and healthy.

So next time you’re getting ready for bed, take a few minutes to style your hair first – your locks will thank you in the morning!

How to Prevent Bed Head – Final Thoughts

Bed head is a common problem that many people struggle with, whether they have long, short or curly hair. However, there are a few simple things you can do to prevent bed head.

Try combing your hair before bed, tying your hair back before bed, or using a hat or headband to protect your hair while sleeping. Additionally, investing in silk beddings or using a humidifier can also help to reduce bed head. 

Finally, if your hair is particularly prone to tangles and breakage, you may also want to consider getting a haircut. By following these tips, you can help to keep your hair looking smooth and healthy.

For more tips on preventing bed head, be sure to consult a hair care professional. If you found this article helpful, share it with your friends and family today! 

Also, visit our website for more information on the best hair care products for bed head prevention. 

Nate Devore
Nate Devore
For over 15 years Nate has been obsessed with solving his own personal and difficult health challenges related to sleep, energy, and fatigue. As one of our sleep experts at sleeping.com, Nate is passionate about helping you get the best night’s sleep possible.

Medical Disclaimer: The content on this page should not be taken as medical advice or used as a recommendation for any specific treatment. Always consult your doctor before making any decisions.

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