9 Ways To Protect Hair (Long or Short) While Sleeping (for Men and Women)

Sleeping.com Editorial Team

man with bed head hair waking up

To achieve great hair, you may think that you need to use expensive products and get specific styling. However, caring for your hair can be as simple as knowing how to protect hair while sleeping.

Basics of Hair Anatomy

Human hair consists of a biomaterial containing different types of protein, including keratin. Different components of hair were assessed to determine the sleep protocol described in this article. Each of these components may need different types of attention.

The outside of a strand of hair is the cuticle layer. This component is made up of dead cells that layer together to protect the inner layers called the cortex and the medulla.

The bulk of the length of your hair is the shaft. The end of your hair that connects to your scalp is known as the root, and it attaches to the scalp with a follicle.

Consider Different Aspects of Hair Care

There are different measures you should take to maintain the health of all the parts of your hair before you go to sleep. You can do some of these measures every day, while others should be done less frequently but regularly.

It is also a good idea to understand how diet and stress levels can affect hair health. If you notice a lack of growth in your hair, you may need more folic acid, protein, antioxidants, zinc, or iron in your diet. Stress can cause hair loss and breakage. So, it is a great idea to minimize stress if you are trying to encourage robust hair growth.

In addition, proper washing and styling are vital when it comes to overall hair care. It is important not to wash or style your hair too frequently. Doing either of these things in excess can lead to heat-damaged hair.

Another consideration when it comes to hair is the amount of moisture that your hair gets. Hair ends can be prone to dryness, and dry ends can cause the cuticle to weaken and break. As a result, you should take care to keep your locks moisturized.

Trim the ends of your hair regularly to avoid split ends and breakage. Once breakage happens, it is impossible to correct, and you will need to cut your hair. If you want to grow long, luxurious hair, it is vital to prevent and manage breakage.

You should also give your scalp plenty of love. Ensure that you properly clean your scalp when you wash your hair and that it is moisturized but not oily. Balanced hydration is the key to healthy hair.

Your Hair May Be Weakening While You Are Sleeping

All of those things can occur when you are awake. However, there are plenty of issues you should be considering when you are asleep to optimize your hair health. Many people are surprised to learn about the impact their sleep habits may have on their hair health.

Most people move around in their sleep, and their hair moves with them. As a result, your hair may drag across your pillow. This occurrence may seem like nothing. However, this action can leach moisture from your hair, exacerbate tangles, and weaken your hair.

Luckily, there are quite a few measures you can take to keep your hair as healthy as possible. Read on to learn how to protect hair while sleeping.

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Hair While Sleeping

1. Start With a Silk Pillowcase

Your cotton pillowcase may seem harmless. However, the rough material may damage your hair over time. Switching to a silk pillowcase can reduce friction and, therefore, damage. This difference is because silk fibers are smaller and more gentle than cotton ones.

A silk pillowcase will also help reduce frizz and tangles. As a bonus, silk can also be beneficial to your skin. It is good for both hair and skin because it improves hydration.

2. Only Sleep With Dry Hair

Before going to bed, make sure that your hair is completely dry. Wet hair is significantly weaker than dry hair. As a result, it is more prone to falling out and getting damaged when wet. Since wet hair can easily become tangled in your sleep, these tangles are more likely to result in breakage.

3. Sleep With Loose Hair

If you can, you should sleep with your hair down. Do this because having your hair up can pull at and damage your hair. Keeping your hair tightly tied can also increase the risk of tangles. Tight hair ties can wear out your hair and pull at your roots, which can cause traction alopecia.

4. Be Selective About Hair Ties

If you must sleep with your hair up, keep it contained with a loose scrunchie or something similar. Your hair will be even happier if that scrunchie is made of silk. Your hair will receive many of the same benefits from a silk scrunchie that it will receive from a silk pillowcase.

When it comes to other hair accessories, it is best to keep them to a minimum. Keep your hair free of any clips or bobby pins. Avoid metal hair accessories while you sleep, in particular.

5. Be Careful About Styles

When sleeping with your hair up, you must be considerate about the type of hairstyles that you choose. Avoid a high ponytail or a tight bun. Instead, aim for looser styles that do not put pressure on your scalp. For example, try braids or a loose bun.

If you are worried about a hair tie causing discomfort or a visible pattern in your hair, simply wear your hair on top of your head while you sleep.

In some cases, you may be trying to preserve a hairstyle so you can wear it the next day. During moments like that, it is vital to know how to sleep without messing up your hair. If this is the case, you should keep your hair in a scarf or bonnet.

6. Try a Hair Treatment

There are several treatments and overnight hair masks that you can use to moisturize and support the health of your hair. These treatments often include special oils that condition your hair. Apply the treatment to dry hair before going to bed, and rinse the treatment off in the morning.

Some of these treatments are ones that you can purchase at a store. Other treatments are ones that you can make at home. You can try olive oil, coconut oil, or castor oil with other ingredients. When selecting a treatment or mask, keep your hair type and hair goals in mind. Unless indicated otherwise, apply a hair mask or treatment when your hair is dry. 

Some treatments should be applied to all of your hair, while other ones only need to be applied to your ends. As an option, you can wrap your hair in a silk scarf after applying an overnight treatment for added benefit. 

7. Wrap Your Hair

If you do not have a silk pillowcase, you can wrap your hair in a silk scarf or bonnet. Wearing these items will reduce friction and humidity, which damage your hair. 

Taking this step will help to keep your hair contained and out of your face. Wearing this accessory is also a great call if you want to preserve freshly styled hair.

8. Brush To Avoid Exacerbating Tangles

It is a good idea to get in the habit of brushing your hair before you go to bed. You do not need to spend too much time doing this. Simply make sure that your hair is free of tangles before you turn in for the night.

The goal is to remove any tangles from your hair before bed. These tangles can get worse as you move in your sleep. As a result, your hair may become frizzy and damaged. The brush that you need will depend on your hair type. You can even just use a comb.

9. Consider Your Hair Type

When considering the best actions to take for the health of your hair while you sleep, you should take your hair type and length into account. For example, if you are wondering how to sleep with long hair, you may prefer to tie your hair up when you sleep.

Those with short hair should do their best to sleep without tying it up. If you have curly hair, you should be extra careful in terms of avoiding traction alopecia.

If you have black hair, you may want to wear a protective hairstyle at night. You should also wear a silk bonnet or scarf and ensure your hair is getting plenty of moisture.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been wanting to know how to protect hair while sleeping, the various ways above can make a difference. However, you do not need to make all of these changes right away, but you can easily try a few options to start. 

Over time, you should begin to see improvements in the health of your hair. So, when you go to bed tonight, try some of these tips and see your hair health improve very soon.

Latest Buying Guides