This Is How Bad It Is to Sleep with Wet Hair

It's time to reconsider hopping into bed with soaking wet hair

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At the end of a long day, it’s all too easy to take a hot shower, throw on some pajamas, brush your teeth, and then jump into bed. But have you ever stopped to think about the risks of sleeping with wet hair? As it turns out, going to bed with wet hair isn’t as harmless as you probably thought. Check out 12 more common hair mistakes.

What happens when you sleep on wet hair

The first negative result of sleeping with wet hair is purely cosmetic: You can’t predict how your wet hair is going to look in the morning. “If you try to style your hair in the morning after sleeping on it wet, you’re probably going to have trouble styling the resulting frizziness, funny waves, flat sides, and crinkles,” says Olga Gilbert, a hairstylist at J. Russell Salon in Palm Desert, California.

“When you wake up to unruly bedhead, you’re probably going to have to re-wet it again to properly dry it and regain control. This unnecessarily adds time to your morning routine,” she says.

Gilbert says that sleeping with wet hair does not immediately damage your hair follicles or shaft, but it can certainly lead to hair breakage, because hair is weakest when wet, making it more pliable and easy to break. “If you pull your wet hair up into a tight ponytail or bun, you have a much greater chance of breaking it during the night,” Gilbert says.

What to do if you sleep with wet hair

If you absolutely must sleep with wet hair because, say, you have to wake up early for work, there are a few easy ways to minimize the damage. First, swap your cotton sheets for a set of silk ones, like these. Silk has a much smoother surface, making it easier on your hair; with a silk pillowcase, you won’t experience as much breakage. Skipping on the silk is one of the 7 nighttime habits that could ruin your hair.

Next, make sure to sleep with your hair down or in a loose braid, instead of up in a tight bun or ponytail. In addition, swap your tight, elastic bands with a clip or softer scrunchy that isn’t going to roughly pull at night. Now that you know not to sleep with wet hair, check out these home remedies for dry, damaged hair.

Sources
Medically reviewed by Michael Spertus, MD, on April 15, 2020

Aubrey Almanza
Aubrey Almanza is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University and King's College London. Her writing has appeared in Prevention, SHAPE, and Reader's Digest, among others. She specializes in data-driven content on topics of wellness, beauty, culture, art, and fashion.