Is It Bad To Sleep With Wet Hair? 4 Right Ways To Sleep Safely

Protect your hair while you catch Z's with the best bedtime habits and haircare regime.

Reviewed by Tere Pruett, CT, PBT Tere Pruett Tere PruettCT, PBT facebook_icon
Written by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech Experience: 7 years
Edited by , BA, MSc Eshna Das BA, MSc Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Monomita Chakraborty MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Experience: 4 years

Night-time showers after a tiring day can help you feel better and relax, but you may also feel like not blowdrying your hair and hitting the bed with wet locks. How preferable is it to sleep with wet hair? Does it cause harm?

The answer is, yes! Sleeping with wet hair can hurt your hair as it poses several risks. It may result in hair breakage and increase the risk of developing fungal infections on the scalp. This article discusses why you should never sleep with wet hair and certain safety precautions to follow. Scroll down for more information.

Why You Should Never Sleep With Wet Hair

Sleeping with wet hair may cause:

  • Hair Breakage

The hair is at its weakest state while wet and is more prone to damage. When the hair is wet, the cuticles open up, exposing the inner parts of the hair shaft. At this point, the hair is weak and may get damaged easily if not handled properly.

Moreover, damaged, dry, frizzy, low-porosity, and heat and color-treated hair is already weak and may end up getting more damaged when wet.

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Wet hair is more susceptible to environmental pollutants that lead to the accumulation of dirt and other impurities on the scalp. This, in turn, can clog pores and cause further hair issues.
  • Fungal Infection

Fungus loves warm and damp environments, and sleeping with wet hair may increase your risk of scalp infections. The warm and damp conditions may promote Malassezia’s growth, a yeast-like fungus that causes dandruff and dermatitis.

Moreover, the pillowcases and pillows may expose your scalp to fungi like Aspergillus fumigatus (1). This may cause scalp infections that affect the hair follicles and may weaken them, causing hair fall.

  • Sleep Issues

Sleeping with wet hair can lead to sleep issues as it impacts your body’s ability to regulate temperature. When you sleep with damp hair, moisture on your scalp and hair can lower your body temperature. This might cause discomfort or a chill and disrupt your sleep cycle as your body attempts to regulate its temperature while you sleep. The dampness can create a breeding ground for bacteria or fungi, which may cause irritation, itching, or other problems with the scalp and make it harder for you to get a good night’s sleep. It may also be simply difficult to relax and fall asleep if your scalp feels cold.

There might be circumstances when you do not get the chance to dry your hair before hitting the bed, or you may not have access to a blow dryer. In situations where you cannot avoid sleeping with wet hair, it is best to take preventive measures to avoid any damage. Here are a few things you can do.

How To Sleep More Safely With Wet Hair

1. Apply Coconut Oil

Studies show that applying coconut oil for pre-wash and post-wash grooming reduces protein loss. It penetrates the hair shaft easily and reduces water sorption (2). This helps prevent hair damage and breakage.

Note: Avoid coconut oil if you have seborrheic eczema, as it may worsen the condition.

2. Condition Your Hair

Conditioning your hair helps seal the hair cuticles. A good conditioner also minimizes friction and detangling. If you have bleached or chemically treated hair, a hydrating conditioner can reduce further damage and breakage.

3. Partial Drying And Detangling

If you do not have the option to dry your hair thoroughly, try to partially dry it (up to 70% or 80%) before hitting the bed. You can use a hair dryer ( if available) or shower earlier than usual to give your hair ample time to air dry.

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Use a microfiber towel to gently squeeze out excess water from your hair before sleeping. Avoid rubbing your tresses vigorously, as wet hair is more prone to breakage.

Less water in your hair will minimize the damage. Also, detangle your hair before bed to avoid extra stress on your hair.

4. Use Silk Pillowcases

Silk pillowcases minimize friction and prevent hair breakage. Moreover, unlike cotton pillowcases, silk pillowcases do not absorb hair moisture and may reduce the risk of infections, frizz, and breakage. However, there is no evidence to support this fact.

Sleeping with wet hair may not sound dangerous, but it can seriously affect your hair health. When you sleep with wet hair, your hair strands become more prone to breakage and fungal infections. It also leaves your hair tangled, requiring more maintenance. However, if you have to sleep with your hair wet or damp, apply coconut oil to reduce any protein loss. But if you have seborrheic dermatitis, steer clear of coconut oil. You can also condition your hair to keep it healthy and easy to detangle. Try to dry your hair at least 70% before you hit the bed. Never go to bed with your hair wet and knotted or tied up on the head. It may cause additional breakage and pull.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sleeping with wet hair bad for your brain?

No. Sleeping with wet hair has no connection to brain function. On the contrary, it may affect your scalp health as the dampness may lead to fungal infection, and you also risk catching a cold.

Key Takeaways

  • Sleeping with wet hair may cause hair loss and raise the risk of fungal infections.
  • It can also cause tangles, and you will have to spend considerable time styling your hair.
  • Apply coconut oil, condition your hair, attempt to partially dry it, or use silk pillowcases to sleep with wet hair.

There are surprising reasons why sleeping with wet hair might not be the best idea. Watch the video below to see the potential pitfalls and learn how this seemingly innocent habit could impact the health and appearance of your locks. Click play now!


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Fungal contamination of bedding
  2. Hair Cosmetics: An Overview
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