Is It Bad To Sleep With Wet Hair?

Written by Anjali Sayee

A warm shower at the end of a super tiring day feels relaxing. And right after we have washed away the day’s tiredness, we cannot wait to hit the bed. But wait! What about drying the hair? Can you sleep with wet hair?

We cannot deny that most of us often skip that part. Blame it on a super-busy workday or a long commute, there are times when you feel lazy to pick up that blow dryer and do not mind the discomfort of those cold and wet tresses damping your pillowcases. Whether you know it or not, sleeping with wet hair comes with multiple risks. Read on to find out why you should stop doing it.

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.

  • 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.

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.

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.

The Takeaway

Sleeping with wet hair may cut a few corners, but it is best to avoid it to keep your hair healthy. Other than the risk of infection and breakage, sleeping with wet hair can increase tangles, and you will end up spending more time styling your hair. If you cannot avoid it occasionally, follow the tricks mentioned in the article to minimize the damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does sleeping with wet hair cause headaches?

Yes, if you are prone to headaches when exposed to cold and damp conditions. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove it happens.

Can sleeping with wet hair cause a cold?

No. Cold is caused by viruses.


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. Check out our editorial policy for further details.

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