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Last Updated on March 29, 2024

Is It Bad to Sleep with Wet Hair – Let's Find Out!

a profile image of TSA author Andjela

Written By Anđela Rajković

Certified Sleep Consultant

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Is it bad to sleep with wet hair? It's a question that has plagued many a late-night shower taker, and the answer may surprise you.

Welcome to the age-old debate: is it bad to sleep with wet hair? Many of us have been guilty of it at some point in our lives, whether we were running late or just too tired to blow dry. But what are the consequences of hitting the hay with damp locks?

In this article, we'll dive into the science behind why sleeping with wet hair is a no-no, and explore some alternatives for those nights when you simply can't avoid it. We'll also share some tips for how to properly care for your hair when it's wet, and what you can do to minimize the damage caused by sleeping on wet hair.

Reasons why you should never sleep with wet hair

Okay – we can't just say ‘hey', don't sleep with your hair wet!' and be done with it. We have to give you some legitimate reasons to back up our claim. So, here they are:

Hair damage

Oh boy, sleeping with wet hair can be a recipe for disaster! Not only can it make your pillows and sheets wet, but it can also cause some serious hair damage.

Wet hair is more vulnerable to breakage and hair loss, especially if you toss and turn throughout the night.

Plus, if you already have dandruff or a dry scalp, sleeping with wet hair can make it worse.

And let's not forget about the dreaded tangled hair! Waking up with a bird's nest on your head is no fun, and it can be a real pain to brush out all those knots.

Acne and other skin problems

Sleeping with wet hair is a no-no for more reasons than just hair breakage and overall damage!

For example – did you know that it can also cause some serious skin problems, like acne?

When your hair is wet, it's more likely to transfer bacteria and oil to your pillow and then to your face. And we all know what that means – clogged pores, breakouts, and maybe even some unwanted visitors on your face (ew!).

Not only that, but wet hair can also create an environment for fungal infections and bacterial growth, which can lead to scalp irritation and other skin issues.

a young Asian woman holding her hair

Scalp infections

Another thing that can come from sleeping with wet hair is a condition called scalp infection!

Like previously stated – when your hair is wet, it's more prone to damage and breakage, which can create openings in the hair cuticle where harmful bacteria and fungi can enter. And once those little guys set up camp on your scalp, you're in for a world of trouble. Think irritated, inflamed, and itchy scalp, and maybe even some funky smells to go along with it.

So, do yourself a favour and avoid hitting the hay with wet hair. Give those strands a chance to dry off and protect your scalp from potential infections. Trust us, it's worth the extra effort!

Weakened immune system

Most importantly, hitting the sack with wet or even damp hair can seriously weaken your immune system.

Wet hair is a damp environment that's perfect for bacteria and viruses to thrive in. And if you're sleeping in a cold room or under chilly conditions, your body's natural defences can be compromised, making it easier for those pesky germs to take hold.

Plus, we all know that the common cold loves to make an appearance when we least expect it, so why give it a helping hand by sleeping with wet hair? Keep yourself warm and dry, and you'll be much more likely to fight off those icky bugs.

Bad hair day tomorrow

Going to bed with wet hair is like asking for a hair catastrophe to crash your party tomorrow.

We are talking frizz that could rival a lion's mane, tangles that'll make you wish for a superhero's comb, and an overall wildness that screams ‘hot mess'! Trust us, we've been there, and it ain't pretty.

So, before you doze off, be a hair superhero and give those strands some love. Grab that blow-dryer, my friend, and save yourself from the impending doom of a bad hair day!”

What you should do instead

Ah, we've all been there – it's late, you're exhausted, and the last thing you want to do is dry your hair before hitting the bed.

So what should you do instead? Well, it's all about establishing a bedtime routine that prioritizes dry hair! First things first, make sure to detangle your hair with a wide-toothed comb or brush to avoid any snarls or knots. Then, use a microfiber towel or old t-shirt to gently squeeze out any excess water. And finally, let your hair dry naturally or use a hair dryer on a low heat setting to finish the job.

a woman holding a hair dryer

If you're short on time or just can't wait for your hair to air dry, try using a diffuser attachment on your hair dryer to avoid any excess heat damage (in other words – use a blow dryer to give yourself a good hair day tomorrow!).

And remember, when it comes to hair health, it's better to avoid sleeping with wet hair altogether! So grab a good book, enjoy some relaxation time, and let your hair dry completely before hitting the hay. Your hair (and your future self) will thank you for it!

How to sleep with wet hair

If you just HAVE TO sleep with wet hair tonight – don't worry, it's not the end of the world. You, and your hair, will survive. But, to minimize damage to your hair, scalp, and skin and to prevent those weakened immune systems and health problems we talked about, there are some things you simply must do.

A silk pillowcase is a must

Using a silk pillowcase is the ultimate hair hack! Not only does it feel luxurious and silky smooth against your skin, but it can also work wonders for your hair health even when your hair is wet.

Why, you ask?

Well, for starters, silk is a super gentle material that can help reduce friction against your hair shaft. This means fewer tangles and knots, which is always a win in our book! And if you've ever woken up with a damp pillow after sleeping with wet hair (yikes!), you'll be pleased to know that silk can actually help regulate your body temperature and wick away moisture. No more soggy pillows or damp hair for you!

And, as a bonus, silk pillowcases are just plain stylish and trendy, don't you think? They come in all sorts of fun colours and patterns, and they're a great way to add a touch of luxury to your bedding.

Wear a hair cap

Wearing a hair cap to bed can be a total game-changer if you're someone who likes to sleep with wet hair. Think of it as a little superhero cape for your locks – it protects them from all the nighttime villains that can wreak havoc on your hair health!

First and foremost, a hair cap can help prevent your damp hair from rubbing against your pillowcase and creating that dreaded frizz and tangles. No more waking up with hair that looks like a bird's nest!

Plus, if you're someone who struggles with hair breakage or split ends, a hair cap can be a lifesaver. It keeps your hair contained and protected while you snooze, which can help reduce damage and promote healthier, stronger hair over time.

Add some oil to your hair

Wet hair can be a recipe for disaster if left to its own devices, but with the help of some hair cosmetics, you can wake up with hair that's soft, smooth, and healthy. If you have chemically treated hair or long hair, this is especially important – wet hair is more prone to breakage and damage, so giving it a little extra TLC is key.

One of the best things you can do is use a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to help prevent breakage and keep your hair hydrated.

Coconut oil is a classic choice that's great for all hair types, while argan oil is a little more lightweight and perfect for finer hair. Just apply a small amount to your hair and scalp before bed, focusing on the ends where your hair is the most fragile.

Not only will this help prevent breakage, but it can also help nourish and strengthen your hair over time. Plus, the act of massaging the oil or conditioner into your scalp can be a relaxing and enjoyable part of your bedtime routine.

a woman washing her hair


In conclusion, sleeping with wet hair can be a total nightmare for your hair health. From hair damage to scalp infections and bad bed hair days, the risks are real.

So, it's always best to make sure your hair is dry before hitting the hay.

But, we get it – sometimes life gets in the way, and drying your hair just isn't a priority. That's why we've given you some fun and creative tips to make the most of your wet hair situation. From using a silk pillowcase to adding some hair cosmetics to your bedtime routine, there are plenty of ways to minimize the damage and even turn your wet hair into a positive thing.

Thus, next time you're feeling lazy about drying your hair, remember these tips and give your locks some extra love!

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About the author

Anđela Rajković
As a CPD certified Sleep Consultant and well-practiced sleep enthusiast, I find a lot of joy in bringing my expertise to our readers – preferably those who love to sleep. With a background in the English language and literature and a love of research, I'm always seeking new ways to share the latest sleep science and bed-related findings. And, when I'm not connecting with my readers, you can find me exploring the great outdoors, or, well, curling up in bed.
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