It’s been a long day, and you’re exhausted. You just want to take a quick shower and head straight to bed. Staying up to air dry or even blow dry your hair would feel like a marathon. So is it OK to go to bed with wet hair? The short answer is no, probably not. Here’s why.
Yes, you read that right. Going to bed with wet hair can create the perfect environment for fungus to grow. Your body heat combined with the moisture from your hair turns your pillow into a paradise for fungi. So if you want to avoid having a fungal infection or dandruff, it’s best to power through and dry your hair.
Wet hair is vulnerable hair. That’s because water causes your hair shaft to swell and your cuticles to lift, leaving your locks prone to breakage. Your hair can also break off at the follicle itself. Plus, when you toss and turn, you create friction, which can easily break your strands. Conditioning and drying your hair helps your cuticles to seal, so it’s ideal not to skip those steps before going to bed.
Your hair is likely to tangle for the same reason it’s likely to break if you sleep when it’s wet–open cuticles and friction. Think of cuticles like the shingles on your roof. Now, imagine how easy it would be for them to get caught on one another and break if they were sticking straight up! That’s what sleeping with wet hair does. Add in the friction from moving in your sleep, and you have a recipe for a seriously bad hair day.
Trying to keep your curls bouncy? Going to bed with wet hair isn’t going to help. That’s because wet hair stretches, and once it goes past the 30% mark, the changes may not be reversible. Sleeping on your wet hair makes it more likely that your strands stretch more than they should, and your hair may never go back to the way it was.
Sleeping with cold, wet hair just isn’t a great feeling, and that’s a perfectly valid reason not to do it. That’s especially true when nights are cold and you’re trying to stay warm. Sleeping with your hair wet, even if you tie it up, could lead to heat loss that leaves you feeling cold all night and affects your quality of sleep.
What If You Have to Go to Bed With Wet Hair?
Listen, we get it. Life happens. Maybe you have a newborn who has kept you up for the past four nights in a row, and you absolutely cannot stay up any longer. Or you just got off a late shift and have to be back in at 6:00 a.m., so taking time to dry your hair will eat up the little sleep you might be able to get. Or you’ve been cramming for an exam and are down to the possibility of three hours of sleep if you go to bed right now.
So what can you do if you absolutely have to go to bed with wet hair? The first thing is to dry your hair as much as possible. Detangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb to keep it from knotting, and sleep on a silk pillowcase to reduce friction. And don’t forget to condition your hair before you get out of the shower to help seal your cuticles! That way, your hair will be in the best shape possible before it hits your pillow.