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How to Sleep with Long Hair: Tips to Wake Up with Neat Hair

Caring for your hair during sleep is crucial to maintaining its health and appearance. Even if you don’t bleach or use excessive heat styling, the way you treat your hair at night can have a significant impact. Understanding how to sleep with long hair effectively is an essential part of your overall hair care strategy.

Whether you’re setting your hair in braids for waves, treating damaged strands, or trying to keep a sleek blowout intact, there are several steps you can take to protect your hair overnight.

Continue reading as we share our top pre-sleep hair care tips, recommend protective hairstyles for sleeping, and suggest products that will help you maintain beautiful hair while you rest—without having to sleep uncomfortably propped up on pillows!

How to Sleep with Long Hair?

Most proven ways to protect long hair while you sleep center on products that you apply overnight and hairstyling strategies to prevent breakage. Environmental factors, like moisture in your hair and your bedding, can also play a role.

Opt for Scrunchies over Regular Hair Ties

Scrunchies help prevent damage to the ends of your hair over time. By comparison, elastic hairbands can strain your hair and scalp because they pull your hair back so tightly.

This friction causes frizz and breakage over time, especially when you wear elastic hairbands at night. Switch to a satin scrunchie, which can keep your hair contained while also preventing friction.

How to Sleep with Long Hair
Scrunchies help prevent damage to the ends of your hair over time

Brush Your Hair Before Bedtime

Consider adding another kind of brushing to your bedtime regimen. By brushing out tangles or snarls from your hair before you go to bed, you’re being proactive about frizz and matted hair. You don’t have to take a long time to do it.

Depending on your hair type, a simple paddle brush or a wide-toothed comb will work to brush out your hair before you style it for the night and go to sleep.

How to Sleep with Long Hair
Consider adding another kind of brushing to your bedtime regimen

Shower at Suitable Times

To prevent hair loss and breakage, change up your routine by scheduling your showers earlier in the day. By doing this, you can avoid the need to blow dry your hair before bedtime, saving you time and preventing potential damage. Aim for a morning shower and hair wash to eliminate the need for towels or hairdryers when it’s time to hit the hay.

If possible, time your showers before bed so that your hair has a few hours to naturally dry completely and you aren’t sleeping with wet hair. As a bonus, give your hair a quick blast of cold water at the end of your shower. This chilly trick helps seal in moisture, leaving your hair looking healthier overall.

Use a Silk or Satin Pillowcase

A pillowcase with silk or satin fibers may reduce the amount of friction on your hair as you sleep. As an added bonus, these types of pillowcases may reduce the stretch and stress of your skin while you sleep, helping to stave off wrinkles caused by aging. Satin and silk are hypoallergenic and cooling fibers, as opposed to cotton.

How to Sleep with Long Hair
Use a Silk or Satin Pillowcase

Wrap Your Hair With a Scarf or Wrap

A hair wrap or scarf can mean that you’re not losing sleep over denting or crushing your freshly styled hair. Depending on your hair type, you might prefer to use a silk or satin material to reduce friction even more while you sleep.

Protect Hair Ends with Essential Oils

To keep your hair healthy and prevent split ends, consider applying a few drops of essential oil before bedtime (not to be confused with scented essential oils for sleep that you might use). Hair oil helps seal moisture into your hair cuticle, ensuring your strands stay hydrated. When your hair lacks moisture, it becomes more prone to breaking and developing split ends.

Opt for a lighter formula of quality hair oil to care for your long hair. This lighter essential oil will create a protective barrier, reducing the chances of frizz, tangling, and breakage. It also offers a slip that helps safeguard your hair follicles and prevents issues like traction alopecia. So, give your long locks the moisture they need for a healthier, happier mane.

Sleep with Braided Hair

If you don’t mind waves and kinks and are looking to cut out a step from your hair routine the next morning, you can protect your hair by pre-styling it before bed.

“A great way to sleep with long hair is by parting your hair down the middle then doing two braids that start just behind the ear. This will add some great texture in the morning without having a big tangled mess,” says hairstylist Castillo Bataille.

How to Sleep with Long Hair
Sleep with Braided Hair

Condition Your Hair Overnight

Simply apply a spritz or two of leave-in conditioner to your hair before bed and gently work it through your hair. For maximum effectiveness, look for a conditioner designed for nighttime repair and use on dry hair. Choosing your leave-in conditioner based on your specific hair needs is also a good idea.

Apply a Hair Serum or Mask Before Bed

The only thing better than a good night’s sleep is a good night’s sleep and hair repair. “Sleep time is a great opportunity to strengthen and repair long locks with an overnight repair mask, leave-in conditioner, or hydrating serum,” says Abe Ayesha – a hair restoration expert and the owner of Eternal Hair and Esthetics.

Install a Fan or Humidifier in Your Bedroom

To maintain the health of your hair and sleep comfortably, it’s crucial to control the bedroom environment. High temperatures can be tough on your hair as excess sweating can lead to more tangles and knots. So, make sure to set the air conditioning to a cool, comfortable level or sleep with a fan on in your room.

Make sure your bedroom isn’t too wet and warm, as this can promote mold and mildew and allow pests like lice to flourish.

How to Sleep with Long Hair

Is It Better to Wear Your Hair Up or Down?

The best way to protect long hair while you sleep is to gently secure it. Sleeping with free-flowing tresses may sound picturesque, but the reality is that you’re likely going to wake up with a sweaty, tangled mess if you don’t find a way to secure your hair overnight.

The secret is not to pull your hair so tightly against your head that it puts pressure on the scalp while you sleep. Your hair should be secure enough that it can’t snarl or tangle, but not styled in a way that encourages friction or breakage. Good options to help keep your hair from tangling while you sleep include:

  • A Loose, Functional Top Knot: Pile your hair at the crown of your head and secure it with a fabric scrunchie. This keeps your hair out of the way and reduces friction.
  • One or More Loose Braids: Braiding your hair loosely at the nape of your neck can help prevent tangles and keep your hair neat.
  • Hair Wrapped in a Headscarf or Turban: Wrapping your hair in a silk or satin scarf or turban can minimize friction and protect your hair from breakage while you sleep.

Things to Avoid with Long Hair

When it comes to sleeping with long hair, there are several things to avoid to keep your hair healthy and prevent damage. Here’s a list of key things to consider before you head to bed:

  • Avoid Rough Sleeping Positions: While it’s not always possible to control your sleeping position, try to avoid rough positions when you can. Sleeping on your stomach, with your hair under your head, or with your hair tightly pulled back increases friction between your hair and your bedding. This friction leads to hair breakage, frizz, and tangles.
  • Avoid Elastic Bands: To protect your hair while sleeping, avoid using elastic bands, especially if they are tightly secured. Elastic bands add extra tension and stress to the hair, which can weaken the hair shaft over time and increase the risk of breakage, particularly at the points where the bands are secured. Instead, opt for ties with soft fabrics or scrunchies.
  • Avoid Going to Sleep with Tight Hairstyles: One of the best ways to wear your hair to bed to prevent breakage is to avoid tight hairstyles. Tight hairstyles put excessive stress on the hair shafts, causing them to weaken and break. Additionally, tight hairstyles cause extra friction and rubbing, which can lead to breakage, especially when this happens over an extended period, such as sleeping for several hours.


Protecting and nourishing your long hair while you sleep is achievable, though it might require some experimentation to find the most effective methods for you. When considering how to sleep with long hair, take into account your specific hair type and any existing damage from chemical treatments.

Try implementing the above tips one by one to determine which ones suit your hair best. If you’re concerned about breakage and frizz, it might also be beneficial to consult a hair care professional. They can offer tailored advice and additional strategies based on your unique hair needs.

For those seeking more information and honest product reviews, I recommend visiting HealthCareConnect. Explore firsthand experiences from users and gain valuable insights to help inform your decision.



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