While your tightly textured hair is powerful in many ways, you’re probably well aware that those bouncy curls aren’t going to define and hydrate themselves—so why not look to the proper curly hair products and tools to help preserve your curls overnight?
In this guide, we’ll break down 10 tips you need to know about how to sleep with curly hair to turn your good hair day into a good hair week.
Tip #1: Style Your Hair Before Bed
Before you rest your head at night, consider a loose and quick protective style to prevent your curls from losing their moisture while you sleep. Choose easy-to-do protective hairstyles for sleeping that require little time or resources, such as:
When you style your hair before bed, it keeps your curls elongated and tangle-free while you snooze. Plus, protecting your hair with twists, braids, or a loose bun using the proper curly hair accessories allows you to sleep on your long curly hair or short curly hair without fear of it flattening.
What is the Best Sleep Position for Curly Hair?
As you sleep, the weight of your head can flatten your curls and make it easier for them to tangle together. But, in the right sleep position, your curls will stay intact and bouncy come morning.
So, how should you sleep at night to preserve those spirals?
Sleeping on your side or stomach is the best way to snooze if you’re looking to keep your textured hair pillowy and soft.1 These positions take some of the weight off your hair and can reduce the chance of your hair losing its lusciousness when tossing and turning your head throughout the night.
Tip #2: Wear a Bonnet or Headscarf
Tossing and turning may cause friction to your natural texture, especially if you’re sleeping on certain materials like cotton. As such, you can keep your spirals intact while you sleep by wearing a satin or silk headscarf or cap like PATTERN’s Satin Cap.
The head covering works to nurture your locks in several ways:
- It secures your protective style so it won’t unravel overnight.
- It prevents your curls and coils from rubbing up against your bed sheets and pillow.
- The smoothness of the silk or satin prevents breakage and reduces the chance of friction.
Even a high-quality cotton pillowcase can strip the moisture from your hair and cause your coils to tangle or break. If you’re wondering how to sleep with curly hair at night but would prefer to keep your hair wrap-free during the night, you can also invest in a satin or silk pillowcase to safeguard your curls.
The Benefits of Satin PIllowcases
Suiting your pillow with a satin or silk pillowcase is an investment that provides numerous long-term benefits to your natural texture. Plus, it can help your skin shine, too.
Let’s take a look at why a high-quality pillowcase may make a great addition to your self care practice:
- Reduces the chance of tangles and knots from forming
- Helps to extend the longevity of your hairstyle
- Protects against frizz and flyaways
- Allows your skin and hair to retain moisture
- Helps to prevent facial acne
The slippery surface is gentle on your hair and your skin, helping you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on a new day with luscious hair and full-body confidence.
Tip #3: Try the Pineapple Method
The pineapple method is another way to protect curly hair at night. For longer curls and coils, putting your hair atop your head allows you to protect your curl pattern while sleeping comfortably in whatever position you like.
Plus, anyone can perfect the art of the pineapple in two easy steps:
- Bring all your hair to the very top of your head.
- Secure loosely with a silk or satin scrunchie or nylon hair ties.
Remember that this style needs to be loose. If you wrap the hair twice or secure it too tightly, it can leave dents in your curls. For added protection, you can wrap a silk scarf or satin scarf around the base of your head. Or, you can use a bonnet to hold it together.
Tip #4: Moisture Your Ends
Because the ends of your curls are fragile, your tips can benefit from added moisture right before bed. To keep your hair soft and juicy, you’ll need hydrating products like:
- Leave-in conditioner
- Styling cream or curl custard
- Hydrating hair mask or clarifying hair mask
- Argan oil serum or jojoba scalp oil
Using products like PATTERN’s Leave-in Conditioner, Argan Oil Blend or Jojoba Oil Blend apply to your ends as you style your hair before bed. You’ll fall asleep to hydrated tips and wake up to soft and happy curls.
Should You Go To Sleep With Wet or Dry Hair?
You may have been warned that going to bed with wet hair is a sure way to catch a cold. But, for some naturals, wetting and styling your hair before bed can save you time in the morning.
Wet hair is easier to style and guarantees more definition once it dries. But, your hair is also in its most fragile state when wet. Without protecting your hair with satin or silk materials, your strands can rub against any rough bedding you may have, causing tangles or breakage.
If you find yourself going to bed with wet hair, here are a few tips on how to protect curls at night:2
- Sleep with a silk or satin bonnet, scarf or pillowcase.
- Dry your hair as much as you can with a t-shirt or towel, like PATTERN’s microfiber towel for curly hair.
- Seal in the moisture with a conditioner, so it stays tangle-free.
- Add in oils to help prevent natural hair breakage.
Whether you sleep with wet or dry hair, the most important thing is to make sure you’re keeping your curls healthy and happy.
Tip #5: Try the Plopping Method
If you’ve been in the natural hair space long enough, you may have come across the term “plopping.” It's a popular hair-drying method that promises voluminous curls. Plus, it’s a great practice to adopt when you regularly go to sleep with wet curly hair.
Wondering how to plop your hair? Here’s how it works:
Voila! By morning, you can take the towel down to reveal springy, nourished curls. It’s easy to sleep on and you won’t need to use heat to quickly dry your hair.
Tip #6: Refresh Curls with the Right Products
As you learn how to sleep with curls, you’ll find out that your hair may need a little refresher in between wash days—one day, your locks are defined and soft, but by day three your curls may need a little pick-me-up.
The good news is that your curly hair night time routine can help to extend the longevity of your locks to keep your ringlets defined throughout the week.
If your hair needs a little refresher, try out these tips before you call it a night:
- Moisturize your strands with the Hydrating Mist or the Misting Spray Bottle
- Scrunch moisturizing hair products, such as our Curl Gel, into damp hair.
- Finger coil the strands that need more definition using gels or styling creams.
- Install pin curls using our Small Hair Pins to help stretch your texture.
These steps are also the best for those interested in learning how to refresh curls after sleeping. You can refresh your curls day or night to add some extra bounce back into your locks and smooth any flyaways.
Tip #7: Adjust Your Routine According to Your Hair Needs
For your routine to be consistent, it needs to fit seamlessly into your lifestyle.
If you’re implementing techniques and tips that don’t nourish your hair, feel free to try something different. The natural hair community is full of various textures and coils with each deserving their own perfectly curated nighttime routine.
Here are a few factors that may influence how you nurture your curls:
- Your hair type or texture (i.e wavy, curly and coily)
- Your hair care concerns, such as dry ends or a flaky scalp
- Your daily hairstyle
The best way to find out what works for you is to experiment. Try new techniques and hair products that encourage your hair’s natural beauty to shine.
Build Your Nighttime Routine with PATTERN
When it comes to personalizing and perfecting your nighttime hair care routine, don’t be afraid to experiment with new products and hairstyles to give your curls the bounce they deserve.
At PATTERN Beauty we formulate each of our hair care products with your natural curl pattern in mind. Our products are affordable, effective and made with natural ingredients that hydrate and support your curls.
Simplify your nighttime routine without sacrificing your hair’s health and happiness with PATTERN Beauty, your expert in the curls community.
- Watson, Kathryn. "The Best Way to Sleep to Protect Your Curly Hair." Healthline. 11 June, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/how-to-sleep-with-curly-hair
- Santos-Longhurst, Adrienne. "Is Going to Sleep with Wet Hair Bad for My Health?" Healthline. 7 June, 2019. https://www.healthline.com/health/sleeping-with-hair-wet#precautions