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Is it Bad to Sleep With Wet Hair? What Happens When You Do


Did your grandmother also warn you about not going to bed with wet hair because you will fall sick? Well, it turns out that she was right and wrong at the same time. 

In this article, we will uncover if it is bad to sleep with wet hair and why. We will also reveal some tips on how you can manage wet hair when going to bed.  

Table of Contents

1. Is it Bad to Sleep With Wet Hair?
2. Why Is it Bad to Sleep With Wet Hair?
  2.1 Fungal Infections
  2.2 Hair Breakage
  2.3 Acne
3. How to Sleep With Wet Hair?
  3.1 Detangle Your Tresses as Much as Possible
  3.2 Use a Microfiber Towel
  3.3 Use Coconut Oil
  3.4 Use a Leave-In Conditioner 
  3.5 Use a Silk Pillowcase
  3.6 Wash Your Hair Earlier in the Day
  3.7 Use Essential Oils

Is it Bad to Sleep With Wet Hair?

Yes, but not in the sense you have been led to believe. Our grandmoms often told us that we will catch a cold if we go to bed with wet hair. Turns out, that is not true. You can only catch a cold if you have been infected by a virus, and going to sleep with wet hair has got nothing to do with it.

Sleeping with wet hair, though, can indeed cause headaches, nasal congestion and inflammation of your upper airways. And these are symptoms that you may also get when catching a cold. 

If you did sleep with wet hair and woke up with a stuffy nose, you can try aromatherapy. Here is my all-time favorite blend for dealing with these issues:

WOW Cold Soother Essential Oil Blend

WOW Cold Soother Essential Oil Blend soothes symptoms of sore throat, runny nose, and congested chest. It contains 7 essential oils – peppermint, fennel, orange, coriander, caraway, star anise and ginger essential oil – that can help soothe headaches and restore mental relief and clarity.

You can use this unique blend by diffusing a few drops into a candle tea diffuser and inhaling the aroma. Alternatively, you can spray it around after diluting with water or rub one drop between your palms and inhale the scent. 

Now back to our burning question:

Why Is it Bad to Sleep With Wet Hair?

Now that we have established that it is bad to sleep with wet (or damp) hair, let's take a look at what (else) might happen if you do it.

Fungal Infections

Sleeping with your hair still wet hair can increase the risk of developing a fungal infection on the scalp. Many fungal species that are present not only on your scalp, but also on your pillows, such as Malassezia, thrive in wet environments, causing dandruff, dermatitis, and other scalp conditions. 

According to one study, three common fungal species - Aspergillus fumigatus, Aureobasidium pullulans, and Rhodotorula mucilaginosa were found to contaminate synthetic pillows in large numbers. These species are responsible for causing severe infections in people with weak immune systems and worsen symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma. 

Hair Breakage

Wet hair is more fragile and prone to damage than dry hair. So when you toss and turn in bed all night, you are more likely to cause hair breakage. Not only that, but sleeping with wet hair may cause tangles and it will take you a long time to style it the next day. 


The warmth and dampness of your hair will boost the growth of the microorganisms present on your scalp and pillow, which may worsen your acne. 

How to Sleep With Wet Hair?

If you must go to bed with wet hair, there are some simple things you can do to prevent hair damage:

Detangle Your Tresses as Much as Possible

You want to wait for at least 10 to 15 minutes post-washing your hair for this step. Gently brush your hair with only your fingers or with a wide-toothed comb if you must, so it becomes more manageable. Be very gentle, as wet hair is more fragile. 

Use a Microfiber Towel

Use a microfiber towel, as it is softer and gentler on your hair, and wrap the towel around your locks and gently squeeze out the moisture. Do not rub the towel on your hair, as you will cause damage and frizz. Alternatively, you can also a cotton T-shirt to absorb the excess moisture. 

Use Coconut Oil 

According to one study, coconut oil reduces protein loss when used as a post-wash hair product. It contains lauric acid, which has a high affinity for hair proteins. It penetrates inside the hair shaft and protects it from damage. 

Use a Leave-In Conditioner 

Using a good leave-in conditioner will reduce friction and make the hair more manageable. It will also help provide extra moisture to the hair, make it frizz-free, and protect against damage.  

Use a Silk Pillowcase

A silk pillowcase is better for your hair than a cotton pillowcase, as it provides a frictionless surface. 

Wash Your Hair Earlier in the Day

Perhaps a no-brainer, but if you can manage washing your hair earlier in the day, then by all means, do that. By the time you go to bed, you can air dry your hair, or you can finish blow drying your hair before bedtime. This way, you won't have to worry about going to sleep with wet hair and causing hair damage.

Use Essential Oils

Essential oils such as jasmine essential oil, tea tree oil and ylang-ylang oil have many beneficial properties when it comes to hair care. They also prevent microbes from wreaking havoc on your scalp and help keep your tresses damage-free. Dilute them properly in your hair oil or add them to your leave-in conditioner. 

Sangya Shaily

Sangya Shaily is a content writer from Mumbai, India. She loves writing lifestyle, beauty, fashion, and health & wellness-related content, among other things. In her leisure time, she loves to indulge in reading classic literature and spend time with her family.

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