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Risks Of Sleeping With Wet Hair & Ways To Minimize The Damage of Sleeping With Wet Hair

Have you ever thought that sleeping with wet hair can have negative effects? Often we hear our mothers asking us not to sleep with a wet head as it may be harmful to health. How can it harm us, is the thought which comes in our minds.

We often face the hassle of styling the hair in the morning if we sleep with wet hair. The frizzy, wavy, and crinkly hairs we wake up are difficult to manage. We probably have to re-wet them and then style. This might make them more pliable to breaking.

Risks of Sleeping With Wet Hair

The risk involved in sleeping with wet hair is though minimal, but are good if prevented.

Fungal Infection

Sleeping with wet hair increases the risk of fungal infection of the scalp. Fungi such as Malassezia can cause dandruff or dermatitis, which is why it is recommended to sleep with dry hair.

Along with the fungus which is naturally present in the scalp, pillows are also a favorite breeding ground for the fungus. Wet hair wets the pillowcase and makes the conditions favorable for the fungus to thrive in.

A study, done to evaluate fungal contamination of bedding discovered 4-16 species per pillow. (1)

Therefore to lessen the risks of fungal infection dry your hair before sleeping.

Hair Breakage

Sleeping with wet hair increase the risk of breakage, as the hair is at their weakest when wet. Tossing and turning while sleeping creates friction and can break them and increase hair loss. The risk doubles if the hair is braided or tied tight. This adds more tension to the hair shaft. If at all you cannot avoid wet hair, at least leave them open.


Wet hair can lead to bacterial growth on the pillow. This can increase the risk of the breakout of acne.

Ways To Minimize The Damage of Sleeping With Wet Hair

If it is absolutely impossible to dry hair before sleeping, there are few ways you can reduce the damage.

  1. Swap the pillow cover from cotton to silk or satin fabric. Silk has a smoother surface which can be less abrasive for the wet hair.
  2. Never tie your hair if they are wet. Leave them open while sleeping.
  3. Apply coconut oil, as there is evidence that it protects the wet hair from breakage. (2) Oil reduces the amount of water absorbed to the hair cuticle making them less prone to damage. However, this tip does not apply for those suffering from seborrheic eczema, as it can worsen the condition.
  4. Use conditioner for hair. Conditioner seals the hair cuticle and reduces friction and makes hair easier to detangle.
  5. Shower a few minutes earlier to the bedtime. Lesser the water in the hair, less it the damage. Also, detangle your hair before going to sleep.

Going to sleep with wet hair is bad, but not because it can lead to cold, flu or some other health risk as told by our mother and grandmothers but it is harmful to the hair itself as it can lead to infection and breakage.

Try your best to dry up the hair before sleeping or else follow the tips above to minimize the harmful effect of going to bed with wet hair.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 31, 2023

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