Is Sleeping With Wet Hair Bad for You?

Sometimes, after a long day, it's all you can do to take a shower and wash your hair before collapsing into bed, which means your hair will still be wet once you hit the sheets. But is it wise to drift off to dreamland with damp tresses?

Without a doubt, the topic of going to bed with wet hair brings out strong opinions in people. Some believe it permanently damages the strands and others think it's plain unhygienic. Plus, you've likely heard that sleeping with wet hair can cause you to catch a cold. So what's the truth?

Is Going to Sleep With Wet Hair Bad for my Health?

First things first, no matter what your favorite aunt tells you, sleeping with wet hair isn't going to leave you fighting a fever. "Contrary to the old wives tales, going to bed with your hair wet won't give you a cold," Crank told us. The common cold actually doesn't have anything to do with being physically cold. If someone has a cold, it's because they've been infected with a virus. The cold virus spreads through the air when an infected person speaks, sneezes or coughs. In the United States, you're more likely to catch a cold in the cooler months because everyone is indoors and in close proximity to each other.

So, sleeping with wet hair won't bring on the sniffles, but unfortunately, it can make you unwell in other ways. Going to bed with wet hair could cause fungal inspection on the scalp. As tempting as it is to skip the hairdryer before going to bed, wet hair and a damp pillow create a warm, moist environment for fungal infections to flourish.


Does Going to Sleep With Wet Hair Cause Breakage?

If you go to sleep with your hair wet every other night, you might notice more hair damage than usual. But, of course, a good air dry can take ages and sometimes blow drying can feel like a real ordeal — especially when you can barely keep your eyes open! "Sleeping on wet hair is not necessarily bad as a one-off, but do it frequently, over a long period, and you could start to notice more hair breakage," Crank advised.

Your hair is most prone to damage and breakage when it's wet, so this is the time you need to be extra careful with it. The hair cuticle, which is the protective hair shaft layer, opens up and becomes stretchy and fragile when the hair is damp. "Hair is at its weakest and most vulnerable when wet," said Crank. "Combine this with tossing, turning and friction from your pillow, and you have a recipe for lots of breakage." Just as tugging at your delicate wet strands with a harsh hairbrush can compromise the hair cuticle, sleeping with wet hair can also do severe damage.

Does Hair Type Matter If You Sleep With Wet Hair?

Of course, not all hair is made the same. If you have very fine, delicate strands, you could cause more hair damage if you constantly go to bed with wet hair. If you have curly hair, you might experience more knots and breakage because the texture is surprisingly delicate and prone to damage.

"People with curly hair might prefer to skip the blow dryer because of the hair's more fragile state...and there's always the fear of frizz," Crank said. "This can mean they go to bed with wet hair more often. To help keep curls bouncy and in the best condition, apply a gentle marula oil for a glossy, frizz-free mane. Sleeping in a plop overnight is a great solution for anyone with curly or wavy hair. It will help define the curls overnight without overdrying."

A lot also depends on how you treat your hair on the daily. If you're a chemical-color addict or you just can't put down the hot styling tools (we've all been there), you might be making your already damaged locks worse by sleeping with wet hair.

But sleeping with wet hair doesn't affect everybody negatively. Some people love the bed head effect it can create. If you notice more breakage after going to bed with wet hair, it could be time to change your habits. But if you don't see any bad side-effect, then maybe you're one of the lucky few who can get away with it!




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