How to Sleep with Curly Hair: 7 Expert Tips

Whether you have natural curly hair or recently braided curly extensions, you need to take your hair care game to the next level. Due to their unique texture and ribbon-like shape, curly hair requires a more personalised care routine. This is especially true when sleeping since the curls are more prone to friction and tangling. Explore the tips below on how to sleep with curly hair, and you’ll be able to preserve your hairstyle and avoid breakage to your hair cuticle.

Best Sleeping Positions for Curly Hair

If you have ever woken up with messy curls, it’s probably because you crushed your hair with the weight of your head. This gets worse if you often sleep on your back. Before we look at the many tips to minimise damage to your curly hair, it is safe to say that sleeping on your side is the better alternative. Similarly, if you can comfortably sleep on your stomach without putting much pressure on your neck, back or spine, this would be an option.

Tips for Protecting Curly Hair While Sleeping

Now that you know the best curl-friendly sleeping techniques, let’s dive deep into the many hacks you can implement as a way of protecting curls while sleeping. Most of these techniques must work together to ensure the best results.

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Curly Hair

Have a Nighttime Hair Care Routine for Your Curly Hair

A nighttime hair care routine is essential for anyone who wants to care for their hair, regardless of the hair type. However, this routine should be done with more finesse if you have curly hair. Typically, you would want to gently detangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb to remove any knots. Next, apply a leave-in conditioner to help hydrate and define your curls before twisting them to encourage their natural shape. Finally, wrap your hair in a silk or satin scarf to protect it from friction. That said, maintaining curls overnight can be challenging, but provided you stick with the steps above, you are off for a good start.

Avoid Sleeping with Wet Hair

For people with curly hair, the last thing you want to do is sleep with wet hair. This can be pretty uncomfortable in the first place, but second, you risk damaging the hair strands. Excessive moisture will weaken and weigh down each hair strand, and when you toss your head while sleeping, they are more likely to break. If you must wash your hair before sleeping, ensure you have dried the curls well. It is advisable to air-dry your hair or use a diffuser attachment on the blow dryer to speed up the drying process without causing heat damage. Remember, curly hair thrives with a bit of moisture, so don’t over-dry the hair strands.

Choose a Silk/Satin Pillowcase for Your Curly Hair

Most people with curly hair have varying hair thickness. This makes the hair strand more susceptible to breakage at the weak points, especially when sleeping. To avoid this, consider using a silk or satin pillowcase to eliminate friction whenever you turn your head at night. The type of pillowcases that you should avoid are those with rough surfaces.

Cotton pillowcases are also known to absorb your hair’s natural oils, hence scratching against the curls. That said, the satin or silk pillowcase is a more sustainable curly hair protection technique during sleep. Besides protecting your hair structure, the silk and satin material will keep your head and hair cooler, preventing the scalp from getting oily.

Sleep with Loose Braids or Twists

Braiding your hair before going to bed is perhaps one of the oldest tricks, but it works all the time. When you braid the hair, you stop it from breaking and tangling. With curly hair, it’s crucial to loosely braid the hair strands to ensure comfort and protect your hair’s shape and style. Loose braids or twists act as a protective hairstyle, and like most of the curly hair bedtime routine tips on this list, it’s something you can do quickly and effectively. Lastly, braiding prevents your curls from losing the much-needed moisture.

Use a Satin or Silk Bonnet or Headscarf

Just like having a silk or satin pillowcase, using a bonnet or headscarf made of the same material will help further minimise friction between your hair and the pillowcase. The bonnet will also preserve moisture and keep your curls looking their best throughout the night.

Sleep with Your Curly Hair in a Pineapple Style

Another popular technique for maintaining curly hair integrity during sleep is to tie your hair up at the crown of your head. This is also called the “pineapple’ style. To tie your hair this way, you should gather the hair strands on your head and secure them loosely with a scrunchie or hair tie. You should be careful not to pull your hair too hard, as this can cause more harm than good. The pineapple style is meant to preserve the shape of your curls and prevent them from getting flattened as you toss your head around during sleep. It’s worth noting that you can combine this pineapple hairstyle with the silk/satin hair bonnet, and it will work just fine.

Use a Microfiber Towel/T-shirt to Dry Your Hair

The other alternative to using a hair dryer or blow dryer to remove excessive moisture is to use a microfiber towel or t-shirt. Unlike a regular towel, which could cause friction and lead to frizz, a microfiber towel will remove excess moisture without disturbing the curl’s natural pattern. This should also be done gently to maintain the curl’s integrity and avoid any incidences of breakage.

How to Refresh Curly Hair in the Morning after Sleeping

After a peaceful night’s sleep, you want to refresh your curls in the morning and ensure the hair strands are fresh and shiny. Follow the routine below for the best results:

Detangle and Define

After protecting your curls at night with the silk bonnet or headscarf, you want to undo any styling and detangle the curls. Carefully finger-comb the curls or use a wide-tooth comb to remove any knots/tangles that may have formed overnight. You should start from the ends and work your way up to the hair roots to prevent breakage and preserve the curl pattern.

Hydrate and Reactive the Curls

Once you have detangled your hair, next is to hydrate by lightly misting the curls with water using a spray bottle. This will help soften the curls and reactive them. The goal of this step is to evenly dampen the hair without saturating it.

Hydrate and Reactive the Curls

Revitalise with a Leave-In Conditioner and Curl Refresher

To revitalise your curls, apply a small amount of leave-in conditioner. You want to concentrate on the ends and mid-lengths, which are often drier. If your curls need more revitalisation, use a curl refresher spray to revive limp curls and enhance their bounce and definition. It is also best to spray the conditioner evenly on your hair before you gently scrunch to encourage that natural curl formation.

Dry and Seal

The final step is to remove any excess moisture before sealing your hair. Choose between air drying and using a microfiber towel. If using a towel, be gentle and leave a bit of moisture overall. Once dry, finish by applying a lightweight hair oil or serum to seal in moisture and add a bit of shine.

Stay Ahead of Your Hair Game

Keeping your curly hair shiny and vibrant requires consistent care and attention. In addition to adopting the proper nighttime hair care routine and using nourishing hair products, it’s essential to prioritise professional hair styling or touch-ups at least once every month. This will ensure that your bouncy curls always shine with radiance and vitality.

If you want to achieve the perfect style for your curls, our professional stylists at Lady And The Hair are ready to help you feel fresh and confident. Book our services today, and we’d love to elevate your overall hairstyle.

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