How to Sleep with Curly Hair to Preserve Your Curls


If you’re a naturally curly-haired-girl, you know that sleeping can put a serious cramp in your curls. You go to bed with beautiful, bouncy curls only to wake up to flat, lifeless strands or a frizzy tangled mess. But a good’s night’s rest doesn’t have to undo all your styling work from the day before. It’s all about finding the right way to wear your curly hair to sleep that won’t leave you with dents, frizz or flattened curls in the morning. If you’re tired of wreaking havoc on your curls every time you go to sleep you’re in the right place. Get ready to wake up to gorgeous second and third day curls because we’re telling you how to sleep with curly hair ahead!


Why Sleep Matters for Curly Hair

Sleeping on your curls is no easy task. In fact, you likely plan your curly hair styling around the events in your calendar so your curls look their best when you need them to. But it's not just the stress of waking up to frizz and flat curls that you need to worry about. As you’re getting your beauty sleep, the pressure of tossing and turning pulls your hair and causes it to break. That’s why it's important to preserve your curls while you sleep. Wondering how to sleep with curly hair? The first step is to trade in your cotton pillowcase for a silk or satin one. These materials are a better choice for both hair health and additional skin benefits. Now let’s take a look at the best ways to preserve your curls while you sleep.


Methods for Sleeping with Curly Hair

These tips for sleeping on curly hair will help you stretch the time in-between washes and leave you with gorgeous second and third day curls.


Pineappling

If you've ever struggled with frizz or lost your hard-earned curls to the pillow while sleeping, pineappling might just be the solution for your curly hair. This method is simple and effective, making it a must-try for anyone seeking to preserve and enhance their natural hair. The pineapple method for curly hair is a nighttime routine that involves gathering your curly hair into a loose, high ponytail at the top of your head, resembling the shape of a pineapple. It prevents your hair from getting squashed against the pillow, which can lead to flattened curls and increased frizz. Pineappling is suitable for all hair lengths, and it's so easy to master, which makes it the perfect option for those looking to maintain their curly hair's shape and bounce while they sleep.


Pineappling your hair

Loose Braids

Sleeping with your hair in loose braids is another effective method for preserving your curls while you sleep. Keeping your hair in braids reduces friction between your hair and pillow, reducing breakage. It also keeps your hair tamed, resulting in beautifully defined curls when you take them out in the morning. Braids are a protective style that works for all curl types and you can do as few or as many braids as you like, as long as your braids are not too tight to avoid tension on your hair. Braid gently and to the very end. Leaving a portion of unbraided hair at the end defeats the purpose of protecting your hair. Depending on the curl pattern and if you have looser curls, secure the ends of the braids with hair-friendly accessories (like scrunchies) to prevent breakage and keep your curls intact while you sleep. When undoing the braid in the morning use a lightweight leave-in conditioner or hair oil on your fingertips to keep frizz at bay and help hold the curls together.


Loose Bun

A loose bun is another great way to preserve your curls because it keeps them out of the way while you sleep, but it's not too tight to cause creases or flatten your curls. The integrity of any curly style depends on the foundations, so start with clean, detangled and moisturized hair. Just gather all your hair at the crown of your head and twist it into a loose bun, secured with a scrunchie (using a hair tie will leave you with a visible dent). Then loosen it slightly by pulling on the edges to make sure it’s not too tight. Creating a tight bun puts unnecessary tension on the hair, which could lead to other hair related problems like hair loss. In the morning, remove the scrunchie and gently shake out your hair.


Silk Scarf

Especially if you’re still sleeping on a cotton pillowcase, tying your curly hair up into a silk scarf at bedtime is the next tip on our list for preserving your curls while you sleep. Sleeping on silk reduces friction, and prevents tangles and frizz, allowing your curls to glide across the surface without the risk of damage. We recognize that it can be costly, but it’s important to choose genuine silk, as opposed to synthetic materials, for optimal results. Silk helps retain the hair's natural moisture, promoting healthy and defined curls. Use a scarf large enough to accommodate your particular curl length and thickness.Place the scarf on your head with the long side of the triangle at the nape of your neck and the point on your forehead. Twist the two long ends over each other from back to front then wrap back around to the nape of your neck and tie them.


Silk scarf to protect curly hair

Should You Sleep with Curly Hair?

While we understand that sleeping with wet hair is sometimes unavoidable, we definitely don’t recommend it. Your wet curls are at their most delicate state when wet. In fact, wet hair sleepers are more susceptible to hygral fatigue, or hair follicle damage caused by repetitive expansion and contraction of the hair follicle strands. Extreme swelling occurs when excessive moisture reaches your inner cortex, making your hair grow brittle, rough and dry, dull and frizzy. Plus, sleeping on wet hair can lead to flattened roots and a loss of volume in the morning. That being said, some curl types and hair porosities may find that sleeping on wet curly hair on occasion works best. So if you do choose to do so, trial and error is advised, and we recommend doing so with caution.


Additional Tips for Preserving Curls While Sleeping

The above curly girl methods are tried and true techniques that can help you wake up with bouncy, defined curls no matter what your curl type. But there are a few additional tricks to ensure your curly hair looks its best in the morning. These tips will help preserve your curl pattern overnight, ensuring you wake up with hair that's ready to turn heads.


  • Make sure your hair is thoroughly dry before doing any kind of protective hairstyle for the night. Damp or wet hair is more likely to become frizzy and lose its shape during sleep.
  • Avoid overusing hair products before bedtime. This can leave you with stiff, crunchy curls in the morning. Leave-in conditioner, on the other hand, can help strengthen your curls and make them easier to style in the morning.
  • Avoid using hair accessories like claw clips or hair ties on your bedtime hairstyles. These things will leave your curls with very obvious indents in your hair, disrupting your curl pattern.
  • Avoid brushing your hair vigorously before sleep. This can stretch out your hair disrupting the curl pattern and in some cases, lead to snapped strands.
  • Avoid using the wrong pillowcase material. We discussed how tossing and turning your head during the night puts stress on your hair follicle, making breakage likely. 


Curl care products

How to Revive Curls in the Morning

The methods above will help you avoid the common challenges associated with sleeping on curly hair- most importantly flattened or frizzy curls in the morning. But reviving your curls in the morning is just as important. When you wake up, gently remove your protective sleep style and shake it out, so there are no odd shapes or indents. Depending on your hair type, moisturize your strands with a curl refreshing spray, leave-in conditioner or hair oil to help maintain your natural curl pattern. And most importantly, try to minimize touching your hair throughout the day to prevent frizz and warping your curl definition. Likewise (and especially with tighter curls) avoiding tight hairstyling during the day that will ensure bouncy curls for a longer period of time. 


Ace Your Curly Hair Sleep Routine

When it comes to sleeping on curly hair, a good’s night’s rest doesn’t have to mean waking up with dents, frizz or flattened curls. If you’re tired of wreaking nightly havoc on your curls, follow our tips and use only the highest quality curly hair products in your hair care routine. All Davines formulas are free of harmful toxins, use many natural ingredients, and are made with renewable energy and packaging that minimizes the environmental impact. Have more questions about your curly hair? Book an appointment with a stylist near you, for an assessment and custom treatment plan.


by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor

Lightweight curl-enhancing cream.


Elasticizing and revitalizing curl spray.


Controlling and relaxing cream for wavy or curly hair.


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