How To Sleep With Curly Hair – For those whose natural hair comes with an abundance of curls, beautiful curls can be maintained without washing your hair or styling all the time. There is no single method regarding how to sleep with curly hair. Every person is different. Here are some styles to keep wavy hair intact even when sleeping. Try these different hairstyles to see which ones work best for your hair while still getting a restful night’s sleep. It will become clear that a celebrity stylist is not required for a great look.

Loose bun

Minimize the frizz on your head by wearing a loose bun to bed. Apply some leave-in cream conditioner, then scrunch some gel on the hair before securing it in a bun. Keep in mind that the bun should be loose so the curls do not end up too tight.


Women with curly hair often pineapple their dry hair when they go to bed. Flip your dry hair, then secure it in two high ponytails. Separate each ponytail so that each half is on either side of the head. In the morning, give the hair a quick spritz of water or some curl refresher, and it will look great [3].

Bantu knots

Bantu knots are useful to keep the hair elongated and defined. Apply a setting product first, then make small or large sections on the head using a wide-tooth comb. Twist each section from the roots all the way to the tips in a tight coil. Secure these knots in place with bobby pins before covering them with a silk or satin bonnet. This prevents the hair from getting mangled during sleep. The time it takes to knot the hair in sections will only be around five to ten minutes.

Pin curls

Try this curly hair routine to turn soft curls into ringlets. To execute this technique, gather each curl from the bottom using the index finger, roll it upwards, then flatten on the scalp. Use a bobby pin to secure each section of the hair overnight, then release the following day for beautiful, bouncy ringlets [4].


Experiment with braids to prevent hair strands from damage during a good night’s sleep. A loose braid will help preserve a natural curl. Tightening the braid will create more texture or crimp the hair. A French braid protects the hair from rubbing against the sheets and pillows, and it also adds more volume and texture to the hair [6].

Sleeping beauty

To prevent the head from crushing the curls while in bed, run your hands under your head to bring your hair up and over your pillow.


The Science of Hair
How To Sleep With Curly Hair – The Science Of Hair

A hair follicle consists of the cells and connective tissue surrounding the root of a hair. When that follicle is asymmetrical, the shape of the hair produced is oval. When the hair is symmetrical, the strand grows round and straight [1]. It is believed that the shape of each follicle is determined while a person is still in the embryonic stage.

Each hair grows for around three to five years before undergoing a resting phase of several months. It then falls out. During the resting phase, the hair follicles may change in structure and dry. When a new cycle of hair begins, the follicle grows back to its original shape the majority of the time. So, curvy follicles grow back curly hair, and straight follicles grow back straight hair [2]. However, there are occasions when symmetrical follicles change to asymmetric follicles. Some cancer drugs change the outer sheath of a follicle. Both hair growth and shape can change.

The protein, keratin, makes up almost 90% of hair. Each keratin unit is held together to form long, thread-like structures called filaments. One of the most critical chemical bonds holding these structures together is the disulfide bridge. Disulfide bridges are the primary cause of hair curliness. The cuticle is the hard covering of the hair. It is made up of tiny scales that lie flat over one another. If the scales lay entirely flat, the hair will look healthy, silky and feel soft. Curly hair feels and looks rougher because the scales do not lie flat. However, curly hair has more volume.

Hair care is different for curly versus straight hair. If you typically have straight hair but opted for a perm, use the same techniques for permed hair care as those used for naturally curly hair. Permed hair requires extra moisture and a good conditioner. Leave a bit of conditioner in permed hair to help maintain moisture.

Wet Hair

Wet Hair

Avoid washing your hair too frequently. Be kind to curls by using sulfate-free shampoo and using adequate conditioner. Leave some of the conditioner in the hair as curly hair tends to tangle. Instead of washing the hair every day, try taking a steamy shower, or use a spray bottle to spritz it with water in the morning. A quick spray is a great hack for revitalizing curly hair. The goal is to avoid drying out the hair by keeping it moisturized. Water in a spray bottle can make the hair damp and do volumes for styling. When drying, place the hair in a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt, then wrap the towel or shirt around the head. It will make styling much easier.

Pillowcases For Curly Hair
Pillowcases For Curly Hair

Another tip for how to sleep with curly hair is to ditch the regular cotton pillowcases and opt for a more luxurious satin or silk pillow. This reduces any frizz if you toss and turn in your sleep. A satin pillow reduces the friction as you toss and turn which preserves natural curls and prevents breakage [5].

In the morning, freshen the hair by using a spray bottle to spritz it with water, or take a quick steamy shower. A conditioner that contains argan oil has been found to be particularly helpful as it keeps moisture in the hair. Argan oil minimizes frizz and helps with styling when creating waves or straightening.

How To Sleep With Curly Hair Final Thoughts

These are just a few examples of how to protect curls while getting a good night’s sleep. A stylist is not necessary to maintain curls. Experiment with these hair hacks to keep those natural curls looking good every day.


How To Sleep With Curly Hair Resources:
[1]   Popular Science; FYI: What Makes Hair Curly?, Daniel Engber, December 03, 2012.
[2]   Medical News Today; Curly or straight: What determines hair shape? Yella Hewings-Martin PhD., July 21, 2017.
[3]   Naturally Curly; 9 Ways to Sleep with Curls, Cristina Cleveland, May 31, 2018.
[4]   Glamour; 6 Simple Ways to Preserve Your Curls While You Sleep, Jacqueline Laurean Yates, March 05, 2016.
[5]   Devacurl; Sleeping with Curly Hair…In Front of Your S.O., Samantha Mellone, April 28, 2016.
[6]   Garnier; 3 ways to wake up with better, beautiful curls.

How To Sleep With Curly Hair - 6 Best Techniques In 2019
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How To Sleep With Curly Hair – 6 Best Techniques In 2019
[QUESTION] How to sleep with curly hair? [ANSWER] Loose Bun – Minimize the frizz on your head by wearing a loose bun to bed. Apply some leave-in cream conditioner, then scrunch some gel on the hair before securing it in a bun. Keep in mind that the bun should be loose so the curls do not end up too tight.
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Tomorrow Sleep
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