9 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Sleep With Wet Hair

Sleeping With Wet Hair: 9 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Do It

If you've been told the old wives' tale that says you should never eat before going swimming, you've probably also been told that sleeping with wet hair will make you ill.

With little evidence or explanation, it's highly likely you've ignored this warning, but could you be putting yourself in danger? 

Why do people go to bed with wet hair? 

sleeping with wet hair
It's easily done!

We've all been there. You've got to be out the door early the next morning, but your hair is looking less than presentable. You've got to make dinner and maybe even get the kids to bed so you'll leave the hair washing for later that night. 

You've washed your hair but, either because you don't want to make noise or you simply don't have the energy, you skip the blow dry. Heat is bad for your hair, isn't it? It'll be better to let it dry in your sleep. 

You wake up and you wonder why you look like you've been electrocuted, but you don't have time to rewash it. It'll have to do. 

Whilst leaving your hair washing to the night before might seem like the best option, there are hidden dangers that you probably don't know about! 

Why you shouldn't go to sleep with wet hair

1. It could cause severe hair breakage 

hair breakage
Wet hair is weaker.

Hair is at its weakest when wet, so it's not surprising to hear that you'll be increasing the amount of breakage by leaving your hair wet whilst you sleep. As you toss and turn, friction will cause the hair to snap more easily than if your hair was dry. 

You might think leaving your hair to air dry is better than applying heat, but is it really?

2. It'll make you feel cold

If you're sleeping in an air-conditioned room or it's the peak of winter, sleeping with wet hair will make you feel much colder. 

Stop the shivers by giving your hair a proper blow dry. For a real treat, you can even blow dry your socks, pyjamas and bed sheets so they're nice and cosy.

3. You'll spend more time styling your hair 

hair straightening
You'll probably need to use heat tools anyway!

The term 'bed head' exists for a reason! As your hair dries, it sets into place. When you sleep, your hair is twisted into all sorts of strange styles, and if it's drying while you sleep, it'll set that way too. 

Normally the worst offenders are the crown of your head and the ends of your hair. The only way to smooth out your hair is to spend a lot of time trying to restyle, either by re-wetting it, using heat tools or suffocating it with aerosols and gels - not exactly the au-natural option you were going for.

4. Worsens your immune system 

The old wives' tale that you'll get ill from sleeping with wet hair isn't completely true - you can't catch a virus simply from having wet hair. 

That said, sleeping with wet hair can weaken your immune system which makes it more likely that you could catch a cold or flu virus. 

5. Bacteria growth

Your pillows could be harbouring a dirty secret. 

If there's one thing we all know, it's that the combination of water and warmth equals a rapid growth of bacteria. Just think how much bacteria will be growing on your pillow if you sleep with wet hair! The warmth from your head will make the damp pillow the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria and mould. 

You might think that changing your bedsheets frequently will help, but the dampness from your hair will have penetrated into the pillow. Do you really want to rest your head on a bacteria haven every night? 

6. Causes dandruff

It's not your shampoo!

The warmth of your head and the prolonged dampness of your hair will cause bacteria and fungi to multiply on your scalp as well as your pillow. Sleeping with damp hair also strips the natural oils away from your hair as they are easily absorbed by the pillow's fabric along with the excess moisture. 

The combination of bacteria growth and the loss of natural oils will make your scalp more likely to develop dandruff, and who wants that? 

7. Makes your hair dull 

glossy hair
Maintain the shine!

When the water is absorbed from your hair into the pillow's fabric the natural oils are taken too. Your hair will look so much duller and dehydrated without these oils. 

Dehydrated hair is also much more likely to break. Remember that there is a big difference between hair that is dry to the touch and hair that is dehydrated of natural oils. 

8. Can cause hair loss

hair loss
It's highly contagious! ©kalhh

Can you believe this? Going to bed with wet hair can result in hair loss and, more specifically, scalp ringworm. Scalp ringworm is a type of fungal infection, caused by warm and damp conditions. 

It's highly contagious, so take care to wash anything that has come into contact with your scalp. We'd rather grow long hair than lose it! 

9. It'll give you acne 

Say goodbye to spots! ©Kjerstin_Michaela

If your pillow is crawling with bacteria, chances are you'll soon be experiencing a break out of acne. Your skin will thank you for drying your hair before you sleep. 

What you should do instead

You can still avoid damage.

Sleeping with wet hair might cut a few corners, but to avoid any of the above, here's what you can do:

  • Wash your hair earlier in the evening - this will allow it to air dry before bed, without dampening your pillow. 
  • Sleep with a silk pillowcase - this will reduce friction and prevent breakage. 
  • Dry your hair with a t-shirt - this will cause less damage than a regular towel or prolonged blow drying.  
  • Apply a leave-in conditioner to strengthen your hair.
  • Never sleep with wet hair if you have hair extensions - they will become tangled and matted.
  • If you do sleep with wet hair, consider putting a waterproof pillow cover on your pillow and change fabric pillow cases every second day. 

 Do you ever go to bed with wet hair? Let us know in the comments below! 


Joanne A


Expert in finding beautiful solutions for small and rented spaces. Would happily spend the rest of my life shopping for homewares and watching Disney movies - I only wish I had Cinderella's army of mice to help me clean!

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  1. Author Mary , on November 7, 2018 at 8:17 am

    NO I don't for exactly the one of the reasons you mentioned, Sticking up, uncontrollable hair next day !

    1. Author Joanne A on November 8, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Good to hear, Mary!

  2. Author June bowen on November 7, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Thank you for telling this as I never new this would happen so I will remember this but I must say that I have never gone to bed with wet heair and I don't think I ever will

    1. Author Joanne A on November 8, 2018 at 9:15 am

      You're welcome, June!

  3. Author Julie on November 9, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Being Chinese.. I was told you will get headaches later on in life...

    1. Author Joanne A on November 9, 2018 at 11:39 am

      That's really interesting, Julie! Do you think it's true?


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