How to Sleep With Braids Without Damaging Your Hair

Megan Dominion


Grown, your own, box braid or shorn; here’s how to ensure a comfortable nights sleep with your braids:

1. Convert to silk bonnets

Silk is the perfect material to protect your braided hair while you sleep. In particular, for synthetic box braids as the protein-based fibres in real silk won’t rub or snag your hair whilst you sleep. Silk helps to reduce friction during the night which can cause frizzing and knots in your hair.

You know the slight halo of hair frizz you can see when you take off your bonnet? Using a silk bonnet will prevent that entirely as the silk fibre structure lacks the properties to “hold onto” the shorter length hairs; that inevitably escape from the braid, which other materials possess. Our Luna Silk Hair Wrap is ideal for sleeping with braids and is available in two sizes, to fit all your hair in regardless of the large structure and volume of your hair. It is made from the finest 22 Momme Mulberry silk and is available in three colours, it also has an adjustable drawstring to control how tight the fit is which our customers love!

Place and wear your Luna silk hair wrap over your braids and voila! You have got yourself a wrapped head of braids ready for the night’s tossing and turning. Check out our guide on how to wear the Luna silk hair wrap  for more information and best results.

2. Prepare your hair for the night 

Prepare your hair by using a light oil or a spray leave-in conditioner to nourish and moisturise your hair which can help to prevent flat or frizzy hair in the morning. It is important to ensure your hair is not too wet otherwise it will go frizzy. If your hair is very dry, apply a rich oil like argan oil from halfway down your hair to the ends, smoothing in a downwards direction. Avoid using heavy creams, butters, and oils on your hair every night, as this can add too much moisture and leave your hair looking wet and greasy.

Massage a generous quantity of oils into your scalp to help stimulate and clean the hair (eucalyptus and menthol blends can smell and feel luxurious). Then, put your hair into the braids of your choice, whether this be tight, thick, or loose braids. Avoid high or intense manipulation hairstyles as they can ultimately damage the roots, think more about loosely gathering or piling up.


3. Wrap it up

Depending on the length and volume of your hair braids you have several style choices. If your braids are jaw length or lower, we find using a loose silk scrunchie or hair tie is more effective than a low turban style.

If you have longer, thicker braids you can section your hair to help twist it up atop your head for sleeping. Start by parting your hair into two equal sections, ensuring they are free of knots and tangles, and it is parted comfortably. Don’t pull the braids back too tightly as this can damage your roots and edges. It is not necessary to pull the braids tightly when using a silk hair wrap as it keeps the braids off your face without pulling at them, keeping the braids secure and in place.

Once your two sections are loosely tied, grab the ends of each braided ponytail, and cross them over the back of your head and back around to the top of your head. Secure the braids at the top of your head with a soft hair tie, preferably a silk one.

Finish by adding your silk hair wrap over the top and you are ready for a great night’s sleep. If you prefer to freestyle with a silk scarf, then here’s a great tutorial on silk scarf tying that’s the kind of vibe we recommend.

4. Sheets and pillowcases

You may find you are unable to sleep comfortably with your hair covered or wrapped up in a bonnet. This is where silk pillowcases and bed sheets can be a great alternative option. They may not help to retain as much moisture as you would when your braids are wrapped in a silk hair wrap or bonnet; but it still provides more benefits to your hair than sleeping on cotton or satin sheets. You may also decide to combine a silk hair wrap and silk pillowcase for superior results.

5. Don’t forget the following tips:

Beyond the fact that wrapping your braids at night can help maintain their freshness, you will be protecting the fragile hair around your hairline and edges; maintaining moisture to your scalp and roots; preventing hair breakage and having fresh edges by the morning. Knowing how to wrap your braids can help make the task easier and less time consuming for you.

Don’t wear your braids for too long

Protective styling is meant to be short-term. You should never keep the braids in for longer than 8 weeks. Any longer than that and the new hair growth will stretch, damage, and eventually break your hair at the roots.

Keep your scalp clean and hydrated

Clean your scalp at least two to three times a week, by using a leave-in conditioner. This will help prevent your hair from drying out and eventually breaking. The easiest way to do this daily is with a spray bottle filled with water, which is the best moisturiser for your scalp.

Avoid high manipulation styles to protect your edges

Resist pulling your braids into tight ponytails or buns; because of their weight and the tension caused by tightly pulled styles, this can cause temporary or permanent hair loss (traction alopecia) — particularly along the hairline.

Wash your braids

The build-up of sweat and the range of products used can be damaging to your hair, it is important to wash your braids at least once every two weeks.

Extend your style time by redoing your edges

Often, after a few weeks your roots have grown out and it’s time to freshen up your braids or cornrows. Rather than re-braiding your entire head, just redo the braids along your hairline.

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.