How to Protect Your Hair From Breakage While You Sleep

Hollie Shirley / Hair & Skincare Editor

Is the way you wear your hair to bed the cause of your hair troubles?

Why is my hair breaking so much?

Hair breakage is caused by so many reasons and for different reasons. These reasons range from diet, heat damage, stress, incorrect brushing/combing, elastic hair ties, high manipulation hairdos, irregular or no hair trims, hypothyroidism, over washing, using the wrong hair products for your hair type and more. Of all these, the most common is over washing and dryness. However, they all have one thing in common: inadequate hair moisture. 

In order to avoid hair breakage, it is important to have a night routine and to wear hair to bed correctly to minimise damage and maximise moisture retention. 

Keep hair moisturized 

The ultimate goal of wearing hair in a special way to bed is to retain moisture, avoid dryness and eventually prevent breakage. Get yourself a spray bottle and fill it up with water. Yes, water is the best moisturizer. You can choose to add a small portion of leave-in conditioners or even natural aloe vera extracts to suit you. 

Detangle your hair gently as you spritz your hair with water or your homemade moisturizer (or probably purchase an organic hair moisturizer from a trusted store). Part hair into sections and secure portions into twists or very loose knots. Avoid high manipulation hairdos and wear hair into a very loose knot if you must tie your hair up.   

Please note that you shouldn’t get your hair too wet as that isn’t the goal, you want to add a little moisture, not soak your hair. for extra added moisture, consider using an oil treatment instead of water. 

Don’t go to bed with wet hair

While it is important to retain moisture overnight, do not confuse this with going to bed with wet hair. Your hair is in its most fragile state when it is wet, so sleeping with it when it is wet is a one-way ticket to breakage, tangles and split ends, especially if you are an active sleeper with a tendency to toss and turn in your sleep. If you are washing your hair at night, it’s worth making sure you have enough time to let your hair air dry sufficiently.


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Invest in overnight treatments

As hair lovers, we know how important it is to include masks and treatments in our weekly hair care routines.  Take advantage of the downtime while you sleep and apply a hair mask or an intensive oil treatment before bed, leaving it on as an overnight treatment to repair and hydrate your hair.


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Wrap your hair in silk

Whether it is a bonnet, a turban, a scarf, wrap or any head covering at all, ensure that they are made from silk fabric. Wrapping your hair in silk will protect it from the roughness of cotton, and ensure your hair retains moisture, which will help with improving strength over time. This is because of the loose ends of cotton fabrics which snag at your hair strands, causing tangles and eventually breakage. This is not the case with silk head coverings which are soft and ideal for your hair. Read more here about why you should sleep in silk.


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Don’t forget the silk pillowcases 

If you are concerned that your silk wrap will come down before the sun comes up, then you can always invest in a pair of silk pillowcases. They save you the stress of wondering in your dreams about whether your cap is still on, and will also do wonders for your skin. 


Other ways to ensure that you are not wearing your hair wrong to bed include: 

  • removing clip-in hair extensions before going to bed 
  • Try out some of our overnight hairstyles including braiding your hair before bed
  • 4c Hair needs extra care, read more here
  • applying overnight organic hair treatments 
  • leaving in some dry shampoo if your hair is unusually greasy 
  • never using elastic ties. Use fabric (satin or silk) scrunches instead. 
Hollie Shirley
Hair & Skincare Editor

Hollie Shirley is SILKUP’s hair and skincare editor. She’s obsessed with all things hair care and results-driven skincare, that is kind to the environment and your wallet. She has a weakness for limited edition eyeshadows and is always testing out the newest and greatest deep conditioners. Hollie has a passion for hair and is studying Trichology, working towards becoming a Member of the Association of Registered Trichologists.