Is it bad to sleep with wet hair? I hope you all would have heard your mother saying to avoid sleeping with wet hair, probably if you take a late-night shower because you might catch up common cold. And you would probably ignore this advice as there are no specified scientific findings to confirm it. Taking a night shower after a tiring day can help you to de-stress.
The National Library of Medicine systematically reviews how a warm shower can improve sleep with wet hair, as a change in body temperature can make you quickly fall asleep. It is a common practice for some to wash their hair at night and go to bed with wet hair.
No research shows a relationship between having wet hair and getting sick. But little does anyone know that sleeping with damp hair can make you fall sick and give you other problems.
Additionally, warm or damp environments may cause bacterial or fungal infections on the face or scalp. Despite these drawbacks, why do people sleep with their hair wet? Is it bad to sleep with wet hair?
1. Why do People Sleep with Wet Hair?
Is it bad to sleep with wet hair? The day usually starts with going to work early morning, where you have to set your hair. Then you face a lot of pollution, and the hair looks less presentable while you are back home.
You will want to wash your hair, and you do not have any energy left to set the hair dry. Blow drying gives heat that may cause hair damage.
So, you may want it to dry while sleeping. It may look like the best option, but practically it can have hidden dangers. Is it bad to sleep with wet hair? Let us discuss the link between the hair and the scalp.
2. The Connection between the Hair and the Scalp
Is it bad to sleep with wet hair? On average, a person has more than 100,000 hairs on the head, from which you lose a little every day. You lose 50-100 strands of hair by washing, brushing, or combing it.
Each hair on the scalp grows and lasts for nearly 2-6 years. Then the hair falls, and new hair replaces the same hair follicle. This cycle of hair growth, falling, and replacement with new hair is a process that maintains the balance in the number of hairs on the head.
The scalp is a part of the skin that covers the skull. It is a house for hair follicles through which the hair grows. The hair on the scalp plays a crucial role like:
Assuring the skin’s mechanical protection from external factors
Enhancing the skin’s sensory function
Increasing the body’s ability to regulate its temperature
So, if your hairs are sopping wet, the pores or follicles absorb water resulting in hair shaft swelling, increasing the risk of unwanted scalp bacteria, and fungal contamination. The same question is asked again, is it bad to sleep with wet hair?
3. Is it Bad to Sleep with Wet Hair? How Does Sleeping with Wet Hair Affect your Health?
Is it bad to sleep with wet hair? As the damp hair gets dried overnight, some water evaporates in the air, and some get absorbed by pillows. What would be the drawbacks or risks when you go to bed with wet hair?
3.1 Creates Hair Stretching
While you sleep with wet hair, there are chances that hair will stretch beyond lengths resulting in damaged hair. Wet hair usually gets stretched by 30% of its original length without any hair damage. Some irreparable changes occur when hair stretch is between 30-70%.
3.2 Creates Hair Breakage
Hair roots are generally weaker and fragile with damp hair and increase hair breakage when you leave the hair wet. The hair strands are softer and weaker with wet hair making it more vulnerable to damage.
A hairdryer is a great option, but it will damage the hair if used frequently to save time for drying naturally.
When you keep turning on the bed, more friction will break the hair more easily than dry hair resulting in split ends or curly hair. Your hair will appear more knotted with brittle strands.
3.3 Hair Tangling
Apart from hair damage, there are certain circumstances where hairs get tangled while you wake up exhibiting broken strands. Chemically treated hair makes it frailer and more prone to hair damage.
Hair strands comprise a compound pattern of cells and proteins that give resistance and resilience to the hair. Each hair strand gets protection from a layer of cells called hair cuticle. Hair cuticles naturally lift with wet hair making it more exposed to breakage.
These hair cuticles have fatty acids that absorb less water when wet (making them hydrophobic). Certain hair products and cosmetics clear out fatty acids allowing them to take up more water. Hence, hair strands swell, and hair weakens to become frizzy and tangled after it dries.
3.4 Feel Cold
If you sleep with wet hair in an air-conditioned room, you will feel cold, making you feel weak and feverish. Sleeping with wet hair in cold climates, especially during monsoons or winter, you might experience the common cold and shivering.
It is advisable to do a blow dry to avoid cold shivers. Also, you can blow dry your suit or nightwear and bedsheets before your bedtime routine.
3.5 Spend more time on Hair Styling
While sleeping with wet hair, it gets tangled and twisted into weird styles, and it sets the same way in sleep.
As soon as you get ready for your daily work, you have to spend a lot of time combing your hair, styling it, and setting it with a comb to remove tangles. If you have long hair, it will consume more time to set it back in order.
3.6 Weakens Immune System
Besides breakage, sleeping with wet hair also poses other health problems, like catching a cold or a flu virus that can weaken your immune system.
3.7 Bacterial Growth on the Scalp
A combination of wet and warm environments corresponds to the speedy growth of bacteria. The warmth of the head, coupled with a damp pillow and wet hair, goes well with an ultimate breeding ground or hotbed for deadly bacteria.
Also, there is a substantial risk of yeast or fungal infection on the scalp as it is easier for them to grow in the body’s moist areas. It results in other scalp concerns like skin irritation, itchiness, and dryness.
Aspergillus fumigatus is a mycosis and infection of fungi that exist in pillows. People with weakened immune systems observe various respiratory illnesses as it creates an infection called Aspergillosis.
3.8 Creates Dandruff Issues
As seen above, continuous wet hair is a perfect source for bacterial and fungal infections that grows and multiplies on the pillow and scalp.
Wet hair cleans out the natural oils as they get easily absorbed in the pillow’s fabric, along with excess water or moisture. Thus, this fusion of bacterial growth and loss of natural oils will develop more dandruff on the scalp.
Malassezia is also an infection, a dermatitis type that causes dandruff with yellow patches on the head and skin.
3.9 Hair Looks Dull
Sleeping with wet hair absorbs more water, and also you lose natural oil in the pillow’s fabric. You will observe a dry, dull and dehydrated look on your face in the morning after you get up.
Dehydrated hair is likely prone to more hair breakage and thinning. It makes a huge difference between dry hair and dehydrated one.
3.10 Creates Hair Loss
Hair loss is one of the most common drawbacks when going to bed with wet hair. You get a fungal infection called scalp ringworm, a contagious one that affects the scalp to create hair loss.
Scalp ringworm causes a disease called Tinea Capitis that creates issues of itchy scalp and makes it red and swollen.
3.11 Problems of Acne
There is no direct proof that a person will develop acne when sleeping with wet hair. Since sleeping on a damp pillow is the ultimate environment for growing bacteria, it may result in an acne outbreak.
Acne is a problem that occurs in adolescence due to genetic family history or hormonal changes. It appears on the face when the body generates more natural oils making the pores clogged.
When bacteria get trapped in the pores, they get clogged. Clogged pores cause inflammation on the face, called pimples.
So, if you are prone to problems or acne often, a pillow that gets damp with wet hair will worsen the acne, creating more clogged pores. Hence, experts recommend sleeping with hair dry before your bedtime routine.
4. Is it bad to sleep with Wet Hair? Precautions You Can Take
Is it bad to sleep with wet hair? Following simple steps to skip sleeping with wet hair can always prevent hair issues and provide hair care.
The convenient method is that the hair must air dry to the maximum before your slumber time. So, taking a hair shower 2-3 hours before bed is ideal.
Also, ensure your bedroom temperature is within an optimum range. An article from the National Sleep Foundation states that the optimum temperature to sleep in your room should vary between 60°-67°F.
The main remedies to follow to reduce damaging the hair are as follows:
Use a wide-toothed comb to comb the wet hair gently.
Wrap the hair with a towel gently so that it absorbs water and dries off quickly than rubbing with a towel.
Air dry the hair whenever possible.
Avoid using tight rubber bands, and do not pull tightly with a band as there are chances of losing more hair.
Use minimum hair cosmetics as they have many chemicals and need more water to wash them off.
5. Tips to Sleep Safely with Wet Hair
Is it bad to sleep with wet hair? Sleeping with wet hair has a lot of reasons. You may take a hair shower for relaxation and comfort before sleeping. If you find drying your hair before going to bed, then yes, we have some best tips for sleeping with wet hair.
5.1 Wash Hair in the Evening
Washing hair earlier in the evening will give your hair time to dry faster so you can avoid going to bed with wet hair providing ample time for the hair to air dry. If your hair is halfway dry by night, use a blow dryer and blast dry it for some time.
Using a T-shirt for hair drying alleviates the damage more than a blow dryer or a towel.
Note If you have hair extensions, avoid sleeping with wet hair, it will get more matted and tangled.
5.2 Utilize a Silk Pillowcase
Sleeping on a silk pillowcase or with a silk scarf is a better option for the skin since it’s less dry and gives less surface friction than a regular cotton pillowcase as they are extremely rough. The hair strands slide smoothly on the silk surface while you turn on the bed.
It has a milder surface that will help reduce friction even if you sleep with wet hair. Apart from reducing the risk of hair breakage and tangles, some researchers say silk pillow is good for skin care.
As an alternative, you can put a waterproof pillow cover on the pillow and keep changing the fabric pillowcases every alternate day.
5.3 Use a Hair Cap or Hairband
A hair cap protects hair from damage by giving easy friction between the hair and pillow while sleeping with wet hair.
After waking up:
- Flip the hair upside down.
- Separate the hair gently, and flip it back upward.
- Utilize a silk scarf to tie like a hairband to avoid contact with the pillowcase.
5.4 Apply Coconut Oil
Coconut oil protects your hair from damage since it reduces water absorption and protein loss while washing hair for damaged and undamaged hair. Argan oil is another option for moisturizing hair. For frizzy hair, apply an anti-frizz oil to break the frizziness and detangle it.
These oils’ application depends purely on the hair type, so it is advisable to consult a dermatologist or a physician before using oil.
5.5 Use a Conditioner
Hair conditioners help to reduce friction and detangle hair. As it takes out tangles from your hair, it looks very smooth. Hence, they provide hair care, protect the hair cuticle, and decrease damage while you toss or turn in sleep.
Shampoo and conditioner application depends on the personal decision on the hair type, scalp concerns, and lifestyle. A leave-in conditioner is also excellent for hair moisture, protection, and strengthening.
5.6 Following an Earlier Bedtime Routine
Try to lengthen the time between washing the hair and sleeping. It will eliminate creating damp environments for fungus growth. So, start maintaining an earlier bedtime routine so that you have ample time for hair drying.
6. In the End
Is it bad to sleep with wet hair? From hair breaking and split ends to fungal contamination, you can experience several issues and skin problems. I hope you are aware about the pitfalls of sleeping with wet hair after reading this post.
It is always practical to keep dried hair before going to bed. It is preferable to follow the precautions and practices to avoid the after-effects and various health problems of sleeping with wet hair. Seek advice from a medical practitioner or dermatologist for the finest products suitable for your hair.
So, are you taking the correct steps before sleeping with wet hair? If not, start today. Foremost, be very kind to your hair, whether wet or dry, and handle it gently with care.
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