7 Bedtime Mistakes That Cause Hair Damage - eMediHealth (2023)

Most women have a dedicated skin care routine for bedtime. However, such diligence is rarely shown for the hair – even though it is an integral part of one’s appearance.

7 Bedtime Mistakes That Cause Hair Damage - eMediHealth (1)


Just like your skin, your hair health is also affected by triggers such as stress, inadequate nutrition, or hormonal imbalances.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, excessive emotional stress in the past year has led to increased hair loss in minority communities.(1)

Hair shedding can be significantly accelerated by months of stress, which in turn makes one even more distressed, thus triggering a vicious cycle. Having a proper hair care routine may help reduce the levels of hair loss in such cases.


When it comes to hair care, there is no one-size-fits-all regimen. Different people have different hair types that require varied products and levels of care. Nevertheless, there are certain simple rules you can follow to keep your hair strong and healthy. (2)

Here is a list of common hair mistakes many people make at bedtime and steps to avoid them:

1. Sleeping with knotted hair

It is important to brush or comb your hair before going to bed. Your scalp has sebaceous glands underneath it that produce natural oils known as sebum, which is your hair’s natural moisturizer.

Brushing your hair before bed helps distribute this sebum all over them. (2) It also helps get rid of tangles and knots that lead to hair fall.

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Make sure to comb your hair using a detangler brush or wide-toothed comb before you head to sleep.

2. Using unwashed pillowcases

Hygiene is necessary for every aspect of your health, and hair is no exception. Your hair rests on your pillows for at least 5–8 hours every day while you sleep. Always use clean, thoroughly washed pillowcases for your pillows, and remember to change them at least once a week. (3)

Dirty pillowcases will end up transferring the dust and germs to your hair, scalp, and even your face while you sleep, resulting in acne or folliculitis. Scalp infections could damage your hair follicles and lead to significant hair loss.

3. Sleeping with untied hair

7 Bedtime Mistakes That Cause Hair Damage - eMediHealth (2)

Sleeping with your hair loose may cause hair fall. Tossing and turning in bed at night tugs at your hair roots and increases shedding, especially for long hair.

If your hair is on the longer side, it may be best to braid it loosely before going to sleep. This helps secure your hair and reduce knots or tangles. Braiding your hair can also help lock in moisture naturally and boost hair growth. (4)

Make sure that your braids are loosely tied – to prevent further pressure and tugging on your scalp that may increase hair loss instead of reducing it.

4. Sleeping with hair styling products on

Hair products such as setting sprays or hair color sprays dry your hair out. (5) Dry and damaged hair tends to break easily, leading to hair loss. Also, hair is at its weakest when wet, so it’s best to avoid going to bed soon after washing your hair.

Instead, apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair to counteract the drying effect of hair spray before going to bed.


5. Tying hair up before sleeping

7 Bedtime Mistakes That Cause Hair Damage - eMediHealth (3)

Sleep plays a crucial role in hair growth. Your body secretes a hormone called melatonin while you sleep, which stimulates hair follicles to promote hair growth.

Plus, it is important to keep your hair follicles relaxed during sleep so that melatonin can do its magic. Tight hairstyles such as ponytails and buns can excessively strain your scalp and pull hair from its roots. (3)

Always make sure to untie a tight hairdo and remove any pins or clips from your hair before sleeping.

6. Not using overnight hydrating hair serums

Hair serums boost hair growth and reduce hair damage. (6) There are many types of hair serums available nowadays such as hydrating hair serums, peptide serums for hair growth, and moisture serums for curly hair.

You can buy a silicone-free hair serum for your scalp or use natural hair serums such as diluted aloe vera gel.


Hair serums are best applied before bedtime to allow your scalp to absorb the product overnight, so that you wake up to soft, frizz-free hair.


Massage 2–3 tablespoons of warm coconut oil all over your scalp and hair at least twice a week. Do not use hair serums or dry shampoos on oiled hair.

7. Blow-drying soaking-wet hair

7 Bedtime Mistakes That Cause Hair Damage - eMediHealth (4)

Blow-dryers are known to cause dryness and damage your hair. It is best to avoid using them altogether.

But if you must use a blow-dryer, keep in mind the following:

  • Always towel dry your wet hair and let them dry naturally before using dry heat. (7) Cold dry your hair with a hairdryer afterward to prevent dizziness or dullness.
  • Always keep the hairdryer at a distance of at least 6 inches from your hair while using it to reduce hair damage or prevent accidental burning. (7)

Other Tips to Improve Hair Health

Here are a few other tips you can follow to improve your hair health:

1. Massage your scalp

Scalp massages increase blood circulation to the hair follicles and nourish them. (8) This increases hair growth and makes your hair stronger.


Not just that, massaging your scalp before bedtime can relax your head muscles and help you sleep better.

2. Use dry shampoo

Dry shampoo absorbs excess oil and sebum produced by the scalp. Using it at night can make your hair less greasy and can reduce dandruff. However, dry shampoos should not be used regularly as an alternative to liquid ones.

3. Use satin/silk pillowcases

Using satin or silk pillowcases helps reduce friction against the hair that can damage the hair cuticles and cause breakage or shedding.

Silk and satin are soft fabrics and help reduce frizz and dryness. They also help improve blood circulation to your scalp.


4. Drink water before bed

Drinking an adequate amount of water every day is essential for hair and skin health. It keeps your scalp hydrated from within, which contributes to soft and healthy hair.

Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily to boost hair growth and repair hair damage.

5. Trim your tresses as needed

7 Bedtime Mistakes That Cause Hair Damage - eMediHealth (5)

The ends of your hair are extremely sensitive and get damaged easily. They are the oldest part of your hair and hence usually dry out sooner than the rest of your hair.

This leads to split ends and dull-looking hair. The split ends gradually extend to tear the whole strand, which not only makes your hair look dull but also hinders hair growth.

This is why it is very important to trim your hair regularly to get rid of split ends and to facilitate speedy and healthy hair growth.

6. Avoid dry air

Dry air can strip the moisture from your hair, making it excessively dry. If your bedroom feels arid, install a humidifier to impart moisture to the air. Sleeping near a humidifier can help add moisture to your hair overnight.

Can Sleeping With a Silk Cap Reduce Hair Damage?

7 Bedtime Mistakes That Cause Hair Damage - eMediHealth (6)

A silk cap cocoons your hair and keeps it from rubbing against the pillow during sleep. Given that silk is itself a very soft, slippery fabric, it does not cause any friction against the hair as well.

So yes, going to bed with a silk cap on can help protect your hair from unnecessary damage or breakage while you sleep.

Final Word

Good sleep is essential for a healthy body. Your body recharges itself while sleeping, and the hair is no exception. Damage repair, nutrient absorption, and hair growth are all vital processes that occur in your scalp tissues overnight.

Practicing a proper hair care routine at bedtime can further rejuvenate and strengthen your hair.


  1. Phillips TG, Slomiany WP, Robert Allison II. Hair loss: Common causes and treatment. American Family Physician. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2017/0915/p371.html. Published September 15, 2017.
  2. Gavazzoni Dias MFR. Hair cosmetics: An overview. International journal of trichology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4387693/. Published 2015.
  3. Mayo TT, Callender VD. The art of prevention: It’s too tight-loosen up and let your hair down. International journal of women’s dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8072502/. Published January 29, 2021.
  4. Okereke UR, Simmons A, Callender VD. Current and emerging treatment strategies for hair loss in women of color. International journal of women’s dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6374709/. Published January 23, 2019.
  5. W; PGT. Effects of hair sprays on colour perception: A hyperspectral imaging approach to shine and chroma on heads. International journal of cosmetic science. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27533123/.
  6. Majeed M, Majeed S, Nagabhushanam K, Mundkur L, Neupane P, Shah K. Clinical study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a hair serum product in healthy adult male and female volunteers with hair fall. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7522433/. Published September 24, 2020.
  7. Lee Y, Kim Y-D, Hyun H-J, Pi L-Q, Jin X, Lee W-S. Hair shaft damage from heat and drying time of hair dryer. Annals of dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3229938/. Published November 2011.
  8. Koyama T, Kobayashi K, Hama T, Murakami K, Ogawa R. Standardized scalp massage results in increased hair thickness by inducing stretching forces to dermal papilla cells in the subcutaneous tissue. Eplasty. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4740347/. Published January 25, 2016.
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7 Bedtime Mistakes That Cause Hair Damage - eMediHealth? ›

Detangle Your Hair Before Bed

One of the simplest ways to protect your hair at night is by brushing or combing through your strands thoroughly. This will help detangle your hair and evenly distribute its natural oils from the roots to the ends.

How can I sleep to prevent hair damage? ›

9 (Simple) Ways to Protect Your Hair While Sleeping
  1. Splurge on a silk pillowcase. Thinking of investing in a silk pillowcase? ...
  2. Dry your hair before bed. ...
  3. Brush your hair before bed. ...
  4. Don't sleep with your hair tied up! ...
  5. Scrunchies over bobbles. ...
  6. Apply some dry shampoo. ...
  7. Use a silk scarf. ...
  8. Apply an overnight treatment.
Apr 29, 2020

Should you brush your hair before you sleep? ›

Detangle Your Hair Before Bed

One of the simplest ways to protect your hair at night is by brushing or combing through your strands thoroughly. This will help detangle your hair and evenly distribute its natural oils from the roots to the ends.

How do you tie your hair while sleeping at night? ›

When you braid your hair too tightly or sleep in a ponytail, it can tangle your hair and cause breakage. Hence, a top bun covered with a satin scarf is how you should tie your hair while sleeping. Using Metal or Rubber Hair Ties: Never, we repeat, never tie your hair with a metal or a rubber hair tie.

Is it better to sleep with your hair up or down long hair? ›

Tie Up Your Hair

Sleeping with your hair down seems like the most natural way to go but can actually be doing more harm than good, especially for those with long hair. "Never go to bed without tying your hair up (for long hair), as loose hair can tangle.

How often should you wash your hair? ›

When to wash. Rossi generally tells his patients they should wash their hair once or twice per week. But if you've had chemical treatments that can make your hair drier — such as bleach, perms or relaxers — you might want to wash it less than once weekly to avoid breaking or brittle hair or split ends, he said.

Does poor sleep affect hair? ›

Sleep deprivation is a form of stress and stress is known to affect hair loss. It can cause temporary hair loss conditions such as telogen effluvium, and can also exacerbate hereditary hair loss in both men and women with a genetic predisposition to androgenic alopecia.

What can I leave in my hair overnight? ›

If you want to add moisture to your hair, banana and honey are two ingredients that work well in an overnight hair mask.

When should you not brush your hair? ›

You should never brush your hair while it is wet. Wet hair is susceptible to breakage, and regularly brushing it while it is wet can do some real damage. Use a wide-tooth comb in the shower to distribute conditioner evenly and help remove tangles.

Why brush in the morning if you brush before bed? ›

Brushing in the morning cleans off the bacteria that may have settled overnight, while incorporating teeth brushing into your nightly routine removes food particles and acid that your teeth may have encountered during the day.

How many times should you brush your hair before bed? ›

With that in mind, De Marco recommends brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. This is a healthy way to distribute your scalp's natural oils through your hair — but only if you do it gently. “Vigorous brushing, even if only once a day, will cause breakage and damage your hair,” he says.

What is the best sleeping position for hair growth? ›

There isn't a sleeping position that promotes or prevents hair loss. Unfortunately, there isn't a sleeping position for hair growth, either. If you're a side-sleeper, stomach-sleeper or prefer to sleep on your back, you can literally rest assured in the position you like best.

Why should you tie your hair up at night? ›

Should You Tie Your Hair Up At Night? 'It's much better to tie your hair up before you go to bed, particularly if you have long hair, so that it doesn't tangle during the night and suffer breakage the next morning when you try and brush it out,' explains Dr Alia.

Is it better to sleep with socks on or off? ›

Research suggests that wearing socks to bed can help people not only fall asleep faster, but sleep longer and wake up fewer times throughout the night. One study found that young men wearing socks fell asleep 7.5 minutes faster, slept 32 minutes longer, and woke up 7.5 times less often than those not wearing socks.

What hairstyle should you sleep with your hair in? ›

Top Protective Hairstyles for Sleeping
  • Loose pineapple bun. Creating a loose pineapple bun is one of the most popular protective hairstyles for women with curly hair. ...
  • Braided bun. ...
  • Twisted top bun. ...
  • Classic loose braid. ...
  • French braids. ...
  • Bantu knots. ...
  • Large twists. ...
  • Overnight rollers.
Jan 26, 2023

Should I sleep without a pillow? ›

It's generally recommended to use a pillow if you sleep on your back or side. However, what's most important is that you feel comfortable and pain-free in bed. If you have neck or back pain, or if you have spine condition like scoliosis, sleeping without a pillow may be unsafe.

How often should you wash your bedsheets? ›

Experts recommend washing or changing sheets once a week. In this post we cover how best to do it, tips, and why it's good advice to follow.

How often should you shower? ›

How often should you shower? While there is no ideal frequency, experts suggest that showering several times per week is plenty for most people (unless you are grimy, sweaty, or have other reasons to shower more often). Short showers (lasting three or four minutes) with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice.

How many times a week should you shower? ›

Many doctors say a daily shower is fine for most people. (More than that could start to cause skin problems.) But for many people, two to three times a week is enough and may be even better to maintain good health.

Does lack of vitamin D cause hair loss? ›

Having a vitamin D deficiency makes people more likely to experience hair loss and many other problems. People concerned about vitamin D deficiency-related hair loss should consult a doctor who will likely suggest supplements, dietary changes, and spending more time outdoors to help combat the deficiency.

How many hours of sleep is healthy? ›

How Much Sleep Do I Need?
Age GroupRecommended Hours of Sleep Per Day
Newborn0–3 months14–17 hours (National Sleep Foundation)1 No recommendation (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)2
Teen13–18 years8–10 hours per 24 hours2
Adult18–60 years7 or more hours per night3
61–64 years7–9 hours1
5 more rows
Sep 14, 2022

Can lying down too much cause hair loss? ›

Can the way you sleep cause hair loss? The answer to this frequently asked question is no. Your sleeping position whether it be on your side or back doesn't stop nutrients from getting to your scalp. Nor does it prevent blood from flowing to the hair follicles.

Does leaving conditioner in your hair overnight help? ›

Leave-in conditioners should be left on the hair for longer or overnight to get the product's maximum benefits. When you leave it overnight, the conditioner hydrates and nourishes your hair shafts to make it smoother and softer. However, you should wash off traditional rinse-out conditioners after a few minutes.

What should I do with my hair the night before washing it? ›

Travers does say that if you must wash your hair at night it's a good idea to dry it before you go to sleep or you can put your hair in a loose braid to help contain your tresses and reduce knotting and breakage.

Should you brush your hair before or after shower? ›

Most people assume they should comb hair after washing it, but in fact the best way to ensure tangle-free hair is to brush out knots before even getting in the shower. Then, rather than scrubbing you should apply the shampoo close to the roots and gently massage the product onto your scalp and into your hair.

Do you lose more hair when you don't brush it? ›

"Yes, if you don't brush daily, you will notice more hair in your brush or when your shower drains after you give yourself a nice shampoo and scrub your scalp," says Manetti. Taylor agrees, "If you don't brush your hair every day, you will notice more hair is coming out at one time.

What brush is best before bed? ›

Use a boar bristle brush or a wide-tooth comb to brush your hair from root to tip before bed. Not only does this remove snarls, it also helps distribute natural oils to your hair while you sleep for extra conditioning.

What can I add to warm water before bed for teeth? ›

You can enjoy the benefits of your warm lemon drink and reduce the risk of damage to your teeth. Here are a few recommendations: Mixing just a squeeze of lemon juice in 250ml of warm water will help to lessen the acidity.

Should I brush my teeth right after waking up? ›

Brushing your teeth right away when you wake up helps to rid your teeth of this harmful plaque and bacteria. Brushing also coats your teeth with a protective barrier against the acids in your food.

Is it better to brush or comb your hair? ›

Incorrect brushing, and using the wrong type of brush, can be taxing on both your strands and your scalp. We recommend using a comb to ease out tangles, followed by a brush for styling.

Should you brush your hair in the shower? ›

Typically twice a day, right? But did you know that you should also brush it in the shower? When you brush in the shower, not only are you preventing tangles, but you're also taking care of your hair and scalp while at the same time saving yourself time!

Which comb is best for thin hair? ›

A soft bristle brush is best for thinning hair because it's gentle and won't rip out your hair. If you're looking for more volume at the crown, you can use a teasing brush, which is smaller and designed to reach the root of the hair.

What is the best sleeping position to prevent hair loss? ›

It doesn't matter whether you usually sleep on your side, on your back, or on your stomach. Since your hair follicles aren't impacted by the position in which you sleep, you don't need to worry about damaging them or causing hair loss.

What is the best time to wake up for hair growth? ›

Going to sleep earlier might seem obvious, but there's a science to why 10 pm (or earlier) is the best for optimal sleep and hair growth. Around 10 pm, your body starts to produce melatonin as a way of winding you down and getting you prepped for rest.

What time of the day does hair grow? ›

But since your metabolism slows down at night, so does your hair growth, explains Waldman. Goddard adds that the primetime hair growing hours are between 10-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.

What is the healthiest way to put your hair up? ›

The low bun is an absolute classic hairstyle for healthy hair. With that bun sitting nicely on the nape of your neck, gravity won't be tugging on your hair follicles anytime soon. If you've done a low bun before, you might like to create a ponytail before twisting your hair around itself.

Why should I cover my hair at night? ›

Aside from cutting down on frizz, less friction means your hair stays tangle-free and protected from your nighttime tossing and turning. Using hair wraps for sleeping, especially in conjunction with an overnight conditioning mask, also helps to reduce dryness.

What is a protective hairstyle for bed? ›

Protective Hairstyle #1: The Loose Plait

A really easy way to manage your hair overnight is with a loose plait. If you sleep on your back, this protective sleep hairstyle will sit flat against your back, but you can always do a side plait or two side plaits if you're worried about it being annoying.

How can I sleep without damaging my hair? ›

9 (Simple) Ways to Protect Your Hair While Sleeping
  1. Splurge on a silk pillowcase. Thinking of investing in a silk pillowcase? ...
  2. Dry your hair before bed. ...
  3. Brush your hair before bed. ...
  4. Don't sleep with your hair tied up! ...
  5. Scrunchies over bobbles. ...
  6. Apply some dry shampoo. ...
  7. Use a silk scarf. ...
  8. Apply an overnight treatment.
Apr 29, 2020

Is it bad to braid your hair wet at night? ›

According to Branda, sleeping with wet braided hair is an absolute “no.” “You're giving bacteria a place to grow hiding in the weave of the wet braid,” she explains. Plus, she points out that wet hair is more elastic when wet than when it's dry, so all the pulling while braiding can result in breakage.

Does the way you sleep affect your hair? ›

Sleeping Position and Hair Growth

Whether you're a stomach, side, or back sleeper, rest assured that your preferred sleep position will not have a negative impact on the health of your hair.

How do you wake up with good hair? ›

Give yourself a scalp massage.

Not only does a quick rubdown help you wind down after a long day, it also boosts hair health. By gently rubbing your scalp with your fingertips before bed, you'll distribute natural oils, leaving you with shinier strands in the morning.

What is the comfiest hairstyle to sleep in? ›

Sleeping with hair in a bun

A messy bun is loose, relaxed, and very comfortable to sleep in. Your hair won't move around as much when it is tied into a bun, which limits the knots and tangles. The hair also won't brush against your face at night, so it won't be as oily either.

How do you sleep with short hair so it looks good in the morning? ›

Use a Silk Pillowcase

"Cotton fibers usually rough up cuticle and hair, making it messier. Silk or satin is softer and won't mess up hair," agrees hairstylist Tommy Buckett. Sleeping with a silk pillowcase is also much better for your skin, so it's a win-win situation.

Why do people braid their hair at night? ›

Keeping your hair in braids reduces friction between your hair and pillow, reducing hair breakage. Amp it up, and get silk pillowcases for even less friction! It also keeps your hair tamed and more structured, resulting in less snarls and frustrating tangles when you wake up in the morning.

Is it normal to see my scalp when my hair is wet? ›

It's normal for your hair to look slightly thin when it's wet. This is because the tens of thousands of strands of hair on your head tend to clump together when exposed to moisture, resulting in a larger gap between each group of hairs that reveals more of your scalp.

Is silk or satin scarf better for hair? ›

Silk tends to be a moisture-wicking textile, which may put your pattern at risk of waking up thirsty. Satin, in contrast, is a minimally-absorbent fabric, which means it won't suck the natural moisture from your curls or soak in any product you're wearing to bed.

What should I wrap my hair in overnight? ›

Sleeping with a silk scarf can protect your hair from frizz, damage, and breakage. This article discusses the protective benefits of silk head wraps and how to use them.

What does wrapping your hair before bed do? ›

Wearing a hair wrap not only allows you to control the shape of your hair during the night but also prevents the atmosphere from affecting it. Dry air will not cause it to become brittle overnight. On the other hand, moisture in the air will not cause its volume to expand.


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