How to Sleep with Curly Hair – Tips to Protect Your Curls Overnight!

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Do you want to know how to sleep with curly hair? If you have curly or wavy hair you know that tossing and turning at night can sometimes lead to frizz and tangles. You can also be left with dents or flattened curls the morning.

To avoid waking up with a matted, frizzy mess it’s important you take steps to protect your hair whilst you sleep.

Fortunately there are many solutions to protect curly hair at night! This post looks at everything you can do to protect your curls so they are still bouncy and fresh the following morning.

how to sleep with curly hair

It’s no secret that curly hair can be difficult to manage. Curls can easily become frizzy, and are more prone to dryness and breakage that any other hair type.

If you have curly hair, preserving your curls overnight is an essential part of a healthy hair care routine. This can be done with protective styles like a loose bun, the two-strand twist, the pineapple method, mini brands or a French braid.

There are also accessories such as silk or satin pillowcases, or bonnets that also work well to protect the hair at night.

This post looks at all the ways you can protect curly hair while you sleep

How to Sleep with Curly Hair

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. You can read my full the disclosure here.

Protective Styles

Protective hairstyles tuck the hair away and reduce tugging, pulling or breakage during the night. They prevent the hair from becoming frizzy and help to protect the ends. Putting your hair into a protective hairstyle involves grouping the strands together so they are less likely to become frayed while you sleep.

Here are some suggested styles to put your hair into while you sleep:

A Loose Bun

A loose bun is a great protective style to sleep in. It’s simple to do and doesn’t require any special products or tools.

To do: Gather the hair at the top of your hair as if you were creating a high ponytail. Then twist the hair by wrapping it around itself until it forms a loose bun. It should look like a cinnamon roll. You can put a net around the hair to keep it in place, or secure it with a silk or satin hair tie.

This protective style works well for all curl types, including kinky hair. Amazon sell some good hair nets for keeping your bun hairstyle in place during the night.

2 X Nylon Sleep-In Hair Nets (Dark Brown) With Elastic Edge - Stretch To Fit - By CS Beauty
  • Let Your Hair Stay Securely In Place. Elasticated Edge For Universal Fit.
  • Great For Any Hospital, Lab, Manufacturing, Restaurant Or Food Service Employee.
  • Ideal For Dancers, Horse Riding & General Styling
  • Designed To Fit Gently Over Hair To Help Hold It In Place Whilst Sleeping
  • Also Suitable For Hygienic Purposes

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Traditional Pineapple Hairstyle

Another way to sleep with curly hair is by putting it into a pineapple hairstyle. This style stops your curls becoming flattened or frizzy in the night.

You can create this style by using a satin pineapple cap. Firstly secure the hair in a high ponytail on top of your head. Gently pull your curls through the opening at the top of the cap, and secure the cap over your head. You can spritz the hair with a styling spray or leave in conditioner before going to bed.

The pineapple style is useful because it keeps curls off the face, stopping you from sleeping on them and squashing them flat.

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Loose Braid

A loose braid is a simple and low-maintenance way to protect curls while you sleep. Loose braids are good if you want to maintain your natural curl pattern since tighter braids can add more crimps and twists to your hair.

A looser braid or a french braid is simple to do. Gather a big chunk of hair at the top of your head and separate it into three even strands. Start braiding your hair and add new hair by taking new strands from either side of the head. Continue until you reach the nape of the neck. Finish the braid with the remaining hair and fasten with a satin scrunchie.

This protective style works well for all curl types, including kinky hair.

Two-strand Twist

A two-strand twist is a suitable protective style for those with dry, curly or coarse hair. It involves splitting a section of the hair into two and then wrapping the sections around each other to create a rope like appearance. Then secure the ends with hair ties or bobby pins.

You may wish to apply a gel or cream before you start twisting your hair as this can help to moisturise the hair during the night and prevent frizz or breakage.

Twisted Sista Amazing Dream Curls Cream Gel with Coconut, Avocado and Almonds Oils, 354ml
  • With coconut, avocado and almond oils
  • Recommended for thin, or wavy curl textures
  • Elongates curls while infusing moisture
  • Soft a crunch less hold up to 48 hours
  • Free from sulphates, parabens, phthalates

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mini Braids

Mini braids are a cute, low-maintenance way to protect curly hair. This style doesn’t need any product or tools and it is perfect for protecting second day curls. It’s a good choice if you want to add more crimps to your natural curls.

To do: Part your natural hair into four or more sections and braid each section away from the face. Secure the ends with a satin elastic band.

This is an excellent style for all curl types, including kinky hair.

High Ponytail

A high ponytail is a great style if you want to protect your hair while sleeping. It helps keep your hair from tangling and becoming frizzy all night long. It’s also extremely easy and simple to do.

To do: Pull the top half of your hair back into a ponytail. You want to make sure that the hair is pulled back away from the face, so it does not tangle or rub against your pillowcase in the night.

Make sure to tie your hair in a loose ponytail to ensure you are not left with any dents from the elastic the next day. There are some great silk hair ties available on Amazon to prevent your hair becoming damaged in this style.

Ethlomoer 100% Silk Hair Scrunchies Set, Pure 22MM Mulberry Silk Hair Tie Gentle For Women &...
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Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bantu Knots

Bantu knots were created by the Zulu people of southern Africa. They are a protective hairstyle where the hair is twisted and wrapped until it forms a knot on top of the head.

To create this style separate the hair into sections. Twist the sections around themselves until they form a coil. Keep wrapping the coiled hair around itself until it forms a tiny bun on top of your head. Secure the bun by tucking the ends under, or use hair pins. Do the same process with the other sections of hair.

Bantu knots are a great way to sleep with curly hair at night. They’re suitable for second day hair and they help protect the hair from frizzing or getting flattened during your sleep by placing all curls into one area.

This style is suitable for all curl types, including kinky hair.

Related: 5 Easy, Quick Protective Hairstyles to Do Before Bed

Silk or Satin Pillowcase

A silk or satin pillowcase will help protect your hair from going frizzy, or getting snagged while you sleep. It’s a great choice for those who find their hair gets knotty and tangled very easily at night.

The smooth texture of the material creates less friction on your hair than regular cotton pillowcases. This means your hair is less likely to get damaged in the night. Silk also prevents your hair from becoming dried out and helps your hair to retain the moisture from your products.

ALASKA BEAR 100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase for Hair and Skin Health, Hypoallergenic, Standard Size...
  • ✅【Organic Silk】We use pure Mulberry silk as our main fabric, which is an organic fiber with a...
  • ✅【Natural Beauty Therapy】Dermatologists recommend natural soft silk pillows for hair and face...
  • ✅【Benifits for Skin】Prevent sleep wrinkles by providing a slippery surface to slide over...
  • ✅【Benifits for Hair】Protect curly hair and keep your hairdo nice while you sleep, and you...
  • ✅【Hidden Zipper】Your pillow won’t slip out the case. Beautifully finished, with interior...

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Satin bonnet or scarf

Sleeping in a satin bonnet or scarf is another great way to protect your curls at night. It’s also a more travel friendly option compared to a silk pillowcase.

This technique helps prevent frizz and flatness in the morning, adds extra moisture to your hair and reduces frizz. If you use this method, try adding some oil to your hair before putting on the silk scarf or bonnet. This is a great option if you have especially dry hair as the scarf can help keep your hair moisturised during the night.

To do: Pin up your hair and add a satin scarf or bonnet to cover it. Make sure that all of your hair is tucked inside, so you don’t get any frizz where your hair comes out of the bonnet or wrap.

Using a silk bonnet is my favorite way to sleep with curly hair since it’s easy to use and comfortable. I found some protective styles were uncomfortable at night, but with a silk bonnet I got a good night’s sleep.

2PCS Large Satin Bonnet, Raibaubl Silk Bonnet With Elastic Soft Band, Big sleep cap For Women Hair...
  • 【PREMIUM QUALITY】The Sleep Cap Is Made Of High Quality Satin Fabric, Smooth And Ultra Soft To...
  • 【SIZE FITS MOST PEOPLE】One Size Fit Most.The Diameter Of This Satiny Sleep Cap Is About 14...
  • 【PROTECT HAIR】This Sleep Hat Can Protect Hair Maximally, Keeps The Hair From Knotting. It Also...
  • 【NO MARK】Hate Headache Or Leaving A Mark On The Head? Our Soft Elastic Makes You Feel...
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Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

T-Shirt Turban

Using an old cotton T-shirt for sleeping works just as well as a satin scarf or bonnet. A long sleeve shirt works best. T-shirt turbans help to protect curls from frizz, knots and damage at night. It’s easy to take off in the morning and doesn’t snag your hair.

To do: Simply lay the t-shirt on a flat surface with the sleeve end closest to you. Next, lean forward so your hair falls onto the centre of the t-shirt. Then take the bottom of the shirt and place it at the nape of your neck. Tie the shirt sleeves in a knot behind your head. Tuck in any loose ends, tighten the knot and you’re done!

If you don’t have an old t-shirt, you can also use a microfibre towel. There are some great ones available which have elasticated edges so they stay securely on your head throughout the night.

If you go to bed with wet hair, then wrapping it up in a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel is the best way to sleep to get bouncy curls the next morning.

Laicky 3 Pack Microfiber Hair Towel Wrap Super Absorbent Twist Turban Dry Hair Caps with Buttons...
  • 【 Super Absorbing Water.】Microfiber material: fabulous & do wick away moisture whilst wearing....
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  • 【No slipping , no dripping】A button and a loop at the back that stops it from unraveling. Simple...
  • 【Soft and comfortable】It is soft and lightweight. The towel is much gentler than normal towels...
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Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Related: How to Plop Your Hair with a T-Shirt Towel

This Post Was All About How to Sleep With Curly Hair

Thank you for reading my post about how to sleep with curly hair. If you have used any of these methods then please leave me a comment below and let me know how you got on. These techniques can work for all curly hair types. They are simple ways to prevent hair breakage and protect the hair follicle while you sleep. The result is less frizzy hair and better curl definition!

Olivia Herlihy RN

Olivia is a hair and skincare enthusiast with over 10 years experience working in healthcare and over 5 years as a Registered Nurse. She gained an online following after creating a natural haircare routine which completely transformed her hair. Olivia has since written an eBook on Ayurvedic hair care to help others use the same formula to improve their own hair.

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