How Do You Sleep with Curly Hair?

If you have curly hair, you’ve been there: you go to bed with your curls perfectly placed poised… and wake up with frizzy, flattened, or dented curls.

As beautiful as curly hair is, it can also be volatile. An important part of getting curly hair to behave is, well, sleeping right! Your sleeping position, the state of your hair when you go to bed, the kind of pillowcase you use- all this can affect how your curly hair looks and behaves.

So, how do you sleep with curly hair? There is no one answer to this question. But don’t worry, because below, we’ve rounded up the best sleeping practices and hairstyles for preserving the natural beauty of your curly hair.

Protective Hairstyles for Curly Hair

The best way of ensuring the health, shape, and beauty of your curls is by putting them in a protective hairstyle before you sleep. Here are the best ones.

The Loose Bun

Now the most popular and easiest protective hairstyle for curly-haired people is the loose bun. Gather up your curls and form them into a loosely drawn bun on the top of your head using a hair tie, then follow it up with a silk scrunchie for extra protection from friction.

It not only keeps your curls contained (leading to easier hairstyling the next morning) but prevents frizzing as well. You can choose to pair the hairstyle with your favorite hydrating products, such as a leave-in conditioner or curl cream.

The Pineapple

Called so for its appearance, the pineapple is a simple high ponytail made on the top of your head that prevents curls from spilling and spreading as you sleep.

The best time to do the pineapple is with dry hair on a wash day. Also, the ponytail is most suitable for those with tight curls as wavy hair might be too loose to stay in place. Once again, it’s important to use only silk hair ties or scrunchies.

The Mono Pineapple

If you have long curls, you’re better off doing a mono pineapple as it’s easier to do with uniformly long curls. Once again, you’ll be doing a loose and very high ponytail with a fabric hair tie that will keep denting and damage at bay.

Start by separating your curls so that they’re split in half on your head, then form the pineapple.

The Multi Pineapple

This is the pineapple hairstyle for short curly hair, which is difficult to make into a ponytail. In order to work, the curls have to be split into multiple sections before you start.

The Plop

It might have a silly name, but it’s the hairstyle that really makes all the difference for curly hair. As someone with curly hair, you’ve probably already done this before—plopping your wet curls into a cotton T-shirt to encourage fast and easy drying.

But did you know it can be beneficial during sleep as well? A nighttime plop not only keeps your hair in place but promotes faster absorption of any products you’ve used. Plopping works best when you use it in combination with a leave-in conditioner, mousse, gel, or curl cream.

How to plop: After applying the product, place a cotton T-shirt or microfiber towel on a flat surface (like your bed). Then, flip your hair over the T-shirt or towel, allowing it to naturally form into a pile. Afterward, securely tie both ends of the T-shirt/towel around the base of your neck. Next, go to bed.


Keeping curly hair in place is easily done by braiding it. French and rope braids are the best option, but if that’s too difficult or time-consuming, you can choose to do regular braids as well.

These will preserve your curls for the morning and also prevent loose curls from escaping. Furthermore, if you go for a loose braid, you’ll be enjoying a more relaxed-looking set of curls.


Two twisters are a great option for tightening and preserving curly hair. The best time to do twists before bed is when your hair is damp (not wet—it’s very important to make this distinction). Twisting is the best option for those with very tight curls.

Sleeping Practices for Curly Hair

It’s important to wear the right protective hairstyles that help preserve the beauty of your curly hair. However, you should also consider incorporating the following practices into your sleeping routine for long-term hair.

Sleep On Your Side

Unsurprisingly, your sleeping position can impact the health of your curls. The goal is to prevent damage to your hair follicles, and one of the easiest ways of doing this is by sleeping on your side or straight on your stomach.

In other positions, your hair might be crushed by the weight of your head, which in turn can put pressure on your follicles.

Use a Silk or Satin Pillowcase

If you have curly hair, you should invest in a silk or satin pillowcase. We mean it. You might be wondering what pillowcase fabric could possibly have to do with the health of your hair. But the benefits of sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase have scientifically proven benefits for all hair, not just curly.

When you sleep on a cotton pillowcase, you’re exposing your hair to friction and allowing it to absorb your hair’s natural oils. The opposite is true for the smooth, luxurious texture of silk, which has fibers that are smooth and tightly woven. But it does more than just reduce bedhead.

There is no friction, so you’ll be saying goodbye to frizziness, breakage, and damage all in one, and your natural hair oils will be where they belong: on your head! Plus, there might even be benefits to your skin from sleeping on a silk pillowcase!

Wear a Silk Bonnet

Don’t like the feeling of sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase? Then you might want to consider wearing a bonnet made out of silk or satin, particularly if you’re wearing a protective hairstyle.

More than just keeping frizziness at bay, a bonnet also prevents the formation of tangles and knots and keeps hair out of your face as you sleep. Perhaps even more importantly, wearing a bonnet might make it easier for your hair to absorb any overnight products you put in it by preventing evaporation.

Dry Out Your Hair Before Bed

Due to their shape, natural curls are always at a risk of getting crunched and having their shape temporarily ruined. This is even more true for wet hair when it’s at a higher risk of damage and breakage.

Why? Because hair is most fragile when wet. Although moisture is typically beneficial for curls, excessive water can cause the strand to weaken and be weighed down. And if this happens continually, you might even be enabling long-term weakening of your hair.

Furthermore, because airflow is limited when hair is wet, it can also interfere with your desired hairstyle. There’s also the chance that you’ll wake up with an unpleasant moldy sort of smell in your hair if you don’t dry it before bed.

But if you absolutely must sleep with wet hair…

Then only do so when you’re using hair products with natural and organic ingredients. For example, overnight moisture masks can greatly replenish the moisture in your hair and allow it to strengthen while you sleep. And, of course, a bit of hair oil applied before bed goes a long way in ensuring its long-term health.

Fixing Up Your Curls After Bed

Okay, so now you know what the right sleeping practices and protective hairstyles are for your curly hair. But what should you do if you wake up with frizzy or unkempt curls?

It’s time to give them a boost. Start by ensuring that your hair is completely dry before you take it out of its protective hairstyle. If dry, smooth some oil onto it for hydration that will keep frizz at bay and seal the cuticle.

Did you put your hair in a pineapple before you went to bed? Gently remove the hair tie or scrunchie you used to do so and apply some hair butter or a small amount of hair gel. Then, shake your curly strands out and allow them to fluff naturally.

Always do your best to avoid touching your hair with your fingers, as this might make it easier for hair to frizz. Let your hair smooth out and settle on its own. Furthermore, if you feel that your hair has flattened too much, you can choose to use a pick to lift your hair’s roots.

Next, you have the option of re-twisting your curls manually using your fingers. Using a bit of hair oil is recommended for this process. If you want to preserve the shape of your curls while you dress, it’s a good idea to put it up in a silk or satin scarf. Once you’re done, take the scarf out, and you’re all set!

Final Words

How do you sleep with curly hair? Do you like putting it in a pineapple, twisting it into braids with your favorite styling product, or sleeping on a silk pillowcase? You have a world of options to choose from. Your curls are a precious gift, so protect them. Good luck!