Asian woman sleeping with her hair down

Truth or Hair: Is It Okay to Sleep With Wet Hair?

Let's find out if going to bed right after washing your hair can cause problems.

Growing up, my mom always told me that sleeping with wet hair was never a good idea. It will make you go blind, says the old wives’ tale passed down from generation to generation. Because of this, I never washed my hair at night. Instead, I bathed my arms, body, and legs when I wanted to feel presko before going to bed. But now, I’ve slept with wet hair quite a few times, and nothing has happened to my eyesight. So this begs the question: Is it okay to sleep with wet hair?

This superstition comes in different versions. In some, dozing off with wet strands will make you go insane. Meanwhile, other people believe it will make you catch a cold. However, the scientific community has yet to see evidence of these. According to the Makati Medical Center website, there’s no correlation between sleeping with wet hair and going blind, getting sick, or one’s state of mind. It’s just pamahiin.

However, you might want to think twice about hitting the sheets right after a shower, even if you won’t go blind or insane. Here’s why.

What Happens When You Sleep With Wet Hair?

Asian woman with wet hair wearing a white robe
Although it won’t make you blind, sleeping with wet hair has its downsides. Credit: Natasha Estelle

Hair is at its weakest when wet. According to a review article published in the International Journal of Trichology, water absorption causes the hair shaft to swell. This swelling and the friction between your wet strands and pillow damage the hair shaft and make your hair prone to tangles, frizz, and breakage.

Sleeping with wet hair can also cause scalp problems, according to Sleep Foundation. Damp hair and moist pillows create an environment where certain fungi, like ringworm, can thrive. Ringworm can cause tinea capitis. Symptoms of this scalp disease include itching, hair breakage, and red, swollen, and flaky areas on your scalp.

Sleeping With Wet Hair: Yay or Nay?

I’ve slept with wet hair on nights when I didn’t have time to dry my hair before hitting the hay. However, I don’t do it often, and neither should you. Here’s why.

Sleeping with wet hair might damage your hair.

I know it’s tempting to jump to bed after a cold shower. After all, with the heat and humidity, what better way to end a stressful day than with a refreshing shower? It’s even more enjoyable when you use a fragrant shampoo like Sunsilk Smooth & Manageable Shampoo. It has Activ-Infusion—a blend of flower oils, vitamin B3, and collagen, protecting your hair from damaging factors like heat, dust, and pollution. It also gives your hair a sweet, floral scent.

Bottle of Sunsilk Smooth & Manageable Shampoo

Washing away sweat, dirt, and grime from your scalp and hair is great, but do it early in the evening to let your hair dry naturally before going to bed. If you’re pressed for time, you may use your blow dryer set to low heat. But don’t make it a habit because heat can damage your hair.

Whenever you wash your hair, always condition it. Even if sleeping with wet hair is something that you never (or rarely!) do, your strands are still not safe from the risk of damage. Daily brushing and styling can wear out your hair cuticles, so use Cream Silk Triple Keratin Rescue Ultimate Hair Fall Defiance Ultra Conditioner after shampooing. It has revolutionary fiber actives that work up to a cellular level to help strengthen your hair and prevent breakage.

Bottle of Cream Silk Triple Keratin Rescue Ultimate Hair Fall Defiance Ultra Conditioner

Wet hair can invite bacteria and worsen dandruff.

Another thing: Fungi and bacteria absolutely adore moist environments. So by keeping your scalp wet for long periods, like when sleeping with wet hair, you might be inviting these unwanted guests. Mildew scent the next day and damaged strands? No, thank you!

This fungal situation might also lead to the dreaded dandruff, as excessive moisture and improper drying can prevent your scalp from maintaining a healthy balance. For those with an existing scalp condition, sleeping with wet hair might cause flare-ups or worsen the condition.

Whenever you shower, use a moisturizing anti-dandruff product like Dove Dermacare Scalp Anti-Dandruff Hairfall Recovery Shampoo. Its unique formulation with Scalp Care Actives offers up to 3x scalp hydration and 2x stronger scalp resistance to dandruff.

You don’t want tangled hair in the morning.

Cheerful young asian woman combing hair at home
It’s better to air-dry or blow-dry your hair before you drift away to dreamland. Credit: Prostock-Studio of Getty Images from Canva

Waking up with a head full of tangles might also be the outcome of sleeping with wet hair. Depending on your hair type, it might be unruly—and not in a messy-chic way. This leads to time-consuming hairstyling in the morning, which can involve excessive tugging and pulling as you try to get rid of knots. Do this often, and you might be dealing with hair breakage and split ends next.

There you have it! While you won’t go blind, sick, or insane when sleeping with wet hair, letting your strands dry before hitting the sack is ideal. This way, you minimize the risk of hair damage and scalp infection. I’m adding this to my list of good hair care habits. I hope you do, too.