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Is Sleeping With Wet Hair Harmful To Your Tresses?

At least once in your life, someone will have told you that you shouldn’t sleep with wet hair. No doubt, that same someone will have given you several different reasons for this. The question is, are any of them actually true?

You won’t always be in the mood to blow-dry your hair before you go to bed after a bath or a shower and that’s understandable. After all, it does take a bit of energy and some time to get it done. If you’re exhausted, you will most likely skip drying your hair and go straight to bed instead. So, is that harmful or not?

Myths About Sleeping With Wet Hair

It has become a commonplace thing for people to call out those who sleep with wet hair and tell them all sorts of reasons why they shouldn’t do so. But are these reasons fact or fiction? Let’s see if we can identify a couple of the biggest myths doing the rounds.

Myth 1: It Makes You Sick

The most common myth around is that sleeping without drying your hair will give you a headache. That sounds kind of plausible since you’re likely to feel cold at night if your hair is wet, but there is no scientific data proving that you will get sick because of that.

Even that runny nose and the sneezing bouts you get from time to time are unlikely to have been caused by sleeping with damp hair. Colds result from virus infections, not because your scalp feels cold after you failed to dry your hair. You will only get sick due to low temperatures when you’re exposed to cold-causing agents or other factors, such as when you get drenched with dirty water after being rained on. If you bathe with clean water and your bed and room are free from bacteria and viruses, sleeping with wet hair won’t cause sickness.

Myth 2: It Can Cause Poor Mental Health

Unlike the first one, this myth doesn’t sound even remotely plausible. Sleeping with damp hair cannot possibly affect the way your brain works; there is no scientific basis for thinking otherwise. Of course, if you have open wounds in your scalp and you go to sleep with wet hair on a pillowcase that has more germs than a petri dish, then who knows what might happen. Studies show that yeast and bacterial buildup can be linked to mental illnesses if the infection has entered your bloodstream and passed by the blood-brain barrier. Fortunately, the chances of that happening are so low that we can forget about them.

What Are The Negative Effects Of Sleeping With Wet Hair?

If the risks of sleeping with wet hair don’t exactly fall into the life-threatening category, there are still a few minor negative effects. And even if the consequences are minimal, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore them. The effects are not irreversible, but it’s still better to avoid these scalp and hair problems altogether.

It Can Cause Bacterial Infection

It’s probably overstating the case to say that sleeping with wet hair causes diseases and irritations in the scalp. It can lead to bacterial buildup, however, and if these germs aren’t dealt with at an early stage, you could end up with complications in your scalp. It isn’t the wetness itself that causes the problem, but it undoubtedly provides the ideal environment for the bacteria in your pillowcase or room to grow and propagate. This can give rise to Malassezia, a yeast-like fungus that feeds on the oils from your scalp. It’s not a dangerous skin condition, but it will lead to dandruff and cause your scalp to flake. Why develop an itchy, irritating condition like this if you can avoid it?

It Makes Hair Vulnerable To Breakage

Wetness makes your hair strands more fragile than usual, which is why you should always be careful and gentle with damp hair. Just as how you shouldn’t forcefully brush your hair when it’s wet, you shouldn’t expose it to too much friction either. When you sleep, you toss and turn and drag your hair across the pillow. The moral of the story: if you want to prevent damage to your hair, make sure you dry it before going to sleep.


Sleeping with wet hair isn’t harmful per se, but it can lead to scalp problems and a bad-hair look. Now that you have an idea of what is myth and what is fact, you can weigh it up yourself. Is getting straight into bed instead of spending a few minutes drying your hair worth it? You decide.

If you have any questions arising from this blog post, or any other hair issues you want to discuss, Vinci Hair Clinic specialists are here to help. We offer free no-obligation consultations to discuss any hair concerns you may have. Get in touch and book your appointment today!