Skip to content

How to Sleep With Curly Hair: 5 Tips for Dreamy Tresses

BY Jana Russick

Picture this: You’re having the perfect curly hair day where your tresses have managed to look flawless from day to night. You obviously want to keep the party going until tomorrow. But when the question of how to sleep with curly hair comes to mind, you start to dread that crushed, frizzy, next-day look and wonder if keeping your curls intact is a valid excuse for staying up all night.

Sure, sleep is necessary for our health but it can be tragic for perfectly styled curls. If we could only manage to sleep standing up we wouldn’t have to undergo the burden of ruining perfectly styled locks by sleeping on them! It’s time to learn how to sleep with curly hair.

How to Sleep with Curly Hair

If you have curly locks, you’ve probably tried a few tricks in an attempt to make your curls last until the morning. You know what we’re talking about: Using so much hair spray your mane is too stiff to move or laying your hair flat above your head so you don’t crush it.

Unfortunately, these tricks aren’t the most reliable. For one thing, your hair’s either going to look super crunchy from all that hairspray. Secondly, nobody stays perfectly still through the night! The gift of having flawlessly defined curls should not be compromised by a good night’s rest. With that in mind, here are five tips for how to sleep with curly hair. 

1. Braid It Up

Rope off your hair from damage by braiding it before you sleep. Doing so allows hair to preserve its natural curl pattern while adding body and texture depending on how tightly you wind them. The overlapping shape of braids can also help lock in moisture from your leave-in conditioner or other hydrating curly hair products. 

Of course, there are many different types of braids, each with its own unique benefits for keeping curly hair intact.

  • French Braids: This is one of the best hairstyles for preserving curls and locking in moisture from your hair products. Separating your hair into one or two braided sections can help your hair stay as close to its natural curl pattern as possible.
  • Two-Strand Braids: This hairstyle looks like two sections of hair wound around each other —basically the shape of a rope. It’s one of the easiest braiding styles to achieve and works best for maintaining the shape of tight curly or coily hair types.
  • All-Over Braids: Forming your curly locks into dozens (or more) tiny braids is a great method for achieving various levels of curl definition. If you have looser curls that lean towards wavy hair, sectioning off your tresses into various tight braids can add curliness and texture. For those with coily or coarse natural hair, adorning multiple braids can actually stretch the hair out and add length. 

2. Try the Pineapple Method

No, we aren’t recommending putting pineapple extract in your hair. What we are recommending though is tying your hair on top of your head to create a lovely pineapple-like structure that’ll help keep your hair intact while sleeping. This method works because it lets your bouncy locks rest with the rest of your body rather than being crushed or damaged in your sleep. 

Get the pineapple style by gathering your hair up into a loose ponytail and securing it with a scrunchy hair tie (an elastic may dent the texture of your curls.) Make sure the scrunchy is only looped around once and that the hair is divided evenly on each side of your head. 

To release the hair in the morning, slowly undo the scrunchy and shake it out on each side. To avoid frizz, try not to scrunch or brush out your curls. Instead, let them maintain their brilliant natural texture on their own.

Pro Tip: Learn how wrapping your hair in a satin scarf can help your curls

3. Add a Dose of Leave-In Conditioner

As you can see, there are lots of helpful haircare techniques for maintaining curl definition overnight. But what can really increase the longevity of your curls are hair products that fight off moisture loss that occurs when you sleep.

Leave-in treatments should be used on the daily to encourage beautiful bouncy curls. Using this treatment on wash days can help hydrate and protect your hair from breakage and tangles that form when you sleep. It can also be used on the in-between days to encourage curl definition and fight off frizz and dryness. Function of Beauty’s custom leave-in treatment is made with ingredients like avocado oil, argan oil, and coffee extract that have the potential to:

  • Prevent split ends and breakage
  • Moisturize dry hair
  • Leave hair feeling extra smooth

Saturating your wet or dry hair with a leave-in before bed can help enhance smoothness and protect curls from tangling during the night.

4. Wrap Your Hair Right

Using cotton pillowcases and towels can cause moisture loss overnight. That’s because their texture is rough on curly locks and tends to absorb products that you’ve applied to your wet hair. 

If your devotion to cotton is causing your curls to break by the next morning, it’s time to make the switch to silk or satin pillowcases. These smooth, luxurious fabrics can help fight off the dryness and breakage that many curly-haired folks struggle with. Investing in a silk pillowcase or hair bonnet (or satin bonnet) is a great way to combat moisture loss and frizz that can occur while you’re sleeping.

Though cotton pillows aren’t ideal, a cotton T-shirt can be a useful tool for wrapping your hair before bed. On wash days, use a long-sleeve tee in place of a terrycloth towel to tie up your wet curls and keep them intact while you sleep. Combining this trick with the plopping method can help you maintain curl definition and moisture.

Pro Tip: Follow this tutorial for wrapping your curls with a T-shirt

5. Customize Your Wash Routine

Years of trial and error should tell you that not all hair products are created equal. Shampoo and conditioner that works for straight-hair folks is probably not going to do much for those with curly hair. One of the best things you can do for your curls is to use hair washing products that are made just for you. 

Luckily, this is possible with Function of Beauty’s custom shampoo and conditioner set. You can customize your products to suit your exact hair texture, moisture levels, and hair goals. Simply take our hair quiz to create your unique hair formula and concoct the perfect washing set for maximizing the look of your curly locks.

Knowing How to Sleep With Curly Hair Just Got a Whole Lot Easier

Having a good night’s sleep shouldn’t come at the expense of maintaining the shape of your curls. You should be able to rest your head at night knowing your hair will still look amazing in the morning. Achieving this is no longer a major hair challenge. If you want to know how to sleep with curly hair, all you have to do is combine tried-and-true techniques with pro-curly products that’ll help maintain curl definition and moisture overnight. 

Using protective styles like braids, tying your curls into a “pineapple,” and wrapping your hair with soft fabrics like silk and satin can go a long way in keeping your curls in place overnight. Adding a leave-in treatment and using a custom shampoo and conditioner can also encourage the softness, hydration, and longevity of your curly locks. Now that you know how to sleep with curly hair, you can say adios to frizz, breakage, and dryness and say hello to beautiful second, third, and even fourth day hair!