Is It Bad to Wash Your Hair At Night Before You Sleep?

Ladies, sometimes we just gotta talk about the hard stuff around here. I’m talking about the thought-provoking, controversial, heated debates. Topics that really make you think… like washing your hair.

(Told you this was deep.)

I was on the phone with my friend Maelle the other night, nearing midnight, and innocently started the conversation by asking what she was you doing. When she replied she just washed her hair, I gasped. (OK, not really, but let’s make it more dramatic.) I launched into a speech I had heard from my mother growing up: “Don’t ever wash your hair at night! You’ll get sick!” I then commanded that she blow-dry her hair at once before she gets a cold. (But seriously, who has time to wash hair? Dry shampoo FTW!)

My friend let out a loud laugh and said she’s been doing it all her life and had no problem. So, I went against my Mom (sorry Mom!) and the other night I washed my hair, towel dried it a bit, and went to bed.

Long story short: I didn’t fall sick the next day, but I did feel “chilly” going to sleep, my neck felt wet, and basically it wasn’t the snug, warm feeling I like to have while sleeping. I also woke up to a damp pillow, which I believe may be the reason why so many say it can cause colds. I think if I do this regularly, I’ll definitely fall sick eventually.

Doing a little bit of research on the topic, it seems some people claim washing hair at night causes headaches, colds… and that basically it’s “unhealthy”. I’m not sure, so that’s why I’m writing this post to ask you! I do think it’s not ‘right’ but I have no idea why. But I can say this – because you’re sleeping with a wet head of hair, you are making it prone to more tangles and breakage. And because when you move around, it it “harsher” for your pillow and hair to glide against each other.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.


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Comments

  1. I do it all the time; ie, wash my hair before I go to bed. But with all the stuff I do after I shower, like brushing my teeth, putting on skin care stuff, my hair’s half dry by the time I actually lie down, so it’s not all that wet and uncomfortable.

  2. I tend to wash my hair in the afternoon right after I come home from school. That way it has all afternoon to dry. However, lately I’ve had to wash my hair at night cause it’s just too gross for dry shampoo, in that case I blow dry it but it’s a last resort only.
    I’ve tried and I can’t go to sleep with wet hair, first it feel horrible and is (I’ve heard) bad for your hair and I’ve always found it gives me massive headaches the next day. But maybe that’s just me.

    • Wet hair to sleep does feel horrible, I don’t know how some can do it! It’s weird you get headaches, so there is some truth that it’s “bad” for you…?

  3. Kimberley says:

    Whenever I wash my hair immediately before going to bed it dries really boofy at the roots and won’t change untill I wash it. It must be the way I sleep, but it dries horribly!
    I do however, like to wash my hair a few hours before I go to bed, and then when I wake up my hair is much nicer, the flyaways have gone!

  4. I never go to sleep with my hair still wet! I hate the damp feeling on the pillow. Sometimes I do wash my hair at night but I will always first have to blowdry it!

    • Hey It Girl, yeah blowdrying it beforehand sounds logical, so your hair is nice and dry before you sleep. But it seems most don’t do it so I wonder how they can stand it, it just seems so uncomfortable!

  5. If I wash my hair at night, which I usually don’t do, it’s the first thing I do so my hair has time to dry before i actually lie down on the pillow. I have pretty thin hair though, so it doesn’t take long.
    I usually wash it in the morning, because I don’t like messing up my makeup by washing it in the middle of the day.

  6. I wash mine in the evening, giving it about a couple of hours to air-dry before I blast it with a hairdryer before I go to bed. I never go to bed with wet hair :P

    My mother-in-law was livid when she found out I shower at 11pm before bed, let alone washing my hair! My mum can’t be arsed when I wash my hair, as long as I dry it before I sleep :P

    Nowadays, if it’s too late, I’ll just use dry shampoo. Too lazy to even pick up the hairdryer :P

  7. I usually only wash my hair late at night when I have product in my hair, or if I just spent the evening at someplace infested with cigarette smoke. Can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke in my hair, and can’t stand going to sleep with gunk in my hair either! I usually try to wait til it’s at least 3/4 dry before going to bed but sometimes i’m just too exhausted and i fall asleep straightaway (usually with my hair “hanging” off my bed – hello, bad neck ache tomorrow morning!) I usually don’t experience any bad tangles coz my hair is quite fine but i too feel “chilly” and uncomfortable when i sleep with wet hair!

    • Haha omg I hate cigarette smoke as well!

      It seems from a lot of the comments, though, that this is quite normal, I honestly never knew!

  8. I always wash my hair at night because I don’t have time in the morning to wash it, blow dry it and straighten it :)

  9. I wash my hair at night, but i don’t go straight to bed after washing it. I usually take a shower a couple of hours before go to bed, so my hair will be perfectly dry before i go to bed. Anyway, I never go to bed with my wet hair, I’m afraid of fungal skin infection.

    • OH yes, I suppose skin infections and reactions can also occur, especially if your shampoo is not washed out properly.

  10. I don’t wash my hair at night for several of the reasons above…I do get cold when I go to sleep with wet hair. I have super long hair, so I hate the whole soggy pillow bit as well. It also doesn’t help with the three cowlicks I have—I wake up with horrible hair!

    ? V
    http://www.gritandglamour.com
    twitter: @gritandglamour

    • Ah yeah you’re hair is super long (and super gorgeous!) so I’d expect it would be FREEZING if you went to bed with wet hair!

  11. I think the bigger problem is sleeping with wet hair. When I don’t dry my hair properly before I sleep, I seem to have a tendency to get headaches the very next day. Anyway, for some odd reason to me, it doesn’t seem healthy to sleep with wet hair.

  12. I’ve never heard of this! I always wash my hair at night, when I was little right before I went to bed so my hair was always sopping. Now I’m up for an hour or two after I take a shower so it air dries. Sometimes it can cause a bad hair day, but I don’t think I’ve ever caught a cold from it. :)

  13. I often wash my hair at night, because I have very thick long curly hair that takes forEVER to dry. I find that if I wash it, then braid it, and sleep on it, it will reduce my fly-aways and keep my hair from getting really tangled. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a cold or a major headache from it. (I do highly recommend braiding your hair (if you can) before sleeping, it’s a little funky at first but you can move the braid to one side when you’re sleeping, making it a bit more comfortable.)

  14. HERE!!!! I have heard the myth about being cold causing colds (wet hair, swimming when it’s cold, being cold, lol). But the only thing that can give you a cold is a VIRUS! That icky feeling, running nose, just sick is your immune system responding to a virus. Going to bed with wet hair will not give you a virus.

    I have always washed my hair at night, and it is often damp when I go to bed. I do this every night and have done so most of my life. I never get sick. I get a cold once every few years in the winter. Though I do give it some time to not be completely wet, and I pull it into a bun when I sleep!

    I hope this was helpful!

    • Hey Ali, you’re lucky! :D Thing is, if you’re hair is wet and you feel “chilly” throughout the night, eventually you’re gonna get the sniffles and a bit of a cold? I know that of course colds come from a virus but I myself in the past, for instance have slept in a too cold (from aircon) room and I got a cold after that! Or maybe I just have a weak immune system, haha! XD From the comments it seems a few readers have had headaches from it as well… it’s very interesting, I wonder what ’causes’ this!

  15. I was always told that I had to dry my hair straight away after I washed it, it’s been said again and again ever since I was young :P So I always make sure I wash my hair and have time to dry, or at least make sure the roots of my hair are dry so the damp hair doesn’t just sit on my head and let the rest air dry :) Even though this is the only form of heat I use to style my hair, it’s still annoying that it causes damage >.<

    • Oh I know! I do the same thing! My mom used to tell me I’d get sick, but I don’t really think blowdrying it is that damaging, since I only dry the roots… (:

    • My mom is like your moms! Haha, she always told me to never sleep with wet hair. And I agree, I was also scared about damage so I’ve actually never really blow dried my hair before (unless I get a cut at the salon and have no choice haha!) Maybe you can shampoo in the morning, tie it in a high bun and let it dry naturally? That’s what I’m doing and it works well for me, could do for you :D

  16. Renee, I never wash my hair at night, not for fear of catching a cold (that’s the first I’ve heard of that), but because when I wake up in the morning, my hair is a mess! And then I just have to wash it all over again.

  17. My hair would still be damp if I didn’t blow it dry after washing, even the next morning. Plus I’d have all sorts of weird bumps and pieces of hair that wouldn’t cooperate. I’m a morning washer.

    • Haha, I hear you! I’m a morning washer as well, now! I used to do it in the evenings but now I just don’t have the time, working too late!

  18. I wash my hair at night, depending on how much time i have etc. but i ALWAYS blowdry my hair, no matter what! Otherwise it would just be so flat!!x

  19. I always fall asleep with my hair wet but I have it in a turbytowel (a towel which is wrapped around the head and twisted with a tie to keep it in place if you did not aready know). I am always fine and I don’t even feel cold. I feel nice and snug like normal, plus I wake up with a nice wavy effect with my hair :)

    • Aw that sounds awesome, Molly! I’m glad you found a “technique” that works for you. Maybe we should all try your turbytowel, never heard of it before! :-P

  20. I love washing my hair before going to sleep, but before actually going to bed I always blow-dry it, the next day I got the sensation that my hair is softer than usual.

    • That’s great, Giorgia! Blow-drying really does wonders, I’m just scared of it because my hair is very dry and I don’t want to further damage it :(

  21. When I was still living in Poland, it was just too cold to wash your hair in the morning – even blow-drying it, you risked either not doing it to the fullest, or the more dangerous alternative – make your body and scalp all heated from the stream of warm air of the blow-dryer, so when you enter the -15 degrees outside the cold would hit you double the power. So most women wash their hair in the evening, then spread a towel over the pillow. Only girls with short hair wash them in the morning.

  22. Haha I totally understand where your mum is coming from… I have a friend who thinks the same and told me to always blowdry my hair before sleeping. My mum and grandma also tell me to dry my hair before I sleep. Must be an asian thing :P
    But to be honest, I hardly ever do, just out of laziness. But I actually almost always go to sleep with damp hair as I procrastinate having showers until I nearly need to go to bed… I’ve never gotten sick or anything though. I don’t even get headaches which I know some people do… I find when I sleep with damp hair, I wake up with a few nice waves and good volume, whereas when I completely dry it before I sleep, I wake up with really straight and sometimes flat hair haha

  23. my grandma said that it’s bad for the eyes…i didn’t believe it at first but then i slept with wet hair and woke up with more rheum compared to what i’d normally get if i sleep for a month…i can barely open it because the rheums have stuck together (gross i know, sorry).i think it’s because it’s wet, heat in my head was trapped by the wetness of my hair. so for getting colds and headache, it could be the same reasons…

  24. I wash my hair in the evening but if it is still a little too damp to sleep I used to put a hand towel on my pillow before I went to sleep so my pillow didnt become damp, it ususally got shoved off the bed at some point during the night anyway, and no damp pillow.

  25. cinnamongingersnaps says:

    Haha, my mom and grandma say the same thing. Well the Chinese believe that sleeping with damp hair gives you rheumatism when you get older, hence the headaches. I’ve been washing my hair at night since my teenage years, no problems so far, but I won’t know what would happen when I turn into an old lady…

  26. I wash my hair in the aftenoon, and then blowdry it. But that is becaurse my hair is bright red/orange and my pillow would become that colour if I didn’t dry it.. :)
    But before I dyed, I went to sleep with damp hair all the time, I like that better thangoing outside in the cold (!) with wet hair. (I live in Denmark!)
    Cheers

  27. I’ve never heard of washing hair at night being bad, but rather going to sleep with wet hair – which does kinda make sense.

  28. I wash my hair at night if I have to wake up early. I usually let it air dry a bit then I clip it up loosely kinda on the top of my head so its not uncomfortable and sometimes I will put a towel on my pillow so it absorbs some of the moisture and my pillow is not wet.
    Ive never had a problem! It saves me time in the morning and it saves my hair because I dont have to blowdry it for very long in the morning.

  29. I’ve never heard that washing your hair at night is bad for you.
    Everyone in my family takes showers at dusk.
    It usually helps me relax and fall asleep faster.
    I just two dry my hair a little, put a towel on the pillow and fall right asleep.

    There is a thai saying: For you not to brush your hair at night especially in front of a mirror.
    Something about ghost…

  30. well it is true your hair will be damaged. why? because when your hair is wet it is more prone to damage. that is why you should not start combing etc your hair when it is wet. you will also notice that you will probably rip some off more easily when you play around with it.

    in my experience if i dare sleep while my hair is wet, omfg i have a headache the whole next day… its that bad. my brother on the other hand doesnt listen and apparently is ok. if his head starts laughing im just going to call him a dumbass for not listening

  31. Well, I’ve been washing my hair and going to sleep right after for years. Never had any problem. Though, it may not be because of sleeping with wet hair, but I’ve noticed that my hair looks more dull and dry than ever. No, it’s not the weather, it’s not how I manage my hair, because my mother used to do all the same things to her hair with the exception of sleeping after washing (she waits until it’s dry then goes to bed) and her hair always looked healthier than mine. Maybe it’s that, maybe not, but I’m going to stop doing it anyway. I believe it is, in fact, not healthy.

    Thanks for reminding me how unhealthy it can actually be:)

  32. i always wash my hair at night and then i blow dry it. my mom won’t let me let it dry because she says i’ll get cold. and she won’t let me wah my hair in the morning even if i’ll blow dry it after because she thinks i’ll get sick by doing it. I do wash it in the morning if i need to though

  33. I wash my hair everyday before going to bed, and i have no problems. But i will wash my hair, then ill wrap my hair so my pillows never get wet, And when i wake up the next morning i feel great, I hoped this help, and please comment and tell me if it worked, thanks bye

  34. i usually like washing my hair in the morning and i really like leaving the house with my hair half wet and letting it naturally dry but its obviously not possible in the winter. a really good solution of mine is washing it before bed, towel-drying it, using any leave-in product and covering it all in a plastic shower cap all night while asleep. that way it doesn’t totally dry, to tell you the truth it’s about half wet in the morning but soooooooo soft. and that way i only have to blow dry it for a little while and it doesnt frizz or get brittle or feel “burnt” and stays soft all day long and i still feel pretty fresh like after my morning shower!

    ps! when asleep you hardly get chilly since your neck and shoulders are dry (only your hair stays moist inside the cap).

  35. Hmm I always go to bed with my hair wet and lately I’ve been gettin headaches and a bad neck in the morning so maybe this is the problem, I’ll have to try blowdrying my hair before I go to bed to see if this helps. As for the comment that it wrecks your hair and gives you split ends I have no trouble with this, as long as you use a good conditioner and heat protection your hair should be strong enough to not break when rubbing on your pillow. I suppose it’s all down to how it effects you. But I’m 100% sure that wet hair will not make you I’ll when you sleep unless you have the window open or a really col house all it may cause is aches :)

  36. well ive done it once or twice.
    its not nececarally bad.
    it just feels AWFUL:(

  37. I normally wash my hair in the mornings, but on a Sunday night I prefer to have a bath however I usually then blow dry it because my mother always told me never to sleep with wet hair because it makes the pillow wet and could cause an uncomfertable night. xx

  38. I always wash my hair in the morning, but my daughter washes hers at night, going to bed with it tied up and wet, as it is quite long. My mother always said it was bad for you to go to bed with wet hair. I can’t remember why it was bad for you!!

  39. I go to sleep with my hair wet and have had no problems with dry, brittle or breakage in my hair. My hair is soft and silky nearly all the time, as long as you towel dry it put some anti frizz product or protection product in you wet hair before bed it’s absolutely fine it doesn’t effect your hair’s quality. I condition my hair extremely well though.
    Its nonsense, washing your hair before bed is absolutely fine and doesn’t effect anything, other than the fact your pillow is a little damp in the morning. I’ve been washing my hair before bed for fifteen years and my hair is thick, long and wavy. :)

  40. Kristina buszta says:

    Just a reminder you get colds and flu virus from germs not old wind or wet hair like my grandma thinks :)

  41. I’ve always had relatively long hair but no one ever told me that it’s bad for you to go to bed with wet hair and I always did it. I still do because I like how my hair turns out the next day when I wake up – volumised and wavy:) If I blow dry my hair, they go crazy frizzy and if I put any product on it, they get oily the next day and I’ll have to wash my hair more often which I can’t stand!:)

  42. its good to go to sleep with wet hair braided cause it makes it grow faster cause it holds in moisture….. its not good to blow dry hair every night it will dry out your hair real badly…

  43. people say its bad for you to go to sleep with ur hair wet cause it gives headaches, but that not true cause ive done it ever since i was born

  44. Hahaha, My mom used to say that, my hair is extremely thick and about waist length almost hip length… so I really only have time to wash my hair in the evening after a work out… it usually isnt dry until the next afternoon. Yes, it really does stay wet for more than 12 hours. I refuse to use a blow dry, because they are awful on hair and i hate the noise lol. If i wash it in the morning, it keeps me cold until it drys, usually by evening or sleeping time. I prefer washing it at night because although it is wet/damp atleast i sleep through it. During the day I have to feel the coldness consciously lol! I also just fan my hair up over my pillow so it stays in one spot and doesnt soak my pillow and hopefully drys lol

  45. just braid your hair after washing, it’s not really a big deal also you might not want to go to be right after the shower, waiting a half hour should be good

  46. I’ve always washed my hair at night. I have really thick hair and right now it’s really long, which is one reason I’ve always washed it at night–it takes to long to wash and blow dry in the mornings. But like someone else said by the time I do my other nightly routine stuff it’s not sopping wet. I’ve never had problems with getting colds or anything like that. I’ve never had problems with it breaking or being unhealthy either. The only complaint I have is lack of volume.

  47. Bad things grow in wet, warm, dark places<<<that is your pillow at night if your room is over 60degrees! Imagine what lives inside your pillows…especially if you do this night after night & U have no special cover!! GROSS!! not to mention U have shitty sleep when U go to bed with your hair wet versus when it's completely dry.

  48. I’ve always gone to bed with damp hair, so maybe that’s why I think it is actually cozier to fall asleep with my hair wet. Perhaps because I’m not prone to headaches at all, I have never had a problem going to bed with damp hair. I wake up with hair that’s easy to tame and soft. It usually dries kind of weird-yes- but I spend way less time fixing the weird spots than I would if I had to wash, dry, then fix my hair. So I like it.

  49. Hi… This blog puzzles me… I can’t understand the lack of common sense in light of this subject. Humans have been walking the earth for hundreds of years and believe it or not we have survived without the infamous hair dryer therefore I am 100 percent certain that you will not experience any significant health risks, I.e. head aches, flu.

  50. It really doesnt matter when u wash ur hair trust me! It matters if your hair is long, curly or straight because… if u want it curly even after u wash it ( thats when ur hair is naturally curly) u should wash it before going to bed because u lie down so it doesnt hang out while u stand or doing some other things in the house. I wash my hair right before i go to bed since i was born and i have no problem…But my sister has straight hair so she likes to wash hair in the morning or… in the afternoon, and thats because she likes her straight hair. I dont know if it helps or not but .. never dry ur hair with a blow dryer :)

  51. Stephanie says:

    I’ve been washing my hair at night for 20 years, and I always blowdry my hair before I sleep.

    No problems at all.

    Besides, I don’t sleep straightaway after I blowdry it….say I shower at 10:30….I sleep at 11:30 anyways, or even 12 or 1am….so no problems, because it’ll be dry.

  52. I find that when I wash my hair at night it dries better than if I wash it in the morning. This may be because I have curls, but if I let my hair air dry during the morning it just looks gross and half dry at school. I try my best though to let it airdry before going to sleep. (:

  53. I never wash my hair at night,I always do it first thing in the morning.I know if I washed it at night I would not be able to sleep.

  54. I have tried washing my hair at nights because i dont have time in the mornings to do so and have started to get headaches now i have to reconsider this whole idea of washing my hair in the night it really sucks………… Also i have long curly hair which leaves my pillow sort of damp and cold. So i agreee with most of you ladies on this issue………

  55. Our bodies are germ factories. There are hundreds of bacteria all over us everywhere, every day. Somehow we manage to keep ourselves balanced and, generally, unsick. Balanced means eating the right food, getting enough sleep and exercise, being careful when coming in contact with sick people, and staying as unstressed as possible.

    I grew up in New England, and it’s cold enough in the winter that you wouldn’t dream of going to bed with wet hair. Why? Because you get sick. Why? Research has shown that your body trying to keep itself warm all night (literally trying to dry your hair by putting out more heat) puts the body in a stressed posture. Being stressed causes your immune system stress, which could cause you to catch any overgrowth of bacteria or viruses in the neighborhood, even your own bacteria, especially staph. (The “neighborhood” is your body, your bed, your room, your house.)

    Your pillow being wet all night is the equivalent of sleeping in a wet environment (where funguses and molds grow), causing even more stress to your body. Why chance it? If you have a lot of colds and upper respiratory infections, stop going to bed with your hair wet and see if those infections stop. See how much better you feel. That is probably the only thing that would convince you not to go to bed with wet hair. I know; it’s inconvenient to wash your hair in the morning! It’s also inconvenient to get sick.

    If you live in a warm climate–south Florida, the Caribbean–your body doesn’t get nearly as stressed by going to bed with wet hair. If you live in a warm climate and your house has no air conditioning, it might even be pleasurable to go to bed with wet hair.

  56. Katelyn says:

    I like to wash my hair at night, so that I have more time in te morning to sleep, because I always have a hard time getting up, but since my haircut, I can’t really do that. I had my hair cut pretty short, and if I wash it at night, and sleep on it, I find that I have to get a shower again, anyway. That’s because when I wake up, it’s sticking up EVERYWHERE, and, even with straightening it, or using a wet comb, I cannot get it to come down. I don’t know much about health relations, I only know about the struggle. XD

  57. It isn’t recommended to wash your hair at night or shower at night. The effect maybe won’t appear now but in your elder days it will. Back pain, headaches.. all that.

  58. My hair gets really puffy so I sleep with a hair cap on (weird I know) so my oillow doesnt get all wet my beck doesnt feel wer i feel normal but its good for me because when I wake up my hair is still wet and I put products in so it won’t get frizzy but I wash my hair at night most of the time Not much even though my mom tells me not to I don’t get sick

  59. I Do Had Headache After I Wash My Hair And Going To Sleep or Just Lay In My Bed… Only Some Of Time I Wash My Hair At Night an Hour Before Sleep.. But My Hair Is Long And Too Thick So It Not Dry. I Fold My Hair With A Scarf And I Sleep In It…

  60. I’ve went to sleep every since I was little after washing my hair and just towel drying it. Actually when I have migraines I put a very wet ice cold rag over my eyes and sometimes my head wrapped in a wet towel and a wet rag around the back of my neck if its really bad and fall asleep like that. I wake up with no headache or neck pain or anything. I’ve been doing this since my teens. I have really bad migraines and headaches. If I don’t do this kinda thing they wont go away. I like to sleep with wet hair it helps me sleep but I also like washing it in the morning as well. I hate washing it in the afternoons cause it gets frizzy for some reason. I have a wet to dry straightener for when I wash it in the morning. I highly recommend it instead of a blow dryer. Too much noise involved with a blow dryer and it makes my hair weird not to mention it takes about an hour to dry my hair that way. With my wet to dry straightener it takes minutes to dry and then straighten afterward’s and leaves my hair very soft. :)

  61. I am really fed up with ny mom’s false talks. I have tried this ..I used to wash my hairs before going to sleep and I have never suffered from cold.but my.mom she believe in this that we usually suffer from cold if we shampoo before going to bed .

  62. I used to sleep with my hair wet all the time until a friend’s mom told me it was bad. So the next time I went to the salon I asked, and she said going to bed with wet hair causes your scalp to produce something similar to mold and gives your hair a weird smell. That’s why it’s recommended to even do a really sloppy blow dry before going to bed because the pillow and sheets don’t let your hair breathe the same as air drying or blow drying.

  63. I wash my hair at night or late evening all the time and I never feel sick the next day. What I usually do is wash my hair and put in all my hair product, then let it air dry while i brush my teeth and get ready for bed. But i dont go to sleep with it dripping wet because that wud just mess up my curls so I usually watch a movie while my hair air dries….and when I’m ready to go to sleep ususally the ends are already dry and its just the middle of my hair that’s still damp so I pineapple it and go to sleep. If it’s a night that i;m going out by the time I get back home my hair is already dry.

  64. So, theres this tip that I found, I think I’ll try it today.
    Use only silk pillows or silk covered , also wrap your head into a bonnet to avoid getting bad hair the next morning, I never sleep facing front so my hair wont be a bother….
    A.k,a my grandma also told me washing hair at night is bad, she even wont let me do it, seriously??