What to Do with Your Hair at Night

We are familiar with hearing about night time beauty care as it relates to skin but what about your hair?

If you have long hair or curly hair you have probably had the experience of waking up with a matted bird’s nest on your head in the morning!

One solution to your tangled mess is to use one of our soft woven bamboo outer pillow cases. Our natural bamboo pillowcase has been tested on dreadlocks with great results.

Our bamboo pillow case sleeps cooler than silk pillow cases, but like silk it will not flatten or tangle your hair or dreads.

Our designer bamboo fabric pillowcase is removable for washing and is naturally antibacterial and antifungal. Bamboo fabric is soft and absorbent. We use Japanese YKK zippers on our pillow cases for quality and durability. We have many pillows to choose from:


Watch the Dread Locks Pillow video for more info


All types of hair need night time protection

People with African hair are often familiar with the need to protect the hair at night. African hair has a slower growth rate than Asian or Caucasian hair and it has a more delicate flatter or “ribbon shaped” structure for each hair shaft rather than the tough cylindrical rounder structure of other hair types.

But every type of hair is vulnerable to damage while you are asleep. When we sleep most people tend to move around at night and change position many times per night. The friction of your pillow against your hair can cause hair breakage.

We do a lot of the damage to our hair during the night when we are sound asleep.

It is common knowledge that rough brushing, styling, and drying with heat can cause damage to your hair. You can offset some of this damage by treating your hair well at night.

The science of hair growth

It is normal to lose some hair each day. Some of our hair follicles have inactive “club hairs”.

Club hairs are in the final stage of the hair life cycle called “telogen”. At any one time about seven percent of the hair follicles on your head are in this resting stage.

In the telogen phase our hair is no longer actively growing. In this part of the cycle the hair shaft has reached the end of its life and has no more potential for growth.

Unlike animals that lose all their hair or feathers seasonally we have a random growth cycle for our hair. This is fortunate for us humans! Can you imagine what it would be like if everyone lost all their hair in the spring and had to go through an awkward bald or patchy stage?

So we humans have hair at all three parts of the growth cycle all over our heads. Individual human hairs each start their cycle at different times, so we never end up bald all at once.

When a new hair is formed in the anagen phase it pushes out the old dead inactive hair shaft. The active stage can go anywhere from two to six years for head hair for humans. Human hair grows about six inches per year.

This explains why some of us can grow really long waist-length locks while others can only grow their hair to their shoulders.

Some of us have very long growth cycles while others have shorter cycles. People who have trouble growing long hair have shorter growth cycles. Their individual hair shafts are being shed every two years when they are around shoulder length, long before they have time to grow to reach waist level.

The new active hair shaft will continue to divide rapidly for its entire growth cycle. Luckily, our body hair only has a very short cycle of only a month or so to do all of its growing. This is why most of us do not have long furry hair growth all over our bodies!

Head coverings at night

Our hair shafts are made of a keratin structure similar to our fingernails. And like our nails our hair shaft is not a living structure.

The outer structure of the hair shaft is a cuticle that has an overlapping shingle-like structure. It is important to keep the shingle-like cuticle of your outer layer of each shaft flat and smooth and well aligned so you don’t end up with damaged frizzy hair.

Rubbing the hair against your pillow as you toss and turn at night can cause a lot of damage to the shafts.

This is why conditioners, hair oils, overnight hair masks, head wraps, and other treatments are important. It’s like conditioning a nice piece of leather properly when you treat your hair well at night.

Your leather boots, for instance, are dead and no longer receiving nourishment from the animal they once lived on, but you can keep leather from cracking or breaking for many years by treating it with the right oil and conditioners.

Besides using the right type of bamboo, satin or linen pillowcase you can wear a head wrap or scarf over your hair.

Other ideas to consider are hair oil or a hair mask once a week to give your hair the nutrients it needs.

Adding leave-in hair conditioners or moisturizers before wrapping your hair in a scarf can help keep your hair strong and keep it from drying out at night. Leave-in treatments are especially convenient if you intend to wash your hair in the morning.

If you wash your hair at night before bed make sure it is completely dry before you go to sleep. Wet hair is vulnerable to stretching and breakage if you go to sleep with wet hair.

For long hair you can use a cloth scrunchy to tie it back or wrap your hair in a bun with bobby pins to keep it from getting tangled at night. Gently braiding the hair can also prevent damage while sleeping.

Overnight hair styling

The one time it is allowable to sleep with slightly damp hair is when you want to give your hair waves, curls, or crimping by braiding or rollers overnight. This is a less damaging way than using heated crimping irons to get the effect you want for your hair style.

You can spray your hair to dampen it a bit or wash it and air dry it to the point where it is slightly damp before braiding or using rollers to get the desired wave or curl you want the next day.

Night time hair treatments for curls and waves

When you have tight curls it is important to keep your hair from becoming too dry and brittle during the night. Using a light leave in conditioner or a light hair oil like almond oil can help if you do not have oily scalp.

Argon oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and baobab oil are all useful for treating your hair at night. Always look for cold pressed, organic untreated oils without additives for the best results.

The more you have to comb out the tangles in the morning the more breakage you get and the more you damage your hair and end up with frizzy unmanageable curls.

Our bamboo and silk pillow cases can help a lot. But to retain moisture a hair cap or head scarf can be worn at night to help protect your curls, braids, or hair extensions.

Another tip for curly hair is to dry it with a smooth cotton t-shirt rather than a terry cloth towel. It sounds strange but a T-shirt drying technique can really help calm your frizzy hair problems.

Curly hair is especially sensitive to follicle and cuticle damage that rough terry cloth towels can do. Your hair will become less frizzy and easy to manage if you use a T-shirt to dry it instead of a towel.

In conclusion

It only takes a few extra minutes each night to protect your hair for sleeping, and it can make a huge difference over a month or two in how your hair looks and feels. A pillow case, hair cap, and a weekly hair oil or mask treatment can make all the difference in keeping your hair healthy and beautiful.

Back to blog

Related Articles