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Is It Okay to Sleep with Wet Hair?

Nov 07, 2023

Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read more...

We all have the best intentions regarding getting up early and washing our hair. But, that snooze button is beyond tempting, and it doesn’t always happen the way we want. So, we toss our hair up into a bun and decide to deal with it at night. Of course, by the time you’re actually done with your shower, you’re probably exhausted, and might fall right into bed with damp or wet hair—and that could be doing more harm than you realize.

Your hair is in its most fragile state when wet. Whether you consider yourself a light sleeper or not, you’re going to toss and turn all night, and that could damage it.

Unfortunately, that’s probably the least problematic thing about going to sleep with wet hair…

Bacteria and fungi often like to grow in moist, dark environments. While you probably don’t usually think about your hair that way, that’s exactly the environment you’re creating when you let your head hit the pillow with your strands still soaking.

For example, if you lay down with wet hair and sleep on your back or side, you’re essentially trapping that section of your hair against the pillow—creating that ideal environment for bacterial growth. That bacteria can get into the skin of your scalp and potentially cause an infection.

You might also start to develop a specific type of yeast called Malassezia, which can cause your scalp to flake and end up looking like dandruff—even though it’s something much grosser!

Drying the roots of your hair before bed can help to ward off bacterial growth.


Small bumps and acne can also form on your scalp, appearing as small blisters and sores that are filled with pus. Sounds fun, right? Yeah, not so much.

Unfortunately, the bumps won’t necessarily stop there. Fungal folliculitis (the bumps on your scalp) could turn into fungal acne on your face. It’s not the same type of acne you might be used to getting on your cheeks or forehead. Rather, it’s caused by the same type of yeast that forms on the scalp and can contribute to small red bumps on the skin.

Dealing with damaged hair, fungal infections, and pustules on your scalp and skin isn’t something you want. The ideal situation is to always make sure your hair is dry before you hit the hay.

Wrap your wet hair before going to bed to pull moisture away quickly.


But, if you absolutely have to shower before going to sleep, consider wrapping your wet hair in a microfiber towel, or dry the roots with a hairdryer, since that’s where yeast and fungi are more likely to grow. Getting things dry as quickly as possible is the best way to prevent infection and damage, so you can maintain your nightly routine without worrying about the negative effects.