sleep, wellness, hair, instasleep
As we spend nearly a third of our lives asleep, these hours of rest are prime for multitasking. One such task you can accomplish during your daily sleep is overnight hairstyling. Women – particularly those with long hair – report spending as much as 55 minutes on morning hair and cosmetic routines, devoting up to twenty-five minutes of that time to using damaging heat hairstyling tools. To save your locks from heat damage, as well as some time in your mornings, consider styling and prepping almost dry hair before bed.

Hair is most prone to accidental damage when it is wet. Be sure that your hair is only moderately damp before hitting the sack. Thorough towel drying and use of a hair serum or leave-in conditioner can further protect your hair. These products can also help secure whatever hairstyle you are going for without using hairsprays or other products containing alcohol and sulfates, which can cause damage and fade color-treated hair. Consider using a silk pillowcase or fabric shower cap to reduce the friction on your hair, particularly if you shift a lot while sleeping. A shower cap will also cause hair to dry as slowly as possible, giving the hairstyle time to set. However, those with thicker hair may find their tresses will not fully dry overnight, so the style may need extra time to set. Upon taking off the cap, let the hair air dry for fifteen to twenty minutes in the morning before taking it out of it’s overnight ‘do.

Conditioners are formulated to help replace the oils the scalp produces to protect the hair shaft, which are cleansed away when we shampoo. Be sparing with leave-in conditioner at the roots, but generous at the tips to prevent split ends. This will ensure the vulnerable ends of the hair are protected, while the oil producing sections will not feel as though they need another washing.


Thin relaxed hair should be towel dried and combed out with a leave-in conditioner. For a loose wave try braiding a single French braid, or two to three braids for a more crimped look. Ponytail holders for overnight use should be metal-free fabric elastics or scrunchies. Not only are they more comfortable for sleeping, but they will also protect your hair from breakage.

Instructions for braiding:

Another option – a time honored, heat-free favorite used by Laura Ingalls Wilder – is the rag doll curl. This style gives hair a bouncy, spiraling curl. The hair is wrapped around cloth segments and tied up closely to the head. The more segments you divide your hair into before tying it up, the tighter and smaller the curls will be.

Instructions for rag doll curls on a child:

Instructions for rag doll curls on yourself:

Coarse to natural hair takes on shape more easily overnight with sufficient amounts of leave-in conditioner. The Bantu knot out is a popular styling option, partially due to their results: structured spirals. If you are able to spiral the hair tightly enough, it will not require pinning or hair elastics to keep it in place, which can ultimately be more comfortable to sleep on. A benefit of this setting is that it can also be worn as a style itself. So if your hair does not dry completely, rock the Bantu knot one day and then unveil your Bantu knot out the next.

Instructions for Bantu knots:

If you discover your hair is a bit flat after taking out your overnight setting, consider using either a root-lifting mouse before setting next time or a root-lifting spray after it has dried. To better preserve the volume and prevent frizz, bend over and shake out your hair while gently raking your fingers through the roots.

Author: Nancy Cantine
Editor: Hayley Salmon
Artist Photo Credit: Theik Smith

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