Adjusting to a routine for bedtime and spending money on things I wasn’t even awake to enjoy was one of the hardest things for me about going natural; but considering I sleep like the Tasmanian Devil, a nighttime routine and proper sleep accessories were absolutely paramount for health and growth over the years. When it’s time to go night-night, you’ve got to do it right-right, or you’ll wake up covered in your own snapped-off ends. So what do you need to make sure you’re doing to keep your curls cute while you sleep?
Image source: @tinakunakey
Your pillowcases — This one’s pretty simple. You need silk or satin pillowcases.
Yes, you have a bonnet or scarf to wear to bed, but here’s the deal. Do you ALWAYS? What about those nights where you slept all funky the night before, flipped it off into the ether somewhere, and now you’re too tired to search for it? What about the protective style you’re always forgetting to buy an appropriately sized covering for until the first night you sleep in it again? What about those nights where, despite knowing better, you just flop into bed without any prep besides taking your heels off? These things happen, curlies; that’s just life being life. But that doesn’t stop the effects from being cumulative. Make a nice, smooth pillowcase (preferably with a hidden zipper to prevent both slipping and eye-poking) your bonnet’s backup. Speaking of...
Your bonnet - Sizing is important in all arenas of everything we wear, and bonnets are no exception.
If yours is tight, you’re going to deteriorate those edges every time you put it on, especially if the thread holding the elastic on it is exposed. If it’s too loose and your curls are falling out of it more nights than not, even with a silky pillowcase, your curls are missing out on spending a good portion of the day tucked away and moistened. Make sure you’re investing in a quality piece (if you can’t see the individual threads, it’s a good sign) and make sure it fits once you have it. I like getting mine from Etsy and individual sellers who have info for me on the stretch capabilities, as well as pictures of the inside and out, so I know for sure what I’m getting.
There’s a part two to this section, and it applies to both bonnets and scarves: When was the last time you washed yours? If you aren’t washing your head coverings at the same rate as your pillowcases—once every week—you’re rubbing your hair with product buildup, dead skin, and detritus that makes the silky properties less effective. If you have a silk scarf, make sure you’re using a gentle cycle and detergent if you’re not washing by hand. To keep the elastic from wearing out, always air dry your bonnets— no ifs, ands, or buts. Even the best kept stretchy bits are subject to relaxing over time and needing to be replaced—the heat of a dryer just speeds up the process.
Your sleep quality - This one’s more of an intangible, but it’s important!
It’s this simple: If you’re not sleeping properly, you’re not healthy, and your hair won’t be either. It’s not just an episode of ‘The Simpsons’, curlies — extra stress can and will make your hair fall out. If you’re a parent, or an insomniac, I’m going to leave your issues for the passage of time and the strengths of medical professionals, and y’all have my blessings. For the rest of us who have some semblance of control over our environment, here’s what we do. We stop putting off buying pillows to replace the ones that hurt our backs. We stop consuming caffeine past 6 p.m. We stop gritting our teeth, and finally purchase an old, functional cannon to fire at that one car that INSISTS on driving by with its rattly, flatulence-sounding bass, and we old-school destroy it like it’s 1786...by which I mean we buy earplugs and don’t do anything illegal ever. Bedrooms need to be places of peace. Try mixing and matching theories about media consumption, journaling, melatonin and more to make sure those Z’s get caught.
Get the picture, curlfriends? We’re (supposed to be) spending a third of our days in our beds. Not paying attention to our curls before we nod off can end in a nightmare that doesn’t quit when we wake back up, so let’s all be sure to do our very best in bed!
...ahem. Y’all know what I meant.
What does your night routine look like for your curls? Share in the comments and spread the love!