It actually wasn’t until I made the decision to grow out my hair that I even put together that not creating a night routine, specifically for my tresses, was playing a direct role in why my hair wasn’t thriving as much as I wanted to. After all, many of us spend about one-third of our 24-hour days in bed which means it’s important that we make sure that we are “sleeping well”, so that our hair can reach its absolute maximum potential.
So, let’s explore that, shall we? While you might’ve never given it much thought before, I’m going to share with you eight things that you might be doing at nighttime that could potentially be wreaking pure havoc on your hair — whether you realize it or not.
1. Not Wrapping Your Hair Up at Night
I totally get that when it comes to this first point (probably the second one too), your first reaction is probably “duh”. Still, sometimes we do things without exactly knowing why it’s a wise choice to make. When it comes to wrapping your hair up with satin or silk scarf or putting it into a bonnet that’s designed for your hair, not only does this help to preserve the natural oils that your locks need in order to not dry out and become brittle, “covering up” also significantly decreases the chances of your hair getting tangled, plus it helps to keep your locks from frizzing up too. Oh, and if you’ve recently gotten your hair professionally styled, wrapping it up can preserve it for longer. So yes, it’s definitely a good idea to make this a nightly practice.
2. Not Using Satin Pillowcases
And what if you hate wrapping up your hair or, for some reason, the way your wrap looks when you turn in at night is not the way it looks when you wake up the following morning? Listen, I hear you. The solution for that is sleeping on a set of satin pillowcases. Not just because it will do all of what I just said but, as a bonus, due to how satin material is designed, it will cause your face (and neck) to literally glide across it; this results in you not getting creases on your face which could lead to fine lines up the road. Also, if you recently got your eyebrows and/or eyelashes done, satin fabric can help to keep them intact too.
3. Your Bedding Is Cotton Instead of Silk
I’m pretty certain that I’m not being too presumptuous about the fact that you probably sleep on some form of cotton sheets. That’s understandable; especially since cotton is considered to be a “breathable” fabric. Still, aside from the fact that silk is breathable as well, did you know that it’s the kind of fabric that repels dust and resists mold and mildew (which is really good to know if you deal with bouts of asthma or allergies)? When it comes to your skin, silk doesn’t absorb any of the creams or oils that you may put on your face at night (which means that they will stay on your body longer). And when it comes to your hair, silk contains its own natural proteins that help to keep your hair from drying out. How cool is that?
4. Always Sleeping on the Same Side
If something that you struggle with is one side of your hair being significantly stronger and longer than the other, I totally feel your pain. My left side typically thrives in a way that my right side simply doesn’t. While some of this can probably be chalked up to genetics, things like your diet, imbalance hormones, medication, aging, damaged hair follicles (whether it’s from some sort of trauma or even constantly touching, rubbing or pulling at one side of your hair) and definitely how we sleep can also play a role. Well, as far as sleeping goes, did you know that each hair follicle comes with its own customized blood supply? Not only does this mean that if some follicles have a stronger supply than others, that will lead to them producing longer and thicker hair, it also means that if you constantly sleep on the same side every night, that can compress your blood vessels, so that those follicles are spending hours, each and every day, not receiving the nutrients (from the blood) that they need. So, while I know it may be difficult — trust me, I know — try and be intentional about not constantly staying on the same side all night long. Or, at least, begin your sleep time on the opposite side that you are the most comfortable sleeping on. It’s a little shift that can make a really big difference over time.
5. And/Or Always Putting Your Hair Up in a Pineapple
OK, I know that a lot of you may be fans of putting your hair up in a pineapple each and every night. However, as the Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “The excess of a virtue is a vice”. What that means, as it relates to this article is, if you’re constantly putting your hair up in the same style and position, for 6-8 hours on end, that can result in tension being on the same part of your head which can lead to weakened tresses and, eventually, breakage. So, if you are adamant about going the pineapple route, try and switch up where your hair goes every few days and definitely don’t hold it up with a hair tie. Otherwise, you’re almost asking for a breakage issue — probably not immediately but definitely eventually.
6. Sleeping in Your Hair Conditioner
If you’re a YouTube fan of hair videos, it’s not uncommon to see ones that talks about sleeping overnight with conditioner on your hair in order to get the maximum benefits from it. While I understand motive of this kind of advice, I actually think it’s not the best idea. The reason why is because our hair tends to be in its weakest state whenever it’s wet (or damp). Then, if you add to that the friction that comes from moving around all throughout the night, not only do you up your chances for some major matting and tangling issues come morning, you could end up with some broken strands too. That’s why it’s far better to deep condition your hair for 2-3 hours before bedtime and, if you want some “extra moisture support” put a leave-in conditioner onto your tresses in the morning time instead.
7. You Don’t Treat Yourself to a Scalp Massage
I promise you that I am able to speak from very up close and personal experience when I say that if you don’t make it a point and practice to massage your scalp, at least 3-4 times a week, you are doing yourself a real disservice. Not only does it help to significantly reduce any stress or anxiety that you might feel, it also helps to calm your nervous system (so that you’ll be able to sleep better at night) and it stimulates blood flood to your scalp, so that your hair follicles can receive even more of the vitamins and minerals that they need in order for you to have thicker and longer hair.
While simply massaging your scalp with your fingertips is beneficial, you’ll really pamper yourself (and your follicles) if you apply a warm DIY massage oil to those tips beforehand. The tingling sensation that peppermint oil provides will help to increase blood circulation to your scalp. Rosemary oil is awesome because it promotes hair cell regeneration which leads to thickness and growth. Cedarwood oil has a reputation for reducing hair loss. Lemongrass oil reduces the growth of dandruff. Bergamot oil decreases scalp inflammation. Chamomile oil deeply moisturizes. Just add a few drops of one of these to one-fourth cup of a great carrier oil (check out “Top 20 Carrier Oils for Hair”), massage your scalp for 10-15 minutes and you’ll feel like you’re spending a few moments in heaven. Your hair will too.
8. Not Getting Enough Rest
And finally, did you know that over 70 percent of people in this country say that they have at least one night a month when they don’t get nearly as much rest as they would like? That’s not good because sleep deprivation can lead to all sorts of things including irritability, lack of concentration, a lower libido, a weakened immune system, a greater chance for high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes — and yes, hair issues. In fact, if you’re not getting an adequate amount of rest on a consistent basis, that can result in an increase of stress which can cause your hair follicles to go into a premature resting state and then a premature shedding phase. No one wants that which is why it’s really important to get no less than 6-8 hours every night. Your hair will thank you. The rest of your body will too!
Sweet dreams, y’all.