Jan 29, 2021

How To Sleep With Curly Hair

Sleep easy with your curls secured

Need a new way to keep your curls in check while you sleep? The good news is that you've got plenty of options. The even better news? If one method doesn't work for you, no big deal, you move onto the next.

Now -- on to the curly hair sleeping options!


Pineappling is the OG of ways to sleep with curls. It's pretty simple too -- all pineappling involves is pulling your hair into a ponytail on the top of your head. The trick is to keep your curls from being squished in between your head and your pillow, so the exact way that you pineapple depends on your sleeping style.

If you're a tummy sleeper, orient the ponytail so that it's fixed slightly above the crown of your head. If you're a side sleeper, pull your ponytail so that it's close-ish to your forehead (kind of like a unicorn's horn) but crooked, so it's on the side that you don't sleep on. And if you're a back sleeper, go for a ponytail that's as close to your forehead as possible -- full on unicorn. PS: pro tip -- if you're struggling to capture all the tresses, lay on your bed upside down so gravity does the work for you.

Wanna take your pineapple ponytail to the next level? Add some accessories. Switch out your basic hair tie for a big ole' satin scrunchie. This will reduce the amount of friction your hair undergoes while you sleep. If you want to keep your curls a bit more contained, you can tie up your tresses with a silk or satin scarf.

Satin Nightcap

Will sleeping in a satin nightcap make you feel like a grandma? Probably. But sleeping grandma style might just be worth it for the amazing next day curls.

Once you've acquired your stain nightcap, pineapple your hair using the instructions above. After you've done so, plop on your nightcap and carefully stuff in any strands that are still sticking out. Be sure that your pineapple remains well-secured on the side you want it to be on. Your goal is to prevent your curls from being mushed under your head, so the security of the ponytail is super important.

Satin nightcaps work best for people who toss and turn at night -- pineappling alone doesn't work for them very well. Nightcaps also provide a little bit of assistance in containing overnight shedding, since the cap catches the hairs before they can get stuck in the sheets.

Nightcaps might not work as well for people who live in super warm/humid climates. If you're trying to sleep in a hot environment, the cap can trap the heat and moisture of your scalp, making it hard to sleep. You also might want to avoid using a nightcap if you have acne prone skin that's triggered by hats or headbands.

The Claw

If your hair is too long for a standard pineapple or doesn't do well with being squished into a nightcap, the claw might be the sleep-style for you. As the name suggests, you'll need a giant claw clip to pull this one off (and by giant, we mean at least 5 inches long. We really don't recommend this with a smaller clip -- it won't be able to hold all the hair, and might smush them instead).

First pineapple your hair on top of your head. If your hair is so long that pulling your curls through a ponytail holder would deform them, opt for a giant and super loose scrunchie for your pineapple.

Once your pineapple is complete, gather the long strands of your ponytail in your hands. Clasp them into place alongside your ponytail with the claw clip. It doesn't need to be tight -- it's okay for your curls to be able to breathe. Just be sure that your curls are contained enough so that they're not flopping all over your pillow and face as you seep.

The claw works best for long haired curlies who either stay still when they sleep, or toss and turn a small amount. Claws can be sharp and uncomfy when they dig into the skin. If you're a truly wild sleeper, this might not be the style for you.

Big Braids

This is another style for long-haired curlies, mostly because they're the only ones with enough hair to pull it off.

Gather your hair at the top of your head, like you're getting ready to pineapple. But instead of pineappling, braid your hair beginning between the crown of your head and your forehead. You'll end with a funky looking high ponytail/braid hybrid.

While braiding, handle your curls with care. Avoid pulling the strands tight, as you want your curls to have space to breathe -- the goal is a chunky, very loose braid.

Once you hit the sheets, be sure that your braid isn't being squished underneath your head. If you're a back sleeper, position it so that it sticks out straight out from the top of your head, without being tucked under your head at all. If you're a side sleeper, push the braid so that it faces away from you as you sleep.

The multi-pineapple

Short haired curlies -- this one's for you. If your hair is too short to be ponytailed, the multi-pineapple is the way to go.

Like the classic pineapple, you'll want to position your hair away from whichever side of your head hits the pillow. The shorter your hair, the more pineapples you'll need. Since you'll have multiple ponytails they might not be as perfectly positioned as a single pineapple might be, but don't worry too much about the aesthetics.

The multi-pineapple works differently for different types of curls, so it takes a bit of trial and error to find the best approach for you. Some curlies also prefer to add a satin bonnet -- do what works for you!

The Buff

Ever heard of a Buff? It's that stretchy thing that outdoors-y people wear during the winter to keep their cheeks, mouths, and necks warm. It also works surprisingly well for maintaining short curls while you sleep.

Once you've acquired a buff (or a buff knockoff, we don't judge!), pull it over your neck. Flip your head over so that all your hair hangs down, and stretch the buff over your head like a headband. Pull your hair through it, so your curls are held in the tube. The buff should then be tucked at the base of your skull so that it covers your hair completely. From there, just keep your hair above your head on your pillow -- no pinappling required.

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Caroline Schmidt