Are You Sleeping With Your Hair in a Ponytail? Stop It!

Everyone has their own hair care ritual. It might be based on advice from your family or friends, tips you’ve read online, or simply the steps that seem to feel good on your hair.

Unfortunately, not everything you hear is accurate. You might be doing more harm than good with one simple mistake: wearing your hair in a ponytail while you sleep.

Why You Should Never Sleep in a Ponytail

You might have noticed that you wake up with a weird wave in your hair if you sleep in a ponytail. As it turns out, that’s the least of the problems that this common habit can cause. It can do serious long-term damage to your hair in multiple ways.

Hair Loss

The most noticeable and upsetting result of sleeping in a ponytail is a specific form of hair loss called traction alopecia.

When you wear your hair in a tight hairstyle like a ponytail or tight braids, it puts tension on your hair. Sleep makes it even worse because your hair pulls as you move your head around.

Over time that tension damages your hair follicle and it stops producing hair. The result is a noticeable thinning, especially around your hairline.

The good news is that if you stop this habit early enough, the hair can regrow. If you keep up the tension for too long it can become permanent, though, so now is the time to change your habits.

If you haven’t started seeing hair loss yet, you have a chance to stop it before it starts. Give your hair a break and let it loose while you sleep.


In addition to traction alopecia, you put your hair at risk for breakage if you sleep in a ponytail.

The ponytail holder creates friction while you sleep, leading to breakage. This can cause your hair to look frizzy, dry, and damaged.

Fortunately, that problem can correct itself rather quickly when you stop sleeping in a ponytail.

Other Tips for Better Hair While You Sleep

Giving your hair a chance to fly free is merely one of many ways you can prevent damage and even improve your hair while you sleep. Pair it with these other tips for a truly beautiful mane.

Pick the Right Pillowcase

You may have heard that silk pillowcases are less likely to wrinkle your skin while you sleep. In case you needed an extra push to finally buy one, hear this: that silk pillowcase helps your hair, too.

A pillowcase made of cotton or other materials can suck the moisture from your hair and leave it dry. It also has a high level of friction, causing more wrinkles.

A silk or satin pillowcase, however, allows your hair to glide around with ease. Your hair retains more moisture and the lack of fiction and tension means less breakage and fewer tangles.

Lay Down with Dry Hair

Many people believe they’re helping their hair by washing it at night. They think that letting the hair air dry as they sleep is healthier than using a blow dryer in the morning.

Unfortunately, you may be doing more harm than good. Your hair is at its most delicate and vulnerable while it’s wet. If you’re sleeping with wet hair, you’re more likely to have breakage.

When possible, try to wash your hair earlier in the evening so it can air dry before you hit the hay.

Don’t Just Brush Your Teeth; Brush Your Hair

We all have our nightly rituals to care for our health and our appearance. If brushing your hair isn’t part of yours, it’s time to add it.

Tangles tend to build on each other. The fewer tangles you have when you go to bed, the fewer new tangles you’ll have when you wake up. A paddle brush or boar bristle brush is perfect for detangling your hair before bed.

Don’t Sleep with Extensions

Hair extensions are popular for women with all types of hair. As fantastic as they can be during the day, if you have temporary extensions such as clip-in models, remove them before you go to sleep.

When you toss and turn, it will tangle your extensions and your natural hair while you sleep. Removing the extensions each night will keep them in good shape while also reducing the tangles in your hair.

Keep Moisture in the Room

If you’ve ever woken up after an indulgent night of drinking, you know what it’s like to feel dried out. Your hair feels that way every morning if your bedroom air is too dry.

The dry air will suck the moisture from your hair while you sleep. To protect it, start running a humidifier at night. Make sure you keep it in your bedroom so you reap the full rewards, even if you want your whole home to have more hydration.

Incorporate Occasional Overnight Hair Treatments

Most of the tips above are based around minimizing the damage your hair takes while you sleep. What if you could use your snoozing to actually improve your hair, though?

You can if you incorporate overnight hair treatments into your routine. You leave these treatments or hair masks on your hair while you sleep to deep condition your hair. You might need to wrap your hair in a silk scarf while using the treatment so it doesn’t get onto your pillow.

Keep in mind that there are numerous products out there. Choose one that has the focus you want for your hair, like hydration or damage repair. Depending on the product’s instructions, do these treatments every month or so.

Making Nighttime Productive for Your Hair

You already know how restorative a good night of sleep is for your body. If you follow the tips above and avoid sleeping in a ponytail, you can make it just as restorative for your hair.

Looking for more ways to enhance your hair’s health and look? Shop our hair accessories and check out more articles on our blog.