Benefits of Sleeping in a Bonnet: Why You Should Do It

Last Updated On November 29th, 2023
Benefits of Sleeping in a Bonnet: Why You Should Do It

Key Takeaways

  • Universal Hair Protection: Bonnets provide essential protection against breakage, knots, and moisture loss during sleep, benefiting individuals with various hair types, including curly, straight, thin, thick, and fine hair.
  • Choosing Wisely: Selecting the right bonnet involves considering materials like satin or silk and ensuring proper sizing for comfort and effectiveness. The choice of bonnet impacts overall hair health and style preservation.
  • Preserving Hair Health and Style: Bonnets play a crucial role in preserving curl patterns, reducing frizz, and maintaining moisture, especially for curly and coily hair. For all hair types, adopting a bonnet ritual contributes to healthier, more manageable hair, reducing breakage and enhancing overall hair beauty.

Sleeping with a bonnet may seem old-fashioned, something out of a period drama, but this protective headgear is actually an easy and effective way to maintain healthy hair – no matter your hair type. Bonnets shield hair from friction and absorption into cotton pillowcases, preventing breakage, knots, and moisture loss as you sleep.

Those with curly and coily textures have long utilized bonnets to preserve their curls, but straight and thin hair can also benefit. This article will cover everything you need to know, from finding the perfect bonnet to properly putting it on and preserving curls overnight.

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We’ll also explore the specific benefits for different hair types. Read on to learn why you should consider adopting this ritual into your nightly hair care!

Finding the Right Bonnet

When selecting a bonnet, two key considerations are material and sizing. Common fabrics are satin and silk. Satin bonnets are affordable, ultra-smooth, and protective. The slick surface allows hair to slide smoothly rather than getting caught and pulled.

Meanwhile, silk bonnets are praised for being breathable and hydrating. The natural fiber regulates temperature and retains moisture.

Either silk or satin bonnet has materials that prevent drying fabrics like cotton from wicking away moisture. It comes down to personal preference and budget. If you’re looking to prevent frizz and maintain the health of your hair while sleeping, consider options like silk bonnets.

Finding the proper size is also essential for comfort and effectiveness. Take a measuring tape and wrap it around your head, passing over the peak of your ears if you’ll wear your bonnet over them. Compare your measurements to sizing charts when shopping online. The band should fit snugly without pinching.

When exploring options like silk sleep caps or bonnets, consider those with an adjustable strap or an adjustable band for a customized fit. Many users absolutely love that the best bonnets don’t leave marks on their hair while providing the necessary protection.

For voluminous or very long hair, consider sizing up to a jumbo bonnet with extra room and drop length. Avoid bands that are overly thick or tight, as they can break hairs. The bonnet should stretch to accommodate your hair while keeping it bundled on your head. Adjustable straps are a game changer, allowing customization for the most secure and pain-free fit.

Many users, including celebrity hairstylists, find that investing in the right size and type of bonnet is a game changer, making it easier to style hair the next day and contributing to overall hair health and beauty benefits of sleep.

Before the Bonnet

It’s good to have the bonnet be one of the last steps in your bedtime routine, as you want the minimal amount of jostling it might experience before you get into bed.

Before putting on your bonnet, it’s important to complete your hair care routine, along with other considerations like brushing your teeth and your nighttime skin routine. This hair care routine may include washing, conditioning, and styling your hair based on your specific needs and preferences.

If you’ve applied any styling products to your hair, it’s generally a good idea to let your hair air-dry or use a hooded dryer if necessary. Make sure your hair is not soaking wet when you put on the bonnet to avoid potential issues like mold or mildew.

Putting On Your Bonnet

Follow these simple steps when putting on your bonnet:

  1. Flip your head upside down so all hair cascades forward into the bonnet. For sleeping with long hair, accordion the ends if needed to fit.
  2. With your neck bent and hands inside the bonnet, hook the back elastic securely around the nape of your neck.
  3. Pull the front elastic onto your hairline, enclosing all strands inside.
  4. Gently scoop up your hair towards the crown of your head so the ends rest near the scalp. Pile thicker or longer hair into a loose bun or twist.
  5. Check around the perimeter of the bonnet, tucking in any flyaway hairs.
  6. For added security, use bobby pins around the edges or tie a silk scarf over your bonnet.

This contains all your hair neatly on your head through the night. Avoid pulling the bands too tightly or overlapping hair in thick sections, which can lead to dents and crimps. The bonnet should feel snug yet comfortable.

Preserving Curls Overnight

Those with wavy to coily textures have extra incentive to shield their vulnerable curl pattern overnight. You can choose to pile curls into a bonnet as described above. Additionally, apply your favorite curl cream or leave-in conditioner before securing your bonnet. This allows the products to deeply penetrate while preventing transfer onto your pillow.

If bonnets tend to shift or fall off, opt for pineappling instead. This entails loosely ponytailing all hair on top of your head with a scrunchie or spiral hair tie. The pony rests atop your head like a pineapple as you sleep on a silk pillowcase.

Avoid tight elastics which can dent curls. You can gently twist or braid sections before pineappling to encourage uniform waves, or simply gather hair as is. The silk or satin surface preserves both product application and curl formation.

For additional protection and elongation, loosely braid hair into one or two plaits before putting on your bonnet or pineappling. This prevents shifting and knotting through the night. Always avoid tightly pulling on delicate curls which can snap and lose formation. The goal is to provide a smooth protective covering.

Benefits for Different Hair Types

While those with coily and curly hair textures demonstrate the most transformative results from bonnet use, straight styles also receive immense benefits. Here’s a breakdown of advantages by hair type:

Curly/Coily Hair

Preserving clumps and curl formation through frictionless protection. This minimizes frizz and knots so you wake with refreshed, defined curls ready for a shake-out. Using the right bonnet size avoids flattening on one side as you sleep. Less disturbance also allows moisture-binding products to deeply penetrate curls overnight. Your hair remains hydrated, supple, and revived each morning.

Straight Hair

Though straight hair doesn’t require curl formation, bonnets still guard against dryness. All hair needs moisture, especially the fragile ends. Covering strands prevents the drying effects of cotton and allows oil distribution from roots to tips as you sleep. Without friction, you wake with glossy, smooth hair free of knots ready for a quick comb-through. Use along with a hydrating overnight mask or treatment to wake up with salon-fresh locks.

Thin/Fine Hair

Bonnets provide extra handling care while resting for those with fine or thinning hair. Avoiding tangling and breakage is crucial for retaining volume and length. Slick materials like silk allow you to slide hair into place without tugging or pulling through knots. Getting strands soft and smoothed out before securing your bonnet means less risk of traumatic brushing sessions. You reduce unnecessary stress and damage to your delicate strands.

Thick/Coarse Hair

If you have a dense mane prone to poofing, using a slip-proof bonnet prevents the dreaded frizz puff upon waking by protecting your hair overnight. This saves you time trying to smooth and tame hair before styling. It also retains moisture to avoid dryness from absorption into cotton textures through the night.

You want to avoid friction and maintain moisture with coated protection. Thick or coarse hair readily knots up, so enclosing tangles helps you detangle gently.

Alternatives to Hair Bonnets at Night

Several alternatives to wearing a hair bonnet exist, providing individuals with diverse options to protect their hair while sleeping. Experimenting with different alternatives allows individuals to find the method that best suits their hair type, length, and personal preferences.

Whether it’s a satin or silk pillowcase, a scarf, a sleep cap, or loose braids, these alternatives provide practical solutions for maintaining hair health and reducing damage during nighttime hours.

Satin or Silk Pillowcase

One popular choice is using satin or silk pillowcases. These smooth, luxurious fabrics reduce friction between the hair and the pillow, minimizing breakage and preventing excessive tangling. Satin or silk pillowcases are particularly gentle on hair, maintaining its natural moisture and reducing the risk of split ends.

Hair Scarves

Another versatile alternative is using silk or satin scarves. Wrapping the hair in a silk or satin scarf offers a customizable and secure protective layer. This method is ideal for those who prefer a more personalized approach to hair protection during sleep, allowing for various wrapping styles and tightness levels based on individual comfort.

You can even create your own DIY hair scarf with a carefully cut piece of silk fabric.

Sleep Caps and Turbans

Sleep caps or turbans made from satin or silk materials are also popular alternatives. These caps come in different styles, including those with adjustable bands or secure closures, ensuring a snug fit that minimizes slippage during the night. The breathable nature of these materials promotes airflow, preventing excess heat retention and maintaining a comfortable sleeping environment.


For individuals with longer hair who struggle to keep a bonnet on while sleeping, pineappling is a practical alternative. This involves loosely gathering the hair at the top of the head and securing it with a loose scrunchie or hair tie. Pineappling helps preserve curls or waves, reducing the need for restyling in the morning and minimizing nighttime hair friction.

Sleeping with Loose Braids

Loose braids or twists are effective alternatives for various hair types. Creating braids before bedtime helps prevent tangling and breakage, especially for individuals with curly or textured hair. This method allows for a gentle way to maintain the natural pattern of curls while ensuring a protective barrier during sleep.

If you don’t want to go to the effort of braiding, try a loose ponytail to control your hair. Ponytailing works for different types and lengths of hair, just make sure you don’t tie up your hair too tightly.

Sleeping with Loose Buns

A loose bun can keep your hair contained without causing tension or breakage. Avoid securing it tightly to prevent stress on the hair shaft.

While similar to pineappling, wearing your hair in a loose bun to bed is a more general and versatile option, suitable for various hair types and lengths. Meanwhile, pineappling is a specific technique often favored by those with longer hair and curly textures who want to maintain their natural curl pattern.


Is it good to sleep with your hair in a bonnet?

Yes, sleeping with your hair in a bonnet can be beneficial for various hair types. Bonnets help protect your hair from friction and breakage caused by contact with pillowcases. They also help retain moisture, reduce frizz, and preserve hairstyles, particularly for individuals with textured or curly hair.

Is it bad to sleep in a bonnet with wet hair?

Yes, sleeping with wet hair in a bonnet is generally not recommended. Wet hair is more susceptible to breakage, and the combination of moisture and the bonnet may create a breeding ground for mold and mildew. We advise you to allow your hair to dry partially before wearing a bonnet or opting for a satin or silk pillowcase if your hair is damp.

Why does my hair bonnet fall off when I sleep?

The likelihood of a hair bonnet slipping off during sleep can be attributed to factors such as the bonnet’s material, the method of securing it, and individual sleep movements. Choosing a bonnet with a secure elastic band and ensuring a snug fit can minimize the chances of it slipping off, providing a more effective protective barrier throughout the night. You can also try hair scarves, sleep caps, or sleep in with long hair in a loose braid or bun.

Do bonnets make your hair greasy?

No, hair bonnets are designed to protect and maintain the natural oils in your hair. However, excessive use of hair products or infrequent washing of the bonnet may lead to the transfer of oils and products onto your hair, potentially causing greasiness. Regularly washing the bonnet helps prevent this issue and ensures a clean and hygienic environment for your hair.

What are the pros and cons of hair bonnets?

The pros of hair bonnets include not just hair protection, but moisture retention and hairstyle preservation. Hair bonnets provide a protective barrier, reducing friction and breakage during sleep, and are ideal for maintaining hairstyles like curls, braids, or twists. They help retain the natural moisture in your hair, preventing dryness.

However, some bonnets may slip off during sleep, impacting their effectiveness. In warmer climates, bonnets might retain heat, potentially causing discomfort. Regular washing is also necessary to prevent oil and product buildup and ensure hygienic use.

How often should I wash my hair bonnet?

We recommend washing your hair bonnet every one to two weeks. Regular washing prevents the accumulation of oils, hair products, and sweat, maintaining a clean and hygienic environment for your hair. Follow the care instructions provided with your bonnet to ensure its longevity and effectiveness in protecting your hair.

Does wearing a bonnet at night help hair grow?

Wearing a bonnet at night does not directly promote hair growth, but it can contribute to healthier hair, which in turn may support overall hair health and retention. Bonnets are beneficial for preventing breakage and reducing friction between your hair and the pillowcase. A bonnet can prevent split ends and reduce the need for frequent trimming.

Less tangling and breakage can lead to longer and healthier strands over time. Additionally, using a bonnet can help preserve hairstyles, reducing the need for restyling and manipulation that can contribute to damage.


Regardless of your hair length, texture, thickness, or curl pattern, adopting the ritual of sleeping with a bonnet can transform your tresses. Take care when selecting a size and material that suits your needs and budget.

Get in the habit of putting on your bonnet properly each night to wake up with hair that’s moisturized and management-free. Combine with hydrating overnight treatments, silk pillowcases, or gentle pineappling techniques for amplified benefits. Your hair will thank you!

About the author

April Mayer is a sleep expert and writer with a degree in exercise physiology. She has dedicated her career to exploring the relationship between sleep and productivity. Her insightful articles, such as "The Surprising Way Your Mood Might Be Messing With Your Productivity" and "Wake Up to More Productive Mornings," have been featured in reputable publications like Forbes, Greatist, Real Homes, Thrillist, Tom's Guide, and Eat This, Not That. With a passion for helping others lead more productive lives through restful sleep, April offers valuable expertise on foods and vitamins for better sleep. As a trusted member of the Early Bird team since March 2020, she continues to provide informative and well-researched content.

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