How to Sleep With Long Hair – Win the “Tangled Battle”

sleep wellness

“How to sleep with long hair?”

A problem as old as our species. As if it wasn’t enough to think about protecting your hair through the day and paying hundreds to get that clean, nurtured look you want.

Oh, we know the problem all too well..

You go to bed and every night you are “attacked” by your own hair. Or you have a peaceful night, but in the morning your hair looks flat and lifeless, your locks are squashed and you desperately want to call your hairdresser, but usually there is no time.

Here, we’re going to present some solutions that might help you win this tangled battle.

illustration of girl sleeping girl with long braided hair

Best way to sleep with long hair – 7 tips

Her majesty- the bun

I have long hair and this is my personal favorite. It’s the easiest and quickest method to keep my hair tamed during the night, and it doesn’t change the shape much. It also looks really cute when I wake up (Brigitte Bardot style).

Of course, some people find it uncomfortable, and it can be, especially if you have a really long hair. Good solution for that can be putting the bun really high or maybe even leaning in front of your head.

Also, bedtime hairstyles are probably the only fashion approved opportunity to use scrunchies and not elastic bands, since they are a lot less damaging to your hair.

woman sleeping hair in bun
girl sleeping with braided hair illustration

Braid it all the way

If your hair is very long and it’s not layered this could work great for you. It takes more time to make, and some time to practice if you are not familiar with it, but it gets easier and faster after the first couple of times.

Do it on dry hair, leave some of it upbraided in the bottom and make it loose to avoid adding stress to your hair and split ends.

This is also a great way to get a waved hairdo if you want to, and if you have locks it might get them tamed and more defined.

Some of my friends do have a problem sleeping with braids on, because it can make hair frizzy, but that depends of quality and type of your hair.

It would be best if you can try braiding for one night and see if it works out for you. Also, think about using some anti-frizz hair product, especially if you have a problem with that in general.

Scrunch it low

If your hair is medium length, you could probably benefit the most from this quick solution. Just tie your hair into a low ponytail, it will keep it from your face and it will be less tangled in the morning.

It doesn’t really do much in comparison to the “magic of the braid” and your hair might loose its volume, especially in the roots, due to all of the hair weight just falling down flat.

In all the scenarios above, it’s best to use scrunchies, or elastic bands with no metal parts on it (very important), because they can damage the hair.

low pony tail hairstyle for sleep

Keep it high or bring some pineapple

A great option if you want volume especially at your roots. High ponytail keeps your locks from being squashed, your hair is out of your way and, as mentioned, volume won’t be something you should worry about.

The downside is that it can put pressure on your roots so they might ache.

The pineapple hairdo is a great alternative, especially if you’re dealing with curly or frizzy hair.

You need a clip with a big grip to loosely grasp the hair at the top of your head. This way you’ll avoid the stress that binding inflicts on your hair and you’ll have a nice hairstyle the next day.

Stick with loose hair

If you don’t have a problem tossing around much in your sleep, this could actually work out nice for you.

If you manage to sleep with your hair falling from the side of your bed, you will keep you locks intact.

You won’t have to tie up anything, it’s very comfortable, but you hair is surely going to get tangled, at least a bit. This might help if you have oily scalp, because it let’s your hair breathe.

girl loose hair waking up
woman in night sleep cap

Cover it

This is maybe the best option for layered hair that refuses to stay in ponytails. It’s best if you use satin cap or a big scarf.

If you go for the cap, fold the edge of the cap all the way so you don’t have an imprint of the elastic band on your forehead. It might be a problem finding one that won’t slip off your head during the night.

If you go for the scarf, there are a lot of YouTube tutorials teaching you ways to tie it. It looks very fashionable actually, so you might want to bring that look outside of your bedroom.

The nightcap, however, will make you look silly, for sure, but if it’s comfortable who cares, right?

Nights in white (or any) satin

Speaking of satin, no matter how long your hair is, satin or silk pillowcases are the best to sleep on.

They are the least damaging materials for your hair and, let’s be honest, satin does give a touch of luxury to your bedroom, and a little luxury never hurt nobody.

Think about investing in one.

You can see our recommendations for silk pillowcases that are great for hair here.

sleeping on silk pillow

Back to you

Maybe you’ll choose to stick with one style that you are most comfortable with, or you’ll decide to change between the styles and that way you’ll end up with different hairdos each morning.

Personally, I’m all about diversity.

Whatever works the best for you is the way to go, but try some of these and have fun with it. Finally, please share any thoughts about what you found to be the best way to sleep with long hair – we can all use it.

On behalf of The Sleep Studies Team,

Katya Dadzis


  • Bob Ozment

    Bob has been testing and writing about all things sleep (and especially blankets, air mattresses and folding beds), for 8+ years now. before that, he worked as a Quality Assurance Manager with one of the bigger names in the sleep industry. He holds a masters degree Statistics, Actuarial & Data Sciences from the central Michigan University at Mount Pleasant. He's one of the people who designs our producing testing and statistical models. He’s a stomach sleeper, but nobody’s perfect.