How To Sleep with Permed Hair

By: | Last Updated: August 10, 2021

Does the thought of sleeping on your permed hair make you anxious? 

You don’t have to sleep upright to save your curls from crushing weight. 

There’s nothing to worry about, especially if you use the right products and adopt a simple hair-care routine. 

So if I were you, I’d start tonight and finally give my aching neck a break.

Learn how to sleep with permed hair without ruining it.

Does sleeping ruin your perm?

This is a myth! 

It’s an understandable fear, but sleeping on your perm only gives you temporarily frizzy hair and limp curls at worst. 

To prevent this, you can use a curl cream before going to bed. This preserves your hair’s form so that you wake up with bouncy curls in the morning.

Still, there’s more than that you can do if you want to ensure full-on perm protection. Keep reading to figure out which products and methods work best for you.

How to sleep with permed hair - sleep on your side

Can I sleep on newly permed hair?

Sure, you can, though it would be helpful to sleep on your side instead of lying flat on your back. 

You can also use a satin pillowcase and put your curls up so that the weight of your head doesn’t crush your curls. 

Don’t tie your hair yet, as this could affect the structure of your perm.

The real routine begins the day you wash your hair (which is at least 48 hours after)

And we’ve detailed what you can do before you sleep and when you wake up in the following sections.

What do you do with permed hair at night?

Shower and air dry your hair

Not everyone has the luxury of time in the morning, so there’s no shame in preferring to shower in the evening. 

There’s less pressure, so you have enough time to wash your hair thoroughly and, of course, enjoy the rest of your bath.

Just make sure to use the right shampoo. We have an article dedicated to helping you determine which formula is best for your scalp and curls, so you can head on over to that list if you haven’t yet.

After lathering and conditioning, rinse the product off to not leave any residue on your curls. Leaving so much as a drop of shampoo or conditioner could make your hair sticky and prone to collecting dirt. A thorough wash will make it easier to dry your perm too.

Now, air drying is the way to go. It’s the kindest method because it doesn’t destroy the structure of your curls or damage your locks with excess heat. If you have to sleep soon, you can speed things up with a towel.

Use a microfiber towel to avoid turning your perm into a tower of frizz. 

If you don’t own one, you can scrunch your hair lightly with your hands and a cotton t-shirt. Do not, however, rub your curls vigorously. This doesn’t dry your hair any faster and only ruins your hair cuticles in the process.

Adopt a bedtime hair-care routine

Compared to skincare, don’t you think that hair care is a bit underrated? I mean, when was the last time anyone asked you what your hair-care routine was?

Having one may not be necessary, but aftercare makes a difference in getting healthy, bouncy curls.

Your routine doesn’t have to be lengthy or too fussy. Figure out which products you need depending on your hair type and style your hair minimally.

Dry curls typically need a leave-in conditioner. Lightweight serum can help minimize frizz too. If you have damaged hair, though, a nourishing and hydrating protein treatment will help nurture your curls back to life.

Lastly, anyone can benefit from a light scalp massage. Apart from relaxing and lulling you to sleep, a massage can stimulate blood flow to your hair follicles and promote hair growth.

How can I protect my perm while sleeping?

Your hair-care routine at night gives you all the time you need, which is perfect because permed hair needs a little bit more TLC. 

Protect your hair by using the right products, styling it minimally, and sleeping the right way. You’re sure to wake up with fresh and bouncy curls every day.

Recommended products

1. Leave-in conditioner

Leave-in conditioners provide extra moisture and protection for your hair. 

Unlike traditional conditioners, you don’t have to wash them off. They’re best applied after washing and air-drying your hair or before you style with heat.

Leave-in conditioners are great for all hair types, but they are especially beneficial for dry and damaged hair. 

You don’t have to apply the product up to your roots. Focus on your locks and ends instead so that excess oil doesn’t pool in your scalp.

2. Protein treatment

Getting a perm alters the structure of your hair and may cause unexpected damage. 

But don’t fret because a protein treatment can rehabilitate breakage and strengthen curl patterns. It can also act as an extra layer of protection for chemically treated hair.

Protein treatments contain essential fatty acids, vitamin E, amino acids, and other minerals. They’re an all-encompassing treatment and are applied only once or twice a month. 

Leave the product on your hair for 20 to 30 minutes before rinsing if you decide to do it at home. You’ll see and feel the difference after a few treatments.

3. Hair serum or hair oil

Hair serum and hair oil are two different things. While they are both heat protectants, there are some nuances.

Hair serums help you achieve a shinier and smoother look. You only need to apply a few drops of this on damp hair and go from your roots to your ends. They protect your hair from pollution and prolonged sun exposure, so they’re great additions to a morning or quick styling routine.

Hair oil, on the other hand, has more to do with nourishing your hair strands. You can apply it on damp or dry hair and should evenly distribute it across your mane. There’s no need to start from your roots. It controls frizz and hydrates individual strands, so you wake up with shiny hair.

4. Silk or satin pillowcases

Sleeping on cotton sheets may induce friction and give you frizzy hair in the morning. 

Silk and satin are smoother and less likely to rub against your curls while you sleep. They reduce the presence of static and allow you to wake up with smoother, more manageable curls.

If you don’t own satin sheets, you can sleep on a microfiber towel. Gathering your hair in a silk scarf or turban also keeps your style in place. It even prevents the transfer of hair products onto your pillow.

Recommended styles

1. Loose bun

Did you get beach waves or a loose perm? 

If so, pulling your curls into a loose bun will help maintain that wonderful “S” shape. 

A bun might get in the way of sleeping, though. 

So, you should place it as high on your head as you can without pulling it too tightly. If your hair is too short for one cohesive bun, you can create more buns across your head instead. 

2. Braids

Braids are great if you want to add more volume and curls overnight. You can do this for all perm sizes and hair types. Make sure that you braid your hair loosely to avoid unnecessary hair strain. 

Avoid intricate braid styles and tight hairstyles as they can break your hair off. Just use a simple, loose side braid instead.

3. Plop

The “plop” doesn’t involve much styling. 

Apply a holding gel or cream on your hair and plop your curls into a microfiber towel. Secure the edges so it doesn’t fall off your head as you toss and turn into the night. 

You can also opt for the “plop” if your hair is still a bit damp. The towel dries your hair overnight and allows the curls to settle in.

Recommended sleeping positions

If you don’t have smooth sheets or don’t like gathering your curls in a loose bun before bed, then it’s best to sleep on your side. 

Try to strike a balance so as not to put all your weight on only one side each night. 

If you don’t mind sleeping on your stomach, this position is fine too.

How to freshen curls in the morning

Did you follow this guide and still wake up with ruffled hair and flat curls? 

Don’t worry, because that’s nothing a little water can’t fix. 

Simply head to the sink to spritz your curls back to life. Toss and scrunch your hair as much as you’d like to give it a natural bounce.

A volumizing mousse can give your perm some more body too. To ensure that the look holds, finish off with a holding cream.


There’s no need to deprive yourself of sleep after getting a perm! 

Maintain your curls by investing in the right products and by adapting a simple hair-care routine. Sleeping on satin sheets or using a silk turban will help too. 

Going the extra mile at night might be a bit more than you’re used to, but it will keep your perm looking like it did the day you got it.

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