7 Ways to Sleep With Braids

To maintain braids overnight, loosen them before bed to reduce scalp tension. Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase to prevent frizz and moisturize your scalp with nourishing oils. Use a silk scarf or bonnet for added protection. If needed, re-braid loose sections and smooth flyaways with water or leave-in conditioner.

You’re ready to sink into bed at the end of a long day and drift off to dreamland. But there’s one thing keeping you awake—how to make sure your braids don’t get messed up by morning.

If you have box braids, cornrows, or other types of braids and want to keep them looking pristine night after night, it’s not impossible!

You can actually prevent frizz and keep your style perfect even if you toss and turn throughout the night. We’re here to help, along with expert tips and advice from celebrity hairstylist Davontae Washington.

Keep reading to find out how to protect your braids while you sleep and wake up with them looking good as new.

How to sleep on braids

Making sure your braids look perfect in the AM is all about preparation and protection. “It’s essential to prepare properly for a comfortable and healthy night’s rest,” Washington says.

Here are a few ways to help you do just that.

Loosen your braids before bed

Even though it might seem counterintuitive to make your braids looser, you actually may be damaging your scalp and your sleep routine by keeping them super tight.

“Loosen your braids gently before bedtime to alleviate any tension on your scalp, ensuring a more restful sleep,” Washington recommends.

Use a silk or satin pillowcase

The best way to prevent frizz is by sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase since cotton can tend to—you guessed it—make them look frizzy.

“Investing in a silk or satin pillowcase can minimize friction on your braids, reduce frizz, and help them last longer,” says Washington.

Plus, a silk pillowcase feels so luxurious. Curious about which silk pillowcases to try? These are a few of our favorites:

  • Blissy Plum Standard Pillowcase: $89.95, blissy.com
  • Celestial Silk 25 Momme Pure Mulberry Silk Pillowcase in Floral: $42.99, celestialsilk.com
  • Slip Silver Queen Zippered Pillowcase: $89, slip.com

Moisturize your scalp

Applying a nourishing oil before bed helps keep your hair and scalp hydrated, prevents breakage, and promotes overall hair health.

Davontae recommends using argan oil or aloe vera gel, which you can dab along your hairline and scalp in between your braids.

Use a silk scarf or bonnet

Much like using a silk pillowcase, wrapping your braids in a silk scarf or bonnet helps keep them from moving, preventing friction and frizz.

How to fix braids after sleeping on them

So, you did everything right and your braids still look a little messy come morning. Not to worry! You can have them looking good as new before you head out the door.

Re-braid loose or frizzy braids

No matter how much care you take with your braids before bed, some may still unravel throughout the night.

Washington recommends identifying those loose or frizzy sections and re-braiding them “to restore their structure.”

Smooth down flyaways

Noticing a few flyaways here and there? There’s a simple fix for that, according to Washington.

Mist your braids with water to smooth them down. You can also apply a leave-in conditioner, like Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross Hydrating Hair Mist, to rehydrate your hair.

Add shine and tame strays

For a polished finish, Washington recommends using hair oil or serum.

“Apply a small amount to your fingertips and run them along the length of your braids to add shine and tame any stray hairs,” he says.


How do you sleep in braids without ruining them?

There are a few key ways to protect your braids while you sleep. “To sleep in braids without ruining them, loosely braid your hair, use a silk or satin pillowcase, and avoid crushing them while sleeping,” Washington recommends. Doing all of this will help you wake up with your braids looking good as new!

What position should you sleep in with braids?

There are a couple of ideal sleep positions if you want to protect your braids. Sleeping on your side or back is best since those positions help prevent the braids from being pulled.

If you prefer to sleep on your stomach, then try pulling your braids to the side or your back. Putting your braids in a bonnet or wrap can help keep them in place as well.

Should you go to sleep with your hair wet? Here’s everything you need to know about sleeping on wet hair.

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