Sleeping with Wet Hair: Is It Bad for Your Health

Many of us have heard this from our moms or grandmas: “Don’t ever sleep with wet hair because you can get coughs and colds!”

There are also so many beliefs about how sleeping with wet hair can be bad for your health. But are these even true?

Myths About Sleeping with Wet Hair

Depending on where you’re located, there might be different myths and old wives’ takes about sleeping with wet hair.

Some of these are:

  • You’ll get coughs and colds
  • You’ll get a headache
  • Your hair will turn grey or white
  • You’ll have Bell’s palsy (partial and usually temporary paralysis of some muscles in the face)
  • You’ll get an itchy scalp
  • Harmful bacterial will colonize your pillows
  • You’ll develop a mental disorder
Sleeping with Wet Hair

Sleeping with Wet Hair

Debunking the Myths

Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Division of Infectious Diseases, explained that catching a cold from sleeping with wet hair is just a myth.

This idea seems to fit into the old bit of folklore that getting yourself chilled and wet will cause you to come down with a cold,” Schaffner explained.

You cannot catch a cold from being cold.”

He further explained that you can only catch a cold if you catch a virus that causes the disease.

There’s also no evidence that sleeping with wet hair can cause Bell’s palsy, turn your hair white or grey, and will lead to a mental disorder.

Is Sleeping with Wet Hair Bad for Your Health?

Though those myths aren’t true, sleeping with wet hair can still be bad for your health. Here are some of the reasons why – and everything is backed with scientific evidence:

  • It causes hair breakage because hair is weakest when wet. The friction from tossing and turning on the bed can break your hair.
  • It’ll make you feel cold – but you won’t get coughs and colds.
  • It can cause fungi and bacteria to grow on your pillows because the damp material promotes their growth.
  • You might get an itchy scalp but that’s due to the growth of fungi called Malassezia because of the damp conditions.
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