After approximately three-million hours (in curl years) of product-testing, tutorial-watching, and incredibly bad hair days, I feel like I’ve mastered pretty much everything there is to master when it comes to my curl type. Except, that is, for one very elusive, frustrating aspect: How to sleep with curly hair. In my ~youth~, I tried to figure out how to perfectly preserve my curly hair overnight, and after discovering the only true answer was to sleep standing up, suspended in the air, I gave up and decided day-two hair was for curly hairstyles and updos only.

But recently, after chopping off a foot of hair (!), I was left with a new curl haircut and confusing length that required learning a new sleep routine. Cut to me, many weeks later, and I can now say that I’ve watched virtually every tutorial that exists on how to sleep with your curly hair. I’ve also personally tested every method that’s meant for my 2c/3a fine curls, and I’ve also asked my curl friends for their favorite methods for sleeping with their 4c hair. Basically, this is a group labor of love, all for your head.

Though some of these styles below may look familiar to you (especially if you’re a follower of the curly-hair scene) and are often demonstrated on looser curl types, it’s important to note that pretty much every technique, style, and trick surrounding curly hair was originally created by the natural hair community and only later adapted to work with a mix of loose and tight curl types. So, you know, not the invention of some rando wavy-haired ~influencer~ you follow on IG.

Got all that? Good. Now please sit back, get watching, and get ready to finally figure out how to sleep on your curly hair without the chaos.

Try Medusa clipping to sleep on short curly hair

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Now that I have shorter (read: shoulder-length) hair, my previous go-to nighttime styles don’t work anymore. Enter: medusa clipping. It’s essentially just strategically clipping up sections of your hair with small clips (I use Goody’s Mini Hair Clips or Scunci’s Mini Jaw Clips) to keep your curls somewhat intact while you sleep. And yup! I do this on wet hair, too. Know that your curls will look a bit wild after you unclip it in the morning, but they usually fall and settle on their own after 15-20 minutes.


How to pineapple curly hair to sleep

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If you’re new to the pineapple game, two things to note: (1) It’s been a staple hairstyle in the natural hair community forever (so no, it wasn’t just invented for sleepin’ on looser curls), and (2) It happens to preserve curls really, really well, which is also why’s become one of the number-one sleep styles for curly hair. A (sleep) pineapple is essentially just a super-high ponytail that keeps your curls from being flattened overnight. Though you can use a silk scrunchie to keep your hair in place, finer, thinner curl types can use spiral elastics to prevent creases.


How to wrap your curls in a silk scarf overnight

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Kind of like a modified pineapple, this silk-scarf wrap tutorial from PressedForCurls keeps your curls gently preserved overnight without the dent or crease than can come from traditional pineappling. Another major bonus? Silk doesn’t wick moisture away like cotton does, which means your curls will stay hydrated and knot-free throughout the night (bonus points if you also sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase).


How to pineapple short, type-4 hair

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If you’re working with a lot of tight curls that can’t fit into a classic pineapple, follow Naptural85’s lead and split your hair into three mini-pineapples with silk scrunchies (again, won’t suck the moisture out of your hair), then protect your pineapples with a satin head wrap or scarf.


How to sleep with curly hair in a buff

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Buffs are actually awesome for any curl type, whether you’re working with tight 2c waves or 4c hair, but they’re especially magical for the in-between curl types—the ones that easily get pulled out and flattened with too much manipulation. As Meg Conkling demonstrates, a buff essentially cocoons your curls without needing to clip or smush your hair.


How to protect 4c hair while you sleep

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In this tutorial, Annesha Adams breaks down four (!) different protective bedtime styles for your 4c hair (though, FYI, any tighter curl types can benefit from these tips and tutorials): loose double canerows, multi-braids tied back, a single canerow, and a double-twisted bun—all covered with a silk bonnet for extra protection. Her v hot tip? Prep your hair with hair oil before styling to lock in moisture overnight.

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