How do you Sleep With Dreads? [The Complete Guide]

black woman lying down with a smartphone

Do you have new dreadlocks? If yes, you’ve probably figured out that sleep will never be the same with this flamboyant hairstyle. Many folks never consider the problems that may pop up at bedtime with dreads until they finally go for it.

Then reality kicks in and they realize that sleeping with dreadlocks can be a pain, particularly for beginners. These troubles may lead to sleepless nights and low-energy mornings even among those with no history of insomnia in the past.

Shall we delve deeper into the history of this increasingly popular hairstyle?

How do you Sleep With Dreadlocks? 

Many things can go wrong overnight if you just jump into bed with dreads and start dozing off without taking the necessary precautions. Dreadlocks can take time to braid and the last thing you want is to disintegrate or mess it up. 

Remember, the longer the dreads, the more delicate it can be to maintain its overall look and feel. Here are a few tips to keep the dreads pristine overnight.

1. Tie Up The Locks

black man with tied up dreadlocks

Sleeping with short locs can be easy even as a beginner. However, opting for longer dreadlocks can pose lots of issues at bedtime. As such, tying it up may be the only option to enjoy peaceful nighttime rest. 

You may choose to tie it up into a ponytail or loose bun depending on your preferences with the help of an elastic band or headband. This should make the hair compact enough for a great night of rest for everyone.

Unfortunately, tying it up perfectly can be a struggle but as long as whatever you end up with makes it easier to sleep, go ahead and stick with it.

Also, make sure to choose a hair tie that is sturdy enough to keep the dreads in place especially if you’re a restless sleeper who tosses and turns all night long.

2. Pull Back The Hair

Pulling back the dreads into a loose ponytail can be another solid option to sleep through the night with the popular hairstyle. With the help of a headband or small elastic band, the dreads can be pulled back to the base of the head.

This should make it easier to fall asleep at night, especially for back sleepers who stick to a specific position throughout the night. During the pullback, make sure no strands of hair are left out to avoid the itchy feeling of loose braids around the ears during the night which can cause a significant disturbance.

3. Cover With A Stocking Cap

A tight elastic stocking cap can improve sleeping comforts and keep dreads in shape overnight. Just drape the cap over the locks, beginning from the hairline. These caps can keep the locks in place which prevents them from rubbing against each other and on your sleeping surface as you savor the delights of Dreamland.

Stocking caps can also prevent the dreads from getting frizzy as they rub against each other when not protected. They may also prevent the sheet’s fibers from locking onto your hair and pulling the strands aside.

Stocking caps may not be able to accommodate all of your hair for those with long dreadlocks but they can still offer lots of protection for locs at the front of the head.

The King.J Super Long Unisex Spandex Cap For Dreadlocks from Amazon makes it easy to tie up long dreads for convenient and comfortable sleeping all night long. It is breathable, lightweight, and stays put throughout the night.

4. Complement With A Satin or Silk Cap

There’ll always be a large portion of leftover locks at the back of the hair after covering those in the front with a small stocking cap. These left-over locks also need to be covered and this is where a large satin or silk cap can come in handy.

Just wear the satin or silk cap over the head, making sure no locks are exposed. A good night of rest should become a lot easier afterward.

The Awefeel Double Layer Satin Sleep Cap from Amazon can offer protection for all kinds of long hair. It provides just the right environment for long dreadlocks by locking up hair moisture to let you feel warm on cold nights and cool on hot nights.

5. Fan The Locks Above The Head

Do you find yourself in a situation where tying the locks into a bun or ponytail does not sound like a good idea? If yes, why not just fan the hair on top of the head on your pillow? Moving the locks onto the top of the head can provide comfort especially on a hot summer night when the dreads can do with a bit of air circulation.

The satin or silk fabric should offer superior protection for the dreads meaning a minimal risk of frizz in the morning regardless of the prevailing conditions in the bedroom.

This style may not be practical in the long-term but when you’re struggling to catch some Zs, anything goes sometimes.

6. Get Rid of The Pillows 

Pillows can be a barrier to a good night of rest among those wearing long dreadlocks. This is especially true for thick pillows and if you happen to be a back sleeper, ditching the pillows altogether can be a comfortable option.

This simply involves lying down on the back with the locs as support for the head and neck. However, do not ditch your pillows overnight unless you want to toss and turn in bed for hours. Instead, a fresh towel or even a thin pillow can provide ample support for the neck in the beginning. Over time, ditching the pillows completely can become possible.

Have you read the article we wrote on Sleeping Without Pillows? Click here for some helpful insights before going down the no-pillows route.

7. Choose a Cervical Pillow

A cervical pillow can be a dreadlocked person’s best buddy at bedtime. These pillows come in a contoured design that can transform the quality of shuteye for back and stomach sleepers by offering proper alignment for the head, neck, and shoulders.

The curves integrated into its design can provide space for accommodating long locks throughout the night.

My girlfriend loves grabbing the Milemont Memory Foam Cervical Pillow from Amazon at night after a hard day of work. She says the pillow allows her to sleep amazingly well with her dreadlocks by eliminating neck stiffness and shoulder pain. I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone with long hair.

How To Keep Your Dreads Clean and Fresh Overnight

Figuring out how to sleep with new dreads can be head-scratching for the majority of folks. Sure, those who have been wearing it for sometime eventually figure out how to get a good night of rest despite the weight of the locks.

But getting to that point can be a real struggle for beginners without clear instructions on what to do. Remember, it takes work to keep the locs clean, healthy, and moisturized.

Failure to follow the right protocols can lead to drying and itchiness which may interfere with the ability to get restful sleep.

1. Fresh Bed Sheets 

Fresh bed sheets are a must-have for anyone that wears locs. Changing your sheets daily or once every 2 days can be an important part of your sleep routine to keep the locks in perfect conditions.

Remember, the locs can easily attract dirt, debris, lint, dust, and all sorts of particles that may stick in the hair and affect its appearance. This is one of the main reasons why it is common to come across people with dirty locks.

Avoid synthetic fibers that may shed in favor of natural options such as wool, cotton, or real silk when shopping for bedding. These fabrics also sleep cool which can be rewarding during the summer and other warm periods when the locs may feel uncomfortably hot.

If changing your bed sheets daily seems like a stretch, do not forget to clean your bed every night. Lift the sheets and shake it away from the bed to get rid of dust, dead skin cells, and debris. You should also do the same for the pillowcases and run a lint roller on every inch of the sheets and pillows.

2. Massage The Scalp Daily

Massaging the scalp at bedtime may offer amazing results for anyone that wears dreadlocks. After a long day, these massages can offer soothing relief from any form of discomfort or stiffness in the area.

The scalp should be massaged by running the fingertips in circles across every inch to get the healthiest looking dreads.

Remember, scalp maintenance can be a delicate subject for anyone wearing locs. Unlike short hair or other types of hairstyles, locs can weigh heavy on the scalp, and typically, the longer the dreads, the higher the weight.

Failure to massage the scalp regularly can dry out the dreads and stifle hair growth by limiting blood circulation. This can lead to unattractive dreads that may be hard to look at.

However, daily scalp massages can help maintain the moisture of the dreads by evenly distributing sebum, a complex mixture of fatty acids, sugars, waxes, and other natural chemicals that moisturizes and protects the hair and skin.

More often than not, dry scalp massages may not be good enough to keep your dreads moisturized and this is where massage oils can come in handy. They can offer instant moisture to keep the scalp healthy and good looking.

3. Moisturize the Hair With A Leave-In Conditioner 

bottle of leave in conditioner

Another tried and tested method for keeping locs in mint condition is to apply a Leave-in Conditioner at bedtime. Remember to apply small quantities of the conditioner and avoid the temptation of over application.

The last thing you want is to go to bed with wet hair because it can lead to odors in the morning. Make sure to research Leave-In conditioners thoroughly if the locks are new as the majority of options on the market can mess up fresh dreads.

The good news is that there are different types of conditioners on the market and a glance at Amazon should reveal several options. Delving into the various customer reviews can point you in the right direction in terms of what to order.

The SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil from Amazon keeps my girlfriend’s locks moisturized and tidy to prevent frizz. It is perfect for all kinds of locks and has amazing customer ratings from other users online. She cannot recommend it highly enough.

4. Silk or Satin Pillows 

Dreads need maximum protection just like other types of hairstyles and this is why experts recommend sleeping on satin or silk pillows. These fabrics offer a smooth texture that allows the sleeper to maneuver his or her locs throughout the night with minimal friction.

Fortunately, these pillows can be found easily in every major retail store out there or even online. We recommend buying on Amazon due to the availability of customer reviews which can point you in the right direction.

The Bedsure Satin Pillowcase from Amazon preserves the appearance of all hairstyles including dreadlocks and cornrows. It provides minimal friction upon contact with your hair leading to stress-free snoozing all night long.

5. Palm-roll The Dreads In The Morning 

Even after following every tip we’ve shared here, you can still wake up with not-so-perfect hair. This is why checking up on your dreads first thing in the morning could be a smart idea. Any locks that look out of place should be palm rolled to compress and tighten the strands.

This should help keep the locks in place for as long as possible while maintaining its overall look. 

History of Dreads

Dreadlocks are strands of matted or braided hair that appear in a rope-like form. Dreads have been popular in various civilizations since medieval times. The hairstyle is believed to have originated from ancient Greece and there’s evidence that various groups of people across Africa, Australia, and Asia have worn dreads for centuries.

Dreadlocks have also become a symbol of the Rastafari Movement and been adopted in mainstream culture thanks to prominent actors, authors, and sports stars who have worn them at one point or another.

Whatever your reason for wearing locs, proper care can be essential to not only keeping it in good shape but also providing comfort day and night.

One of the biggest misconceptions about dreads is that it is a lazy style that requires little to no maintenance. But that couldn’t be further from the truth because a lack of proper care can lead to dry, dirty, and unkempt-looking locs.


Dreadlocks are a trendy hairstyle that can get you all the right looks wherever you go. However, they can be a pain at bedtime especially among those with long locks.

Those who grow long locks naturally typically figure out how to sleep with it by the time the strands get long.

However, if you’ve used hair extensions to grow long dreads, the struggle to sleep can be high at bedtime. The good news is that following our tips and tricks above may guarantee a night of bliss regardless of the length of your locks.

Gabriel Smith

Hello, my name is Gabriel and I LOVE to sleep. Okay, you’re right, a lot of people do like sleep. But my passion is actually not sleeping. My interest lies in the “theoretical part”. What to do before bedtime. What a good night’s sleep is. etc. In short, how to sleep well. I hope you share the same interest as me, and enjoy reading everything about sleep.

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