Jonathan Van Ness reveals why sleeping with your hair down could be causing major damage

It turns out heat damage is a risk even when you’re sleeping!

Jonathan Van Ness attends the 28th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party sponsored by IMDb, Neuro Drinks and Walmart on February 09, 2020 in West Hollywood, California.
(Image credit: Getty Images / Jemal Countess / Stringer)

If you’re someone who’s suffering from damaged and lackluster hair, listen up! Professional hairstylist and founder of JVN Hair,  Jonathan Van Ness, says sleeping with your hair down could be causing serious heat damage and friction to your precious locks.

It seems like such a normal and harmless thing to do, letting your hair flow free while you drift off to dreamland—in fact, logically one would think sleeping with your hair pulled into an updo would cause hair damage. However, it turns out the opposite is true, which is seriously bad news if you can’t stand sleeping with your hair up.

According to the Queer Eye presenter and hair guru, sleeping with your hair down exposes it to heat damage and excess friction.

In a new YouTube video (see minute three), JVN explained: “This is me sleeping every night with my hair down. There’s a pillow, there’s my body,” JVN then acts out sleeping and tossing around, as you do when you’re asleep, before adding, “you’re literally just rubbing your hair all between your shoulders and the pillowcase for eight hours a night on your 98.6°C personalized flat iron."

JVN says that sleeping on your hair causes friction because you're rubbing it between your face and your pillow. JVN then elaborates saying: “that’s a third of your life that this hair, which is really similar to fabric, is just getting rubbed to death.”

You may very well be having a light bulb moment right now, especially if your haircare routine is top-notch and you use all the best leave-in conditioners and Olaplex treatments—but yet you’re still seeing signs of damage.

How to avoid sleeping with your hair down

So what do we do instead of sleeping with hair down to avoid damage? JVN suggests sleeping with your hair in a silk scrunchie, or if you have textured hair using a silk wrap or bonnet. Ideally, you want to keep the ends of your hair away from your back and pillow.

You could also try out silk pillowcases (another JVN tip), which are also known to be kinder on your skin and help prevent wrinkles—so win-win!

Naomi is a trainee News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team. She has a background in design, having studied Illustration at Plymouth University but has taken a leap into the world of journalism after always having a passion for writing. She currently writes pieces on fashion, wellbeing, and entertainment for GoodTo and My Imperfect Life and is training for an NCTJ Qualification. 

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.