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Curly Nikki

How Can I Avoid Waking up With Matted Hair?

By January 27th, 202125 Comments

by KurlyBella of

a reader asks:

bella, my hair is very kinky like yours and I think we are hair twins! I wanted to know how you handle night time matting. My hair, more specifically my roots, matts like crazy at night. Do you ever have this problem? What can I do to avoid this?

KurlyBella responds:

Let me tell you a story. One day a long time ago, I had this brilliant idea that I could sleep with my hair all out. So, I did. That fateful night, I went to bed with my wash and go just out and about. “I’ll wake up and everything will be fine. My hair will be loose and I will be able to fluff it up and just mist it and go”, I thought.

Ha! I did go to sleep and it’s evident that I did wake up as I’m writing this post, but let me tell you about my hair. Whoa honay! That pretty wash and go fluffed out hair had turned into one big dreadlock. eh mon! I was straight up rasta, okay?! I could have rolled up a doobie and started singing 90′s mad cobra songs….gal flex!

It was a hot tangled mess. The back of my head looked like a matted up rats nest because not only did I go to sleep without prepping my hair, I’d sweated in my sleep because it was a hot summer night and I thought I’d just sleep with the window open and not turn on the ac. Let’s do the hair math…sweat equals water equals shrinkage equals mats when you sleep on wet, shrunken hair.

The back of my head was a kinky carpet and looked like I’d just did a big chop in the back of my head! Straight up George Jefferson, okay?! I will never, ever do that again…

So, how can you avoid waking up with matted hair? Simply, don’t go to sleep without prepping your hair. Okay, yeah, you could go to sleep with your hair just hanging “out” but I really don’t suggest this method for kinky girls with hair longer than a TWA. Yes, any texture of hair can experience tangles, but kinky type 4 hair is just one knot away from being a dreadlock because our kinks and curls are drawn to each other like Rihanna is to a tattoo. Prep your hair by putting it in big twists or braids at night and wrapping it in silk or sleeping on a silk pillow case. This simple tip will save you tons of detangling time, possible hair loss, tears and headaches.

No need to end this with “ask me how I know”!

What say you? Have you ever woken up from a restful slumber with a sleep induced patch of matted hair?


  • WaterBaby says:

    Yes! The only time I sleep with my hair out is if I'm too tired to platt it but I KNOW if I wake up I'm going to wash it in the morning. I have super kinky hair and have this problem even though my hair is just a tad bit longer than a twa when stretched out(which is another problem in itself smh).

  • Anonymous says:

    the lolcats can relate

  • Anonymous says:

    It so weird that this has come up. I've been fully natural since November and every night I put my hair in too four huge canerows as my night time style. Last Saturday I just came back from a party and was staying at my dad's house as was very close going to bed with my hair loose for the first time. But I looked at my hair and was thinking "nah I can't be doing that" and put it in to my usual night time stlye.

  • Anonymous says:

    @mangomadness…my point was "I was making a comment". and your point is? I din't see where you were the comment moderator.

    a comment is for thought and perspective from different people. that is the reason i read them.

    your comment made me think as well.

    that is one thing I appreciate about this site is there are so many women out there with an opinion about hair and are free to express it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Lol at people who refer to those of us who try to avoid unnecessary stereotypes as "PC" in a sarcastic manner. Not PC, just common decency. This post could have been just as informative without the unnecessary (and not all that funny) commentary IMO. Guess that makes me "uptight". Apparently snarky b.s. is the only way to "keep it real"

    Anyway, those were decent suggestions to avoid matting. I've found that putting in a looser version of the original style is usually the best way to preserve it. i.e. large loose twists to preserve a twist out.

  • Anonymous says:

    Okay, I have to say this, because it really irks me every time people reference a comment using the timestamp:

    The time that you want to use is the one BELOW the comment you're talking about. BELOW! NOT ABOVE! STOP THE MADNESS!

    End rant.

  • Anonymous says:

    Lol "gal flex"- that was hilarious!
    I've been loced several times off and on and wasn't offended at all. I love intentional locs, but if you are not planning to loc then waking up with matted hair is no fun.

    I'm bad- I do sleep loose many a night. I rarely mat up but it will get frizzy. My hair does much better in a pineapple or loose scarf.

    Kurlybella I so heart you! One of the few natural bloggers that is both lighthearted, funny, AND informative way without being afraid to tackle real ish.

  • Anonymous says:

    Girl this was too funny (cute references) and true. I never did the open hair sleeping, but have had a couple tangled shampoo nightmares.

    And for the PC folks, locs were not what they are now. As far as I recall the rastafarian trend gained popularity due to Robert Nestor Marley, aka Bob Marley. When I grew up in Trinidad those with matted hair were referred to as rastas. Plain and simple. We sometimes referred to individuals as dredy or dread locks. Oh and some were known to smoke a "spliff" or two. There was no glamorization of hair of that nature. Now it's a differenct story.

    Also note the difference in Bob Marley's strands as opposed to someone who has theirs professionally or (carefully locked)for example Whoppie. Hers is not a tangled mess.

  • Anonymous says:

    All over this hunny! If I had one wish… I wish I could sleep with my hair out. I am one year natural and have type 4 hair. On its good days, I can have the most beautiful twist outs and knot outs. Gorgeous. But try to stretch it an extra day without re-twisting… Stop the presses,kill the music, hit the lights… *back hits hall as I slide to the floor*lol. I'll wake up to a TWA. Not just a shrunken mess, but a shrunken mess that could easily be mistaken for a 3 month moisture depleted wash and go. FYI wash/go aftermath for the type 4 naturalistas is slow death by way of tangle and knots.

  • Earth Angel says:

    Whether your hair mats easily or not has nothing to do with how tightly curled it is. I learned that from my grandmother's hair, loosely curled afro hair that was *straightened* at the time. I *could not* get the knots out and had to get my cousin's daughter to help. My 4a/b hair however, is hard to loc/mat. I get a lot of matting now, for the first time, b/c I have texturized and natural hair together on my head. The natural hair stays loose, but the straighter hair, and of course where the two textures meet, mats like crazy. It took all that for me to understand how white people can loc. Also, a friend of mine loc'd her relaxed hair. I agree – a couple of loose braids or twists will do the trick to prevent matting.

  • april says:

    I agree with Anon @ 3:19. I found that part of the article to be a bit extra. And I think that there is a difference between dreads and locs, for me dreading is the willful allowing for your hair to matt, while locing is the willful forming of structure and a "style." You can form locs by palm rolling sections of your hair or by using two or three strand twists.

    Anywho I've never experienced such matting as described in this article. The last time I had braids however my hair knotted up quite awfully. But when my hair does knot its usually due to leaving it out and retwisting on dry hair. I try to keep it moisturized and wear it mostly in protective styles like twists and pinned up twists. Protection is the key

  • Anonymous says:

    Why is there aways someone who tries to make a article out of something it's not??????? Anyone can tell that the author was just trying to be funny! and she was! Geesh, lighten up!

  • Anonymous says:

    People who wear locs do so out of preference and there is nothing wrong with that.However this article is about matted hair so back to the topic!
    I usually wear a satin bonnet and sometimes will braid my hair in 4 plaits and that helps me with the tangles. The key is the satin bonnet without that my hair is in trouble as i am transitioning.

  • Anonymous says:

    not to take away from the advice you gave, but i was personally offended by the imagery you used in reference to waking up rasta and rolling a doobie. the 2 are not mutually exclusive and could easily be interpreted as such by someone who is not aware of loc culture.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think if you loosely put your hair in a satin scrunchie as high up on the head as you can (if its long enough) OR

    Put in at least 4 twists/braids
    Wit a satin cap, you can avoid matting. Either of these take a small amount of time.

    Good luck!

  • Anonymous says:

    4-6 loose twists. Doesn't disturb the curl pattern just keeps tangling and matting at bay.

  • mangomadness says:

    @Anonymous 2/22/11 1:56 pm.:
    Yes, locs are matted hair… What's your point? If you don't like locs that's cool but the post isn't about your "understanding" locing and/or locs.

  • Anonymous says:

    …all the more reason I don't understand why people loc their hair. I don't care how much you explain it or believe whatever it is one might believe about loc-ing…basically it is a matted bunch of hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Gurlfriend do I relate!! I moisturize and braid every night, but this particular night I decided to sleep with my 4a/b/c hair out because I was going to wash it in the morning instead of my usual evening routine. WRONGGG MOVE!! My reality is that I will have a dreaded, matted, tangled dry bird's nest in the morning if I don't braid or twist at night — that's just how it is; so I accept and roll with it. I also remember that I had to roll and/or wrap my hair when it was straight and that was not much better–especially sleeping on rollers; so either way my hair requires some nighttime work because I prefer shoulder-length hair surrounding my face. Rihanna to a tattoo –priceless 🙂

  • Anonymous says:


  • Anonymous says:

    hey… this sounds exactly like what happened to me. i have very very kinky hair and i did the cutest wash and go one morning. At night, i just wore a silk cap and went to bed. the next morning it was the most tangled matted mess you've ever seen. Ever since i do a braid out at the beginning of the week and then sleep with my hair in a high bun all week.

  • Anonymous says:

    Not since my TWA days…

    Currently, my 4a/b hair is collarbone length. I cover my flat twist outs, braid outs or bantu knot outs with a satin bonnet before bed for days at a time (without re-moisturizing, re-twisting and/or re-braiding) and I have no problem with matting. I cover my (co)wash-n-go puffs with a satin scarf/bonnet combo and I get no matting. *shrugs*

  • lisa says:

    Yes. Oh my goodness I had the bright idea to deep condition my hair over night in a plastic cap. My hair was coated from root to tip with conditioner and oil. I went to sleep, got up to rinse and was in the shower like I hadn't spent 30 minutes (my hair is past arm pit length and has tons of strands) detangling it the day before. Ugh. Never again. I always deep condition my hair with it in twists. All the tossing and turning I did caused major tangling. I always twist or pineapple before bed now, no matter how I style my hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    like rihanna to a tattoo bahahahaha

  • Anonymous says:

    Interesting post.

    I love how Curly Nikki keeps it moving on this site.

    Well, last night I wrapped my wash-n-go in a silk scarf and that seemed to help the matting.
    I don't even try to get a comb through it because I have come to accept and believe that my natural wash-n-go don't like that. So, I just kinda rub and gently pull it around to the desired look.

    Braiding at night seemed to help with this as well.

    I can't wait to read the other responses to this because I have this same issue when I sleep with my hair out…whether it is pressed, wng, or twist.

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