29 answers

Sleeping with Wet Hair

My stepdaughter, who is 10, washes her hair just before going to sleep then puts it up in a hairwrap and sleeps like that all night. She is frequently missing school and sick with soar throats and coughs. My husband doesn't see any correlation between the wet hair and getting sick. Am I just overreacting about this? I would appreciate any comments that would argue either side.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Nope...wet hair doesn't cause illness. Lack of sleep and bad nutrition create a hospitable environment for illnesses.

2 moms found this helpful

according to this article wet hair and being sick have no correlation:


My daughter sleeps with wet hair every other night, she's never sick. I get a sore throat or cough if I sleep with the heater on at night. It dries me out. Try a humidifier and see if that helps.

Good luck! C.

More Answers

Hi K.,
As a child I had lots of sore throats, many bouts with strep and tonsilitus. I don't remember going to bed with wet hair during that time. During my younger adult years I would find that I was extremely susceptible to sore throats if I was out very late... kind of when there was that dew-wy kind of atmosphere. I try to protect myself from that with a neck scarf, that seems to help. At my present age (57) I go to bed with wet hair frequently, not wrapped in a towel, just towel dried, and have not seen that it has impacted my throat in any way.

I have a couple of suggestions, the first from my chiropractor. The NOW brand ElderZinc. It is zinc lozenges with elderberry juice. I keep them by my bedside, and if I have the slightest thought that I might be getting sick I pop one in my mouth and let it soak my throat. The zinc coats your throat and won't let anything stick and grow into an illness. Another great item is xylitol, it is a natural sweetener made from the bark of a tree. The Spry brand has wonderful lozenges and gum. Xylitol is really good for strengthening teeth. It also prevents things from sticking in your throat/ nasal passages and thus protects you from sickness. There is a nasal wash Xlear, gum and lozenges/mints. You can get them at the healthfood store or online. A good source online is Vitacost. They have really saved me lots of $.
I hope this helps.

2 moms found this helpful

No. Getting sick is caused by a bacteria or a virus that has entered your body through your mucus membranes or a wound. This comes from the old myth that being cold causes a cold. It's just not true. The girl probably needs to eat healthier food and vitamins. Most sickness and prevention can be handled with diet.

2 moms found this helpful

Nope...wet hair doesn't cause illness. Lack of sleep and bad nutrition create a hospitable environment for illnesses.

2 moms found this helpful

The only thing going to bed with wet hair can cause is dandruff. And even then its really a worsening of the dandruff you already have not a new problem. So unless she’s saying she’s sick b/c she doesn’t want to go to school with flakes the wet hair is not the problem. Make sure she’s washing her hands well (that’s how most colds are spread) and get some zicam gel swabs for her to use when she first starts to feel sick. I used them yesterday and am already feeling better. My partner had this same cold, refused the zicam and was out sick from work for 3 days.

1 mom found this helpful

Wet hair and colds do not have anything to do with one another. Colds are caused by a virus, and not by being cold or having wet hair. She may be suffering from allergies instead of a cold, those can cause the symptoms you mention.

I have always washed my hair at night but I usually do it earlier in the evening (in between 7:30-8:30) and it's usually dry by the time I go to bed. I wouldn't think that's the reason why she's sick all the time. Good Luck!

I am going to keep my response simple, because it seems like others have already said the same thing.

Being cold does not cause colds...germs do.

Sorry sweetie, but your husband is right.

My daughter sleeps with wet hair every other night, she's never sick. I get a sore throat or cough if I sleep with the heater on at night. It dries me out. Try a humidifier and see if that helps.

Good luck! C.

Colds are caused by viruses and Bacteria not by wet hair. My dad used to make me blow dry my hair every morning before I went to school so that I wouldn't "catch a cold", I still got sick, I still got sore throats and I still had a cough. It has been scientifically proven that sleeping with wet hair as well as leaving the house with wet hair has Nothing to do with getting sick. Colds and Flus are caused by Viruses and Bacteria and wet hair has nothing to do with it.
Make sure that she washes her hands everytime she uses the restroom and anytime she has touched a public recepticle. Nail biting could be the cause of her getting sick all the time as most people seldom think of what their hands have touched before sticking their fingers in their mouth. Maybe give her a little pocket size bottle of hand sanitizer although I don't recommend it as it kills the good bacteria as well as the bad and can lead to staff infection. I am a Medical Assistant and the best advice I can give is to make sure that she washes her hands often with soap and water.
I am 28 years old and I usually leave my house every morning with wet hair, if it's a weekend and I am working in the yard then I will take a shower and go to bed with wet hair and I have NEVER gotten sick from doing either my whole life. I have long hair, it's down almost past my butt and although it doesn't dry overnight it has never made me sick.

It sounds like she may have allergies. They are quite common and would have the same symptoms as a cold. If you want to change your home environment by using less toxic, environmentally friendly products, take this survey and see if these are products you use in your home. www.healthyfamilybiz.com/survey I too hate to see children always sick, especially if we can make things better for them.

From what I understand it's not the wet hair that brings on the colds but rather helps to lower her resistance to them. One thing you could do is to encourage her to wash her hair every other day and on the nights she does wash it have her braid it so it is at least contained while drying. Boost her immunity through good food and vitamins as well as making sure she is getting enough sleep. This will help fight off the colds as well.


hi my name is J. I'M in the health field and yes your step daughter going to bed with wet hair is cousing her to get sick a lot. You can try to comparmize and ask if she could blow dry her hair or towel dry it realy well before going to bed. You can also put and extra towel on her pillow case to help.

yes the wet hair is a bit part of it i try not to but sometimes i have to shower at night and i wake up feeling on the low side another thing that helps is making sure the pilow gets dry and wash everything often good luck on this one im on your side

you can't get sick from being wet or cold. it's a myth. you have to actually be exposed to a virus.

Once again, germs cause sickness not wet hair. Washing hands frequently is KEY in preventing illness. Is she sharing cups, straws, snacks, lip gloss etc with friends at school or elsewhere? Often parents don't see this activity and it can be a source of constant exposure. Please look into her diet, as well as to how much sleep she gets. Poor nutrition and lack of sleep wear down the immune system. Is her diet well balanced? Perhaps she could benefit from taking a multivitamin every day. Most people can even if they have a decent diet. I know it's been good for me to take a multivitamin every day. Maybe she should go to bed earlier?

Looks like you have a lot of advise-split about 50-50 on the issue. Because I grew up in a home with one shower I almost always showered at night and went to bed with wet hair. I don't think it is making her sick.

However-the wet hair may be creating a happy habitat for dust mites or mold or other buggers in her pillow that could make her sick. Maybe try a new pillow-or get a dust mite cover-or at least toss it in the dryer for a while-to make sure it is not staying damp all the time.

If she is chronically sick you may also want to try allergy testing-to see if there is something else she is being exposed to that is causing it.

according to this article wet hair and being sick have no correlation:


The wet hair is not directly causing her to be sick because as aothers have stated, illness begins with a virus or bacteria. However, it could be an indirect cause. We lose most of our body heat through our head, so the wet hair may be lowering her body temperature, causing restlessness at night. Lack of sleep leads to lower immunity, which leads to vulnerability for illness.

Request that she shower earlier in the evening or partially blow dries her hair before bed. Maybe you could compromise with her showering every other night because unless you have a very oily scalp, dandruff or have really worked up a sweat, hair is healthier when you wash it every other day and she would be getting a good night's sleep at least every other night.

Good luck, K.!


I'm 42 years old and very often go to sleep with wet hair since after all the kids are in bed, chores are done etc. nights are often the best time for me to shower. There is no correlation between the hair and getting sick. Your daughter is probably not getting enough sleep and therefore her immune system is down and she is catching more viruses.


I'm a former cosmetologist/hairdresser and I'm currently in the health care field so I'm going to weigh in and tell you the SAME thing just about everyone else has said.

The wet hair has NOTHING to do with it. Hair is dead protein (so are your fingernails and toenails).

Check to see if she's constantly congested (nasal congestion). If she says yes, then ask her to blow her nose and look at the mucus that comes out. If it's clear or white ... she's got allergies and THAT is probably the cause of her sore throat and coughs. The mucous may be dripping down the back of her throat at night. This is the probable cause especially if there are no other symptoms of "illness" (ie: fever, chills, etc.).

If the mucous is greenish or yellow, then it's an infection of some sort. If this continues to be a chronic issue, see her pediatrician about it. There may be something else going on if she's ALWAYS sick with a cold.

If it's allergies, see her pediatrician. She can be tested for what her triggers are and then you can do the best you can to eliminate those triggers from her life. Obviously some things can never be fully eliminated (dust for example) but you can take steps to minimize exposure to it (hepa filters for example).

sleeping with wet hair only gives you bent weird looking hair the next morning, doesn't cause you to get sick. she is probably catching the sore throats and coughs from classmates or has allergies.

Hi K., If the room I am sleeping in is cold and I go to bed with wet hair, then I always wake up with a sore, raspy throat. I'm hardly ever sick and never miss work, my throat is just raspy for a few hours the next morning. This has happened to me my whole life, as long as I can remember, and I am 57 years old. To avoid a sore throat the next morning, I wash my hair earlier in the evening or blow it dry before bed. Hope this helps, R.

Colds and other illnesses are caused by viruses, which has nothing to do with whether hair is wet or not. Make sure she is washing her hands frequently. This is the best way to stop the transmission of viruses.


Wet hair won't get you sick- low immunity meeting up with a virus will. But there are other reasons she might want to do this differently. The heat and moisture kept close to her scalp all night won't be good for her scalp. Can she just wash her hair earlier in the evening so that it's dry by the time she goes to bed? If she is frequently sick, there is probably something going on that is worth looking into. Compromised immunity on some other basis. It might be good to get a consultation with a naturopath. (Unlike medical doctors, a naturopath is interested in nutritional information and allergies, which are much more relevant than the medical establishment will acknowledge.)

K., Not that you need to hear more of the same but maybe the more people that respond with this same reply will help you to believe it is true - wet hair and being cold don't cause you to get sick. It's the germs that keep causing colds.

I was going to say the same thing that Kimmie G did.

I got this info from www.webmd.com

9. Can you catch a cold from getting chilled?

This is one of the most persistent myths about colds. The only way to catch a cold is by being exposed to a cold virus. Cold air may irritate an existing condition, such as asthma, which would weaken your immunity. This could make your body more receptive to a cold virus, but only if you come in contact with it. If you've caught a cold after getting chilled, it's only coincidence.
10. Why does my child always seem to have a cold?

School children are incredibly good at passing a virus along. Children naturally exhale more highly concentrated virus droplets than adults do. They also exhale them for longer periods of time. Plus, children are very active, always in each other's faces. And there is a general lack of hygiene - children don't their wash hands. They don't cover noses or mouths when they sneeze or cough. Even more importantly, they don't get very sick - which means they continue to spread the virus while they are very contagious.

My daughter is a swimmer. She swims twice a day since the age of 8, she is now 20 and always has wet hair. She also goes to bed with wet hair. She has had her up and downs with sickness. I have always made sure she has a healthy diet.

There is NO correlation. sleeping in wet hair is an old wives tale!

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