Busting the Myth: Sleeping with Wet Hair

For years and years, my mother and grandmother have been telling me, “make sure you dry your hair before you go to sleep, you’ll catch a cold if you go to bed with wet hair.” For most of those years, I’ve often wondered if this was actually true or if it was just an old wives tale. I actually prefer going to bed with a wet head, that way in the morning, I can quickly style my hair without having to damage it by using the blow dryer. Let’s bust this myth open and find out if sleeping on your foam latex mattress with a wet head is actually dangerous or a myth gone too far.

According to Discovery Health, 40 percent of mothers said they believed sending their kids out in the cold weather or to bed with a wet head would get them sick.

Where did the myth come from?

Who are we to blame for this notion of death by dampness? Part of the responsibility is taken by French chemist Louis Pasteur, who in 1878 exposed chickens to anthrax and then dipped their feet in icy water to see how it might affect their odds of catching the disease. The chickens developed anthrax and died. When he repeated the experiment but wrapped the exposed chickens in a warm blanket, they survived.

Human studies in the early 20th century seemed to confirm Pasteur’s research. A German scientist discovered during World War I that soldiers who slept in cold, wet trenches were four times more likely to get colds than those who rested in dry barracks. Somewhere along the line, a few mothers must have caught wind of these studies and began forbidding their children to step foot outside until their heads were bone-dry.

Myth busted

It’s also possible that people who believe that a wet head will lead to a cold have heard that a good percentage of the body’s heat escapes through the head. That is a myth. In actuality, you lose just as much, if not more heat through a bare arm or leg or foot as you do through your noggin.

The idea that going out with a wet head or going to bed with one will lead to a cold is, like so many of those other old warnings, just an old wives’ tale. So, if going outside with a wet head won’t give you a cold, what will?

Colds are actually caused by viruses. You need to be exposed to the cold virus in order to get sick. More than 200 different viruses can cause colds, but the biggest culprit is the rhinovirus.

So remember, the next time your mother tells you not to go to sleep with a wet head, you can always point to the evidence to prove them wrong. After all and old wive’s tale, is just a tale! But if you are looking to dry your hair faster, check out the video below!

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Amber Merton

Amber Merton writes exensively regarding green living and sleep. She has been an author on the PlushBeds blog for the past 7 years.

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