How to Sleep with a Roller Set


My grandmother slept every night with her hair up in rollers. She had beautiful, bouncy, salt and pepper hair, and it always looked great. But I used to wonder when I saw her going to bed with her hair up in these hard plastic rollers, how did she sleep like that? Wasn’t it horribly uncomfortable?

Luckily for us, sleep-in roller sets have come a long way from when our grandmothers were young! Finding a set of rollers that are soft and squishy is easy to do. Nowadays you can get sets that are very comfortable and mostly won’t disrupt your sleep unless you are very tender-headed. Sleeping comfortably with a roller set is going to depend on a few things; what types of rollers you use, how you arrange your pillow, and your sleeping position.

Why Sleep with a Roller Set?

To achieve beautiful curls, whether you want ringlets, big starlet curls or even beachy waves, of course, you can use heat stylers, such as curling or straightening irons. But more and more we are hearing about the damage that heat styling does to your hair. Repeated use of heat styling can cause breakage, dry and flyaway hair, and even burn your hair. To keep their hair shiny and healthy, many folks are now turning to sleep-in roller sets.

How Do Roller Sets Work?

Using a roller set is simple, but it can take a little time to master. The idea is that you wrap your damp hair around the curlers then go to sleep, waking in the morning to big bouncy curls. You don’t want your hair soaking wet, or it won’t dry while you’re sleeping. But you also don’t want your hair to be completely dry, because then it just won’t hold a curl. One useful trick is to spray your hair with a fine mist as you’re curling it.

Covering Your Rollers

We move around as we sleep, and that friction on our hair can cause the curls to get frizzy if they’re not covered. It’s best to cover the rollers with a scarf, a hairnet or a cap in order to make sure your hair stays sleek and frizz-free. Many people even double up and cover them first with a hair net and then a satin cap. I personally use a combination satin bonnet and satin pillow case to prevent anything from snagging. Check them out on Amazon – ELIHAIR Satin Bonnet & Pure Mulberry Silk Pillowcase.

How the Size and Shape of Your Rollers Determines the Type of Curls 

The number of rollers you use will depend on how curly you want your hair, the more rollers, the more curls. And the size and shape of the rollers will determine what size curls you’ll get. For smaller curls, you’re going to want smaller sets, these may be flexible rods or smaller rollers. For larger curls and waves, you can use bigger, more cushiony sets. These sets are likely to be more comfortable for sleeping.

Adjusting Your Pillow for Maximum Comfort

Using a neck pillow is an excellent hack for sleeping with a roller set. Once you have the curlers in, you will find that your head is somewhat supported by them when you lie down, so a pillow may raise your head up too high and hurt your neck while you sleep. Either fold a pillow in half longways and place it just under the neck or use an actual neck pillow (like the ones people wear on planes). This way your neck will be comfortable, and your head will just rest on the rollers. For this to work you’ll have to sleep on your back though.

Best Sleeping Position

Sleeping on your back is ideal because it is healthiest for your posture. However, for sleeping with rollers, a lot of folks just opt to sleep on their stomach. If you’re already a stomach-sleeper this may not be much of an issue for you. But if you don’t want to sleep on your stomach or your back, your only other option may be sleeping with your head hanging off the bed. Unfortunately, although it may keep your rollers from getting messed up, you probably won’t get the best sleep!

As a solution, I highly recommend trying a neck pillow to help keep your rolls from putting uneven pressure on your head while you sleep. I’ve had the best luck using a MLVOC Neck Pillow (Link to Amazon) which has helped to my head from contacting the pillow or mattress directly, keeping my rollers in place, and providing me the freedom to sleep peacefully another night.

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