Why Did People Wear Nightcaps to Bed?

Trends change throughout the years, and what people wear to bed is no exception. In the past, people have worn many different things while sleeping. While it might seem weird now, nightcaps were a popular choice to wear to bed.

People wore nightcaps to bed to keep hair from tangling, and silk nightcaps could also make hair look shiny. However, most nightcaps were cotton or wool. They also helped people to keep warm.

Nightcaps may not be as popular now, but they have a long history. In the past and today, nightcaps can protect your hair while you sleep. Keep reading to learn how nightcaps have helped people get their beauty rest.

night scene with a person wearing a traditional night cap.
Evgeny Atamanenko@123rf.com

Victorian Era Nightcaps

While nightcaps existed well before Queen Victoria ruled the United Kingdom, caps were popular during the era. Many women wore nightcaps to bed in the late 19th century because they needed to.

At that time, electricity wasn’t available, so it was hard, if not impossible, to heat the home. During the winter, homes could get very cold. Because of that, women would wear long nightgowns to keep their bodies warm.

A thick nightcap could keep the head warm, but nightcaps of the time weren’t always the most fashionable. Women needed nightcaps to protect their heads, so it didn’t matter that much what the caps looked like. Some women had multiple bonnets to account for changing temperatures outside, and they would change them throughout the year.

Edwardian Era Nightcaps

At the turn of the 20th century, nightcaps lost a bit of popularity. They were not thought of as fashionable in any way. And as more homes gained electricity, the need for nightcaps for temperature control wasn’t as important.

From about 1900 to 1910, women stopped wearing nightcaps. However, within a decade or so, nightcaps made a comeback, albeit for a different reason. Despite cold homes being less of an issue, women started using nightcaps to protect their curls.

The nightcaps of this era looked like mob caps, and they had a simple design. These nightcaps were like circles of fabric with elastic on the edge. Nightcaps, at this point, also used different colors and were silk, and some had lace details. Once the 1920s hit, women started to consider nightcaps more fashionable as well as practical.

Modern Nightcaps

In the 21st century, nightcaps may not be as popular as they were a hundred years ago. However, some women still use them for many of the same reasons as our ancestors. A nightcap can be a useful tool for taking care of your hair while you sleep.

You can find nightcaps in a variety of colors, styles, and fabrics. Depending on your hair type, you can find a sleep cap that works for you. While it’s not a massive trend, you may have more options than ever when it comes to nightcaps.

Benefits of Wearing a Nightcap

Even if nightcaps were fashionable, the style wasn’t always the only reason people wore nightcaps. Because of that, you can enjoy many benefits of wearing a nightcap today. If you struggle to brush or comb your hair in the morning or your head gets cold at night, a sleep cap might be for you.

Consider these advantages when you wear a nightcap.

Avoid Tangles

Some people struggle with tangles in their hair. When your hair tangles and forms knots, it can be hard to brush or comb out. You could end up breaking your hair, and it can be hard to avoid the issue.

While some detangling creams and sprays can help, so can a nightcap. You can wear the cap to bed to protect your hair while you sleep. That can keep your hair in good condition and keep it from tangling.

If you toss and turn, it can be easy for your hair to get caught on itself. But if you contain it in a nightcap, you won’t have to worry about that happening.

Make It Glossy

Silk nightcaps can also make your hair look shiny and glossy. If your hair looks dull and lifeless, you may have tons of products to help. But the silk can make your hair look good and reduce the risk of damage.

You can get the same benefits as if you used a silk pillowcase, but it won’t matter what pillows you use. So if you need to wash your pillowcase or if you’re traveling, you can still make your hair shiny and protect it overnight.

While you can use nightcaps of other materials, they won’t provide the same glossy sheen to your hair. So keep that in mind when selecting a sleep cap if you want to use one.

Out of the Way

If you have long or thick hair, you can use a nightcap to keep your hair out of the way. As you lay down and find the best sleeping position, your hair could get caught. You could end up with your hair under your shoulder, for example.

Some people will put their hair up to eliminate the issue. But putting your hair in a ponytail or bun could cause other issues. The hair tie may cause a bend in your hair, and it may be hard to get the bump or bend out in the morning.

Even if you have short hair, keeping it out of the way can be useful. That way, you don’t have to worry about pulling on it in your sleep. And when you wake up, your hair can look smooth and sleek.

Temperature Control

It may not be a huge issue now, but you may want a nightcap if your head gets cold. If you don’t have adequate heating in your home, your head may get cold at night. So wearing a nightcap is an easy solution to the problem.

Just make sure you get a thicker nightcap that will keep your head warm. While the silk ones can help protect your hair, they may not be right in a frigid environment.

Best Nightcap Fabrics

If you want to get a nightcap, you should consider the fabric. Think about your goals for the nightcap as well as your budget. You can also look into color and design options to make it more of a fashion statement.

Here are a few popular fabric options:

Cotton

Cotton is a great material if you just want a simple nightcap to keep your hair up while you sleep. It’s relatively breathable, and you can find a cotton nightcap that suits your needs. You can get one on a budget, and you can find one in your favorite color.

Wool

While not as common, a wool nightcap is a great option if you live somewhere cold. You can wear a wool cap to keep your head warm at night so that you can stay warm and comfortable. These caps can be hard to find, but you can make your own if you can sew.

Satin/Silk

Satin and silk nightcaps are especially popular for hair care. If you want to keep your hair from tangling or increase the shine, you should choose a satin or silk option like this very popular cap on Amazon. You can find them in different colors and styles based on what you like.

Bamboo

If you’re undergoing chemotherapy or have hair loss from another source, consider a bamboo nightcap like this popular option on Amazon. The bamboo is seamless and comfortable against your head, and it can wick away moisture. That way, it can keep you from getting too sweaty, and it keeps away bacteria.

Final Thoughts

Nightcaps may not be the next biggest trend, but they’re useful for many things. People used to wear them to stay warm and protect their hair. And if you need those things, there’s no reason why you can’t find your perfect nightcap.

Read more tips about wearing a hat with curly hair in this article.

When you purchase through links on this site we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.