Along with the appropriate moisturizer, shampoos, conditioners and treatment methods, doing the right things before you sleep is important to ensure your natural afro or curls is well looked after.
Twists or Corn-rows Before Bed
Natural hair doesn't need to be wrapped (using a comb or brush to sweep the hair around the head into a mound) before bedtime because it doesn't need to be kept straight. The best way of preserving shape and keeping hair strands together is to twist the hair in sections or plait it in corn-rows.
The smaller the twist, the tighter the curls in the morning once they are loosened, but generally dividing hair into fist-sized sections and twisting (by diving each section into two and twisting gently but firmly until you reach the tip) is adequate, as are corn-rows plaited from the front to the back of the head. Both styles keep the hair in shape rather than splayed out all over your head.
In the morning, separating the twists or corn-rows with your fingers is preferable to combing it out. The less use of combs and brushes the better as these can pull out natural hair which is very delicate.
Moisturize Both the Scalp and Ends
Natural hair, especially the ends, needs more moisture than other types of hair. Dry ends lead to breakage so keeping both the scalp and tips well-oiled at night is a must. Light oils (olive or avocado oil works well) are better than thicker ones like Pink Oil, which can just sit on your hair and make it lank and heavy. Sparse oiling of the scalp followed by a bit more for the ends of each of your twists is recommended before bed time. The average sleeping time of six to eight hours, and the lack of harmful interference from sunlight or winds means nightly moisturizing is the best time for giving your hair the nutrients it needs. Repeat the light oiling for both the scalp and ends in the morning.
Silk Scarves and/or Silk Pillowcases
As you sleep, your hair rubs against the pillow and against itself which can also lead to breakage. This rubbing can be reduced with the use of a silk or satin pillowcase because these are made from softer materials that's kinder to hair than cotton. The hair oils you've put in is also more likely to remain on your hair if you use silk or satin pillowcases.
Because natural hair doesn't need to be wrapped, you can twist and sleep without a scarf, provided you're sleeping on a silk or satin pillow case. You may, however, choose to wear a scarf as extra protection, and it'll also ensure smoother hair in the morning.
There may be other night time routines you find work well for your hair, but doing these three things regularly goes a long way in managing natural hair.