The only effective way to protect drying nail polish while sleeping is to refrain from sleep until the polish is dry. If the polish is still tacky, it may smear and ruin the bed linens. Reduce the polish's drying time by applying a quick-dry topcoat or spraying the nails with manicurists' setting spray.
Quick-dry polish is another useful, time-saving manicure product that protects nails during sleep. Begin with a clear base coat, then slick on a single coat of polish. Finish with a drying topcoat that includes hardening ingredients. These topcoats promote quick drying and do not chip, extending the life of the manicure. For the best protection, apply extra topcoat to the tips of the nails, including their undersides.
Another protective tactic is running icy water over the polished nails after they appear to be dry. If icy tap water is unavailable, fill a bowl with cold water, and add ice cubes and 2 tablespoons of salt. Stir and wait for the ice to dissolve before sticking your fingers in the water. Alternatively, remove the partially melted ice cubes with a slotted spoon. This prevents the cubes from knocking into the drying polish and creating gouges or smears.
Nail polish takes 24 hours to dry completely, even when treated with drying topcoats, drops and sprays. After this period, apply a clear topcoat daily to keep polish vibrant, shiny and beautiful.