Answering the question - does having your dreadlocks tied up (negatively) affect their progress?
This is a really common question - lots of situations require people to have long hair either tied up, back or in a hat and so people want to know whether this is going to slow their dreadlock progress.
The short answer....yes, yes it will. When the hair is tied back or held down inside a hat, the movement of the hairs is restricted and when hairs can't move - they can't form new knots.
But don't panic just yet! While technically the restricted movement will slow down the progress of the dreadlocks... in reality it's unlikely you'd be able to notice much of a difference. This is because you never have a control set of dreadlocks to compare against - you are unable to tell how much slower they're progressing / you are never able to tell how much further along they'd be if you'd had them down 100% of the time.
There is what is ideal for the dreadlocks.... and then there is what is practical for your life. The two don't always line up. There has to be some compromise, some give and take.... your dreadlocks will survive being tied up while you're at work... whereas your work might not survive if you have your dreadlocks down! Compromise!
A lot of the beneficial interaction actually takes place outside of the working week anyway - a lot of the progression takes place from the interaction the dreadlocks get while they're being washed and dried... and also while you're moving around in your sleep!
My advice for people who do have to have their hair up is to use headbands rather than hair-ties. Thin hair ties will exert a lot of pressure on a thin band of hair and this can lead to the hair underneath the ties becoming thin and weak. Headbands spread their force over a larger area and so pose much less of a risk.
If possible wear a tam! If the hair just needs to be up and not necessarily 'tied back' then tams are great! They don't restrict all the movement and when the dreads rub against the walls of the tam it can actually encourage new knots to form!