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What are Sleeper Earrings?

Anna T.
Updated May 21, 2024
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Sleeper earrings, also frequently called starter earrings, are designed to be worn by people who have had their ears pierced for the first time. They are named as such because they must be worn around the clock, which includes during sleeping time. Most of these earrings have a smooth front with unusually short posts and screw on backs. These earrings are additionally often made of hypoallergenic metals, such as sterling silver, gold, or surgical steel. Once the ears have healed completely from the piercings, these earrings can typically be replaced by other types.

A person who has just had her ears pierced will likely be better off using only sleeper earrings until they have healed. It is not usually a good idea to continually remove and replace earrings from newly pierced ears, because this can increase the risk of infection and might also cause some discomfort or irritation. The amount of time it may take for a person's ears to heal from piercing varies, but the same earrings should be kept in place until healing is complete. They are made to be comfortable throughout the day, whether a person is awake or asleep.

Many people with newly pierced ears, particularly small children, wear sleeper earrings in the form of smooth studs. This choice might be best for children because a child might be less likely to play with the earring and attempt to pull it out. Some sleeper earrings come in the form of hoops, which might be a good choice for an older person with a new ear piercing. These hoops may appear more stylish than simple studs, while serving the same purpose of being comfortable throughout all hours of the day. The hoops might be a bad choice for a child because the chances are probably greater that a child would pull or tug on the hoop and inadvertently take it out.

Even though there may be some sleeper earrings available that are made of inexpensive metals, it may be best for a person to spend a little extra and buy either gold or silver. This is because the less expensive metals often contain nickel, which many people are allergic to. Even if a person has no known allergy to nickel, it can still develop over time, particularly if the earrings are worn non-stop. It's usually best to pick out sleeper earrings made from high-quality hypoallergenic materials because the earrings must be worn for extended periods of time.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to BeautyAnswered. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By anon999091 — On Oct 25, 2017

Eleeper earrings are actually rings.

By anon996905 — On Oct 23, 2016

Great info for a father who was otherwise clueless!

By irontoenail — On May 12, 2012

@KoiwiGal - I tend to use sleeper earrings almost all the time on my cartilage piercings. I only put in more fancy earrings when I'm going out, or want to dress up for another reason.

I think it's just because of the way they are situated, but they can get irritated really easily. Hair can get caught in the earring and pull, or they can dig into the ear when you are sleeping and roll onto them.

I just found really nice rose gold stud earrings to put in that sit very flat so I can sleep on them and everything and they work very well as sleeper earrings.

By KoiwiGal — On May 12, 2012

@umbra21 - It could have been a couple of different things. Some people are allergic to gold, I think or it might have been the metal the gold was mixed with. It might even have just been that the earrings had a chemical or a bacteria on them that hurt her ears. Lots of people assume because earrings are new, they are safe, but you should absolutely disinfect any new earrings before you wear them.

That's actually a good use for sleeper earrings and that's why I keep sterling silver hoop earrings on hand all the time. Ear holes get infected or sore all the time from lots of different things. If they are hurting the best thing you can do to make them feel better is to put in some sleeper earrings and let them rest for a bit.

I've had mine pierced for decades and I still need to do this sometimes. If you don't put in sleeper earrings and leave them free, you run the risk of the holes closing up, but you don't want them to be aggravated by the wrong kind of earring either.

By umbra21 — On May 11, 2012

Buying earrings made of gold is not a complete guarantee that they are going to be hyper-allergenic so bear this in mind when you are picking out your first set of earrings and monitor your ears for any unexpected swelling.

My father bought my mother gold earrings as a birthday gift right after they were married and she happily put them in.

She was stubborn about it, because she didn't want to hurt his feelings but after a few days she had to take them out again. They had made her ears swell up terribly.

Gold generally doesn't react much, so it might have been some kind of composite metal, but to this day my mother refuses to wear gold jewelry in her ears, as she doesn't want that to ever happen again.

Anna T.
Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to BeautyAnswered. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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