Piercing your ears is always an amazing experience, regardless of whether you’re doing it for the first time or simply love piercings. Of course, it hurts a little at first and takes some time to heal, but the result is a stylish and fashionable accessory that you can flaunt around without a problem. The healing problem can be a bit difficult, however, especially if you have difficulties sleeping with a new piercing.
We all know that sleeping and a healthy sleep cycle, in general, are crucial for the normal functioning of your nervous system and brain during the day. The experience of getting a piercing, regardless of where it is can cause pain and discomfort which can reflect on your sleep cycle and make you groggy and nervous in the morning.
Of course, the healing process of a piercing can take anywhere from several days or a week up to a month and more if you have sensitive skin. That said, some people are ready to endure a few days of poor sleep quality until the early healing results are visible.
Still, not everyone can, which is why it’s important to follow strict rules when it comes to caring for your ear and sleeping with new piercings.
If you had only one of your ears pierced, it’s not that bad. You can always sleep on your back or the opposite side of where your new piercing is until the tissue started healing. However, when you get both of your ears pierced, it becomes significantly more difficult and you’ll likely have to spend a few days, or even weeks sleeping on your back.
Most people prefer sleeping on their back, according to various statistics, but being limited to sleeping on their back is often uncomfortable for many sleepers. That’s why it’s important to learn how to sleep comfortably after getting a new ear piercing.
In this article, we’ll check whether it’s safe to sleep with a new piercing, or should you remove it before sleep. We’ll also take a look at the best ways to sleep comfortably with your new piercings, without risking discomfort, pain, and in rare cases, infection.
If you had a new piercing recently, or an ear piercing for the first time, continue reading this article and learn more.
Can You Sleep With a New Ear Piercing?
The answer is yes. You must sleep with new ear piercings, because if you don’t, it’s possible that the holes could heal, or begin the healing process that can make inserting earrings into the ears too painful, not to mention piercings on other parts of the earlobe which heal much faster, but actual healing of the hole takes a long time and can lead to infections.
If you’re getting your ears pierced in a legal ear-piercing place with certified workers you’ll likely be given special medical earrings, which are also known as hypoallergenic earrings made either from medical-grade stainless steel or gold.
Such earrings are safe to stay in the ears for several weeks or even months until your hole has healed to the point it won’t close so easily once you removed your piercings. Moreover, they’re small, stud-like earrings and won’t tangle with your hair or the blanket that you sleep on.
That makes sleeping as your ears heal significantly easier and more comfortable. Of course, you shouldn’t lay directly on your piercing for a few days or a whole week, until you feel that there’s no pain or redness as you’re laying on that side.
It’s worth noting that removing your earrings can lead not only to the hole closing up, but can also lead to an unwanted allergic reaction with the exposed hole of your ear with something else in your surroundings. Moreover, removing the earrings can lead to unwanted infections.
Medical-grade studs will help your piercing gradually heal, and will also prevent all the aforementioned side-effects that come with taking your studs off.
Why is sleeping on your piercing risky, however? You should avoid sleeping on your piercing for several reasons such as:
- The piercing hole is still fresh and the pressure from your head can cause the bar to move and extend the hole.
- While the wound is still fresh, applying pressure by sleeping on the piercing can change the angle of your piercing which can be potentially harmful and result in scarring.
- It can prevent the redness and swelling from going away as they’re constantly under the pressure.
- It’s uncomfortable and can lead to trouble falling asleep and sleep deprivation.
- It can be extremely painful for people with low pain tolerance.
Can You Sleep With Ear Cartilage Piercing?
Just like with regular ear piercings, you can sleep with an ear cartilage piercing. Particularly, a lot of people get their helix pierced and are concerned about whether they can sleep with it or not. The answer is yes.
It’s worth noting that the ear cartilage piercing can take a very long time to heal, anywhere from 6 to 12 months if you care for it well. That’s why at no cost, you should take your piercing off during the first few months after piercing it.
For the first week, and even longer if you feel like your wound and swelling are taking too long to swell, you should avoid sleeping on the side where your piercing is. You can sleep on your back and the opposite side, but sleeping on the affected side can lead to pain and swelling, as well as other aforementioned side effects.
Avoid sleeping directly on your piercing as long as necessary as you feel like the swelling is going down and that your earlobe and the helix are feeling like they’re coming back to normal. There are plenty of ways to make sleeping more comfortable as the healing months are passing. We’ll list them below
Best Ways to Sleep With New Ear Piercings
If you read up to this point, you see that sleeping with new ear piercings can be quite difficult in the first few days and weeks following your piercing procedure. Here’s how to endure these days easier with the best tips and tricks on sleeping with new ear piercings.
1. Use a Travel Pillow
Using any travel pillow, or even better a U-shaped pillow can make sleeping with a new piercing much more endurable than one would think. Travel pillows with U shape allow your hair to fall neutrally on the pillow, while your ear will be exposed to the hole in the middle of the pillow.
There are different ways to wear this pillow for sleep, regardless of whether you’re traveling or not. Everyone has their preference of how they wear the pillow, but what matters is that it’ll protect your ear from adding up the swelling.
Some people who don’t regularly sleep on their back, but have to because of their ear piercings prefer to put it behind their neck, for a conforming sleep experience. It helped them get used to the new sleep style until their piercing heals.
Editor’s notes: There are many different U-shaped travel pillows for those who sleep with piercings. Some of our preferences include World’s Best Feather Soft Microfiber Pillow and BCOZZY Neck Pillow.
Alternatively, there are many handmade piercing pillows shaped like donuts that can ease your sleep times. Total Pillow is among our favorites.
2. Use a Pillow Protector
If a U-shaped travel pillow doesn’t work for you, there are several alternatives. One of them is placing a pillow protector under your head or the pillow sham. The protectors are made out of cool and hypoallergenic materials that will cool down the area around your piercing wound until it heals up.
It’s always good to use several so that you can change them when it’s necessary, usually every few days. It’s never recommended to sleep with your ear over the pillow for the first few days. However, once you’re comfortable with laying on that side, you can easily improve your sleep experience.
- If you don’t have a pillow protector, you can always place a soft piece of cloth made out of cotton, silk, sateen, or some other material. Alternatively, a tower made of soft cotton is also an option.
- If you want to stick with pillow protectors try SureGuard waterproof and hypoallergenic pillow protectors out.
3. Don’t Sleep on The Side Where Your New Piercing Is
We mentioned it earlier, but it’s of utmost importance to highlight once again that sleeping on the affected side is not only uncomfortable and painful, it can completely ruin the healing process of your new piercing. Not being careful enough can inflame the wound leading to serious infections.
Furthermore, the affected skin is now swollen, soft, and prone to tearing, which means you can easily spread the piercing hole by applying pressure and moving your earring. You don’t want your skin to tear and the piercing to fall through.
Editor’s notes: If you’re scared of not being able to sleep without sleeping on the affected side, you should try practicing sleep in the opposite position for a few days or even a week before you get your piercing. Getting your ears pierced is a serious and important decision, so we’re sure you’ll know a week ahead.
4. Don’t Sleep With Hoops or Large Earrings
Needless to say, you shouldn’t change your medical, hypoallergenic earrings for at least a month following your ear piercing. However, we must emphasize avoiding taking hoops or any large earrings at the piercing shop where you do get your piercing done.
It’s important to sleep with small earrings, also known as studs, to prevent your hair to get entangled into the earrings or something potentially worse to happen.
It’s also important to keep your hair away from your ears if you have long and restless hair. It can easily become entangled into the earrings and cause the tearing of your skin when you pull the hair. Try rising it up into a bun or tying your hair.
Additionally, you can try sleeping with a blanket made out of cotton without peeking threads and other materials that can attach to the earring and pull it off your ear. It’s important to be extremely careful with the type of earrings you’ll use.
5. Use Silicone Plugs
Silicone plugs are a great investment if your ear is swollen and the golden or steel plugs feel too firm and are scratching your ear or neck. This can additionally get worse when you head to bed. However, using silicone plugs will reduce that firm and hard feeling, allowing your skin to get some breathing.
If your earrings are new and you recently got your ears pierced, it’d be good to wear a silicone plug under the metal plug that normally comes with your earrings.
Editor’s notes: It’s not always a good idea to sleep with silicon plugs as soon as you get your ears pierced. If you remove the metal plug, you might disrupt the piercing in your ear, which is why it’s good to wait for a few days.
Something that can also ease the pain and discomfort when going to sleep is cleaning your ears with alcohol as well as other ointments before going to bed and after waking up. These ointments will not only keep the swelling, warmth, and redness down, they’ll also prevent the bacteria from harboring the piercing area, which also prevents the infections.
Editor’s notes: There are plenty of ointments and creams you can use before sleep to keep your ears moist. However, you should consult with your doctor or the person who pierced your ears. Our general recommendation, however, is Recuren Plus Piercing Aftercare Spray.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleeping With New Ear Piercings
Many people have questions about how they’ll sleep once they get their ears pierced. Here you can find the answers to the most commonly asked questions.
When Can I Sleep on My Cartilage or Helix Piercing?
This is a tough one, especially because the helix piercing can take many months and sometimes even more than a year to heal. Usually, it’s safe to sleep after 3 to 4 months. However, some sleepers can take as many as six months and more before they can sleep on the affected side without pain.
When Can I Sleep on The Side of My Ear Piercing?
After getting your ears pierced, it’s not recommended to sleep on the side. Your healing process is widely influenced by the aftercare routine you take after getting your piercing done. That said, for some people, the healing process will be fast and you’ll be able to sleep on your side after a few days. However, for some other people, it can take up to a few weeks.
Should I Sleep With Earrings On?
Absolutely! There’s a healing period for your piercing, which means that if you take them off before that period passes, you’re risking for the hole to close up, resulting in you being unable to put your earrings back on. It’s of paramount importance to sleep with earrings on at least for the first month.