How To Sleep With New Ear Piercings

Congratulations on your new ear piercings! Ear piercings can be a fun way to express your unique style and individuality. However, sleeping with new ear piercings does require some adjustments to your normal routine to promote healing and avoid discomfort or complications.

When you first get your ears pierced, it’s important to be diligent about aftercare and allow time for the piercings to properly heal before changing jewelry. Sleeping positions, bedding, and pillows that you may normally find comfortable can actually irritate new ear piercings or introduce bacteria leading to infection.

The initial piercings take 6- 8 weeks to fully heal, so you’ll need to follow special sleeping tips during this time. By maintaining good sleeping posture, keeping your new piercings clean, and avoiding potential irritants, you can wake up each morning with happy, healing ear piercings. Here are some tips to help you sleep soundly as your new ear piercings heal.

Choose a Sleeping Position that Avoids Pressure or Friction

The best sleeping position for new ear piercings is sleeping on your back. Lying on your back avoids putting direct pressure on your ear piercings which can cause swelling, redness, or more severe injury to the piercing site. For side sleepers, it can be difficult to stay on your back all night. Using some positioning aids can help.

  • Place a body pillow, neck pillow, or rolled up towels along the edge of your pillow to prevent you from rolling over during sleep. The barrier will make you uncomfortable enough to avoid turning onto your side, keeping you on your back.
  • Use a travel pillow, also known as a U-shaped pillow. The open space in the middle supports your head while avoiding contact with your ear piercings. Place one arm of the U-pillow under your neck and the other arm over the top of your head. Your ears remain suspended and pressure-free.
  • Train yourself to become accustomed to back sleeping. It can take practice, but trying to sleep on your back for a few nights in a row will help make the position more natural and restful. Start by lying on your back as you get into bed to make it part of your nighttime routine. Use pillows under or between your knees for lower back support and comfort.

Choose Flat Back Earrings and Avoid Dangling or Hoop Earrings

During the initial healing period, it’s best to leave your original earrings in place. The earrings used during the piercing procedure have special flat backings that lay close to your ear, avoiding snags or pressure points. Once healed, you can start experimenting with different earring types. However, avoid dangling or hoop earrings for 6-8 weeks.

Dangling or hoop earrings have a higher chance of getting caught in your hair or on your bedding and clothes. As you move during sleep, dangling earrings can pull, tug or apply uneven pressure to the piercing site. This can lead to swelling, bleeding or even tear the piercing. It’s best to avoid any earring that is not secured close to the ear during early healing.

Use a Donut-Shaped Pillow

A donut-shaped pillow, also known as an ear piercing pillow, has a hole in the center that allows your ear to rest in the open space. This avoids direct contact between your ear piercing and the pillow surface. Donut pillows come in various sizes to fit adults and children. They provide cushioning and support for your head while keeping weight off of your new ear piercings.

In a pinch, you can also make your own DIY donut pillow using an inflatable pool floaty, life jacket or other round flotation device with a center hole. Deflate the floaty and place it under your regular pillowcase and pillow. Your ears rest in the open center, avoiding irritation. For a softer option, roll up a small towel and shape it into a donut, securing the ends together with clips, bandages or string to form the inner hole. Place the towel donut under your pillowcase and rest your ear in the center hole.

Practice Good Piercing Hygiene and Aftercare

Cleaning your new ear piercings regularly, especially before bed, is important to avoid infection and promote healing. Your piercer will provide specific instructions for cleaning your piercings based on the placement and type of piercing. Typically, a pre-mixed sterile saline spray or solution is recommended along with the occasional use of antibacterial soap. Gently clean your piercings at least twice a day using the provided solution and pat dry with sterile gauze pads or disposable paper towels.

When cleaning and drying your piercings at night, be very gentle. Avoid tugging, twisting or manipulating the jewelry which can disrupt the healing tissue. Clean one piercing at a time using fresh gauze pads for each piercing. Handle your ear only when necessary during cleaning and avoid touching the piercings unnecessarily. Wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning and inspecting your piercings.

Be Patient During Healing

The most important tip for sleeping with new ear piercings is simply to be patient through the healing process. It can take 6 to 8 weeks for ear piercings to fully heal, so maintaining good aftercare and the proper sleeping position during this period is key. While cleaning, using donut pillows and back sleeping can help facilitate healing and reduce discomfort, your body still needs time to repair the piercing site.

It’s normal to experience some swelling, redness, or tenderness for the first week or so after getting pierced. However, contact your piercer immediately if you notice increasing pain, throbbing, pus, fever or chills which can indicate infection or other complications. Your piercer may recommend oral antibiotics or removal of the piercing in severe cases. Minor bleeding is also common in the first few days but should not be excessive or continue longer than 3-5 days.

With time and patience, the initial side effects will fade, and your piercing will heal happily without issue. Once healed, you can return to your regular sleeping positions and wear different earring types as recommended by your piercer. Be sure to continue occasional earring care and hygiene to keep piercings clean and prevent future problems. Happy Healing!

Here are some additional tips to aid sleeping with new ear piercings:

  • Avoid touching or twisting your earrings during sleep. Remove any jewelry, hair ties or other items from your hands and wrists before bed that could catch or pull on the earrings.
  • Use a silk or satin pillowcase which glides easily over piercings. Regular cotton pillowcases can irritate new piercings.
  • Avoid sleeping on the side with new piercings. If possible, sleep on the opposite side or use a donut pillow only under one ear.
  • Set an alarm to remind yourself to not sleep on your side for the first few nights. It can take practice to adjust to sleeping on your back.
  • Avoid headphones, helmets or masks that place pressure on or around the ears for 6-8 weeks.
  • Do not submerge new piercings in bodies of water such as lakes, pools or baths during the initial healing period. Gentle showers are permitted if you dry your piercings immediately and thoroughly.
  • See your piercer immediately if you notice sinking of the piercing into the skin, migration or rejection of the piercing. Remove the piercing if instructed to prevent permanent damage.
  • Return to your piercer for a checkup within 4 to 6 weeks to ensure proper healing before changing earrings. Do not change earrings yourself during initial healing.

Leave a Comment