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If you’ve every wondered what sleeper earrings are, often referred to simply as “sleepers” or sleeper hoops, their key feature is that they are a small hoop earring designed to be comfortable enough to sleep in. They are often made in a hypoallergenic precious metal such as gold, sterling silver, titanium, or surgical steel.
They will often be the first earrings after ear piercing.
In this article we outline why these fabulous earrings continue to be bestsellers in our jewellers and you may even discover a few things you may not have realised before.
What Are Sleeper Earrings & Why Are They So Great?
1. Perfect First Time Piercing Earrings
Traditionally sleeper earrings were the best and only choice for first time piercings. Nowadays simple sleeper studs like small ball stud earrings are also used as starter earrings but sleepers remain a top-selling earring.
Either 9ct or 14 ct gold earrings are often the choice for first earrings. Silver sleepers are also a good choice when the wearer has past the risky stage of infection after a piercing has settled in.
2. They Can be Worn 24/7
With new piercings you need to keep earrings in all the time to prevent the hole from closing before it has fully heated. These small hoops can be worn 24/7 (they are the only earrings that we advise can be worn for extended periods of time).
3. Hypoallergenic Materials
Gold sleeper earrings were the normally the earrings used for freshly pierced ears. In recent years, titanium or surgical steel has also been used as this is another inert material that rarely causes an issues with skin irritation.
4. Great for Irritated Ears
For those of us who have sensitive ears, maybe because we go through a period when our ears are more sensitive, then the advantages of sleeper earrings in a hypoallergenic material or precious metals is sure to calm down skin irritation.
5. Great To Recover In After Cheap Earrings
Following on from the previous point, many of us find that if we wear a cheaper pair of earrings which are made of a base metal or are plated, it won’t be long before our ears start itching and feel irritated. Wearing a pair of solid gold or even silver sleeper earrings are a great way of allowing healing time. It is often wonderful how quickly doing so can calm the skin.
6. Prevent Your Piercing Closing Over
A piercing can heal over fairly quickly if it is left without an earring in, therefore having a pair of sleepers to pop in prevent this happening is a good idea.
7. Easiest Earring to Keep the Piercing Infection-Free
It is much easier to touch your earring, to move and bathe around it, without neeeding to touch your skin at all with a sleeper. This is done by holding the hoop by the part that isn’t in contact with your skin. As long as your hands are clean and freshly washed, these are the most hygenic earrings and easiest to keep your piercing clean and infection free.
8. Most Hygienic For Turning
When piercings are new we are told that we need to turn the earrings in the hole every day to help the piercing to heal without the earring “sticking”. As explained in point 7 above, this is done most hygienically with sleeper earrings as you don’t need to touch your skin unnecessarily.
9. Perfect Standby Earrings
We recommend everyone with pierced ears keep a pair of sleepers in their jewellery box. They are perfect for wearing in between other earrings, both to prevent hole closure or irritation.
These earrings are safe even for young children. As they sit close to the ear, they are highly unlikely to ever get caught or pulled. There are no fiddly backs to lose. And the materials are kind to the skin.
Their lightweight design mean they are also relatively inexpensive. Even a pair of white gold sleepers will come in at around £30 ($35). And a pair of silver sleepers will often be less than £7 ($10).
12. Perfect Holiday Earrings
Likewise, a pair of sleepers are excellent to take on holiday. They can be worn all the time, in and out the pool or sea, particularly a solid gold pair and they have the added advantage of looking great.
13. Materials Used
Surgical Steel Sleepter
Available in solid gold or silver, sleepers are the obvious choice for sensitive skin.
Some people are even irritated with silver and gold, therefore surgical steel or titanium could then be a great alternative for even the most sensitive skin and are available at very affordable prices.
14. Various Sizes Available
Sleeper earrings are normally sold in a smaller size – 10mm or 12mm in diameter – which mean they sit close to the skin and won’t get caught, even when tossing and turning during sleep at night.
However this type of hoop earring is also available in a range of different sizes and often come in 2mm increments – right up to larger hoop earrings as 30 mm, 40 mm and even 50 mm diameter to suit individual preferences – when they are known simply as hoops or hoop earrings.
This is because when you get to sizes of 15mm and more in diameter they are not recommended as suitable to sleep in due to the risk of them getting caught.
15. Great for Other Piercings
Because of the available size sleeper earrings these earrings are perfect other body modifications and piercings, such as cartilage piercings and nose piercings.
Please check out our hoop size guide for an idea of all the sizes available here.
16. Different Styles
They are also available in a range of different styles too. Plain, polished metal – either gold, rose gold or silver sleeper hoops offer minimalist designs to any outfit.
A lovely addition, without having to add stones which may be uncomfortable to lay on whilst sleeping, is to have patterning to the side of the little hoops.
This is often diamond-cut and add a touch of glamour to any outfit whether they are in silver, gold or white gold. The patterning is such that they look like they have been set with stones due to the sparkle that give off.
Other styles of these small hoops include gemstone or diamond sleeper earrings. This could be great for those who love the look of sleepers but want a bit more sparkle than diamond-cut patterning can produce.
These earrings can alos be set with cubic zirconia which make them more affordable.
17. Perfect for Casual or Smart Outfits
Stone-set sleeper hoops make a good choice for everyday wear as well as being even suitable for special occasions and look just as good as other drop earrings.
They can be worn in a variety of ways including with your hair up according to you personal taste.
This type of earring is so lightweight you won’t even know you are wearing them.
19. The Most Comfortable Earrings
With not posts which can stick into the back of your ears, no butterflies backs to lose, and them being so lightweight this style of earring is the most comfortable earring of all.
20. The Best Earrings for Children
Sleeper earrings are great option, if not the best option and obvious choice, for children as they are so light weight. Often worn initially in 9ct yellow gold, they are kind to your child’s ears.
Small sleepers are incredibly safe, as they sit close to the ear and won’t get caught or pulled.
21. Suit All Ages – Perfect for Arthritic Fingers
These earrings suit all ages as long as they have their ears pierced. From the smallest babies to those in their 80’s and older, these fabulous earrings suit everyone.
Many customers with arthritic fingers find sleepers a great option so that they don’t have to contend with fiddly earring backs. Once they have got the sleeper hoop in they can leave them and clean around them when they are bathing, turning them occasionally with clean fingers.
Likewise, they suit men or ladies and never look masculine on a lady or feminine on a man.
23. Great “Nap” Earrings
If your child is not allowed to wear earrings at school, a pair of sleeper hoop earrings can even be worn as “nap earrings”, with easy removal and insertion, ensuring your childs piercing won’t close over.
24. Easy to Put On and Take Off
As already hinted at, certain styles of sleepers are very easy to pop in your ears and remove. We have listed the types of closures below.
25. Different Types of Sleeper Earring Closures
There is a range of sleeper earrings closures and different people get on better with some closures over others. Chose the ones that suit you best and make putting them on and taking them off an easy task.
This have a slightly thinner wire at one end of the sleeper which feeds into the hollow tube at the end of hoop. Mainly people struggle with this, unnecessarily. The trick is in opening the hoop sideways – ie if you are holding the hoop in front of you with one hand on each side of the hoop, open the earring front to back, or one end of the hoop away from you, one end towards you. This way the shape of the hoop is unchanged, the circle is kept intact.
Many people, instead, open the hoop by forcing the two ends away from each other – this bends the shape of the hoop
Endless Hoop Closure
These are the fittings that defined sleeper hoop earrings as their continuous outline meant they could be turned and would look “endless”.
One end of the hoop wire would slot inside the tube of the other end of the hoop.
This should only ever be done by opening the hoop away from each other in a sideways motion rather than pulling the ends apart (doing this will only cause the hoop to mis-shape).
Top Hinge Closure
These sleeper have a hinge at the top part of the hoop which allows easier fitting and removal from the ear. The end of the hoop fits into the other end of the tube, in the same way as the endless hoop closure.
Top hinge closure earrings are often more expensive than the endless hoop closure due to the added complexity and work in their design.
Snap Closure System or Hinge Snap
This is a secure closure mechanism in which a small “nick” it cut of of one end of the hoop and the other end is hinged so that it “snapped” into place with a resounding “click” – hence the name “hinged snap closure”.
These are hugely popular as they are the easiest to put in and remove.
Whilst we wouldn’t class these as sleeper earrings, as they won’t be too comfortable to sleep in, sometimes people do buy small hoop earrings with a french lock which they think of as sleepers. This fitting is where they are top hinged and the hinged are clicks into a cup shape on the other end of the hoop.
You can see our article on all hoop fittings here.
To Sum Up
For a long time these fabulous smaller earrings have been used as first earrings as they as so important to the healing process.
The advantages of these small hoop earrings are that they are small, neat, stunning earrings which are available in a range of hypoallergenic materials for sensitive skin and minimise the risk of infection in a newly pierced ear.
Available in a variety of styles and sizes, giving a versatile choice, they could be called the ideal earring.
Perfect for everyday earrings but also they are the best, and probably the only, earrings you can sleep in.
Our infographic sums up the advantages of these fabulous earrings.