- Sleep Products
- How Sleep Works
- Sleep Resources
Many people live with chronic shoulder pain due to a past injury, joint inflammation, chronic illness, and other root causes. Persistent aches and discomfort can affect many aspects of daily life, including sleep quality and duration. People with shoulder pain may be able to mitigate their shoulder pain by sleeping on a mattress that conforms to the body, aligns the spine, and provides consistent support throughout the night.
This guide will discuss common sources of shoulder pain and explain how the right mattress can alleviate these symptoms. We’ll share our top mattress picks for sleepers with shoulder pain. These selections are based on verified customer and owner experiences, along with our own product research and analysis.
Hop down to our Buyer’s Guide for a crash course on finding the best mattress for shoulder pain.
Brooklyn Bedding Signature
|Check Best Price Jump To Section|
|Check Best Price Jump To Section|
|Check Best Price Jump To Section|
Best for Lightweight Sleepers
|Check Best Price Jump To Section|
Best for Average Weight Sleepers
|Check Best Price Jump To Section|
Best for Heavyweight Sleepers
|Check Best Price Jump To Section|
Our Editor’s Pick, the Brooklyn Bedding Signature, is a standout mattress for people with shoulder pain for several reasons. This hybrid model is constructed with a quilted polyfoam and cotton top layer. This component cushions the sleeper’s shoulders and conforms closely to alleviate aches and pains. The bed also contains two polyfoam comfort layers measuring 4 inches thick for added reinforcement.
The Signature is available in three firmness settings: ‘Soft’ (3.5), ‘Medium’ (5.5), and ‘Firm’ (7.5). This range should accommodate most sleepers regardless of their preferred sleep position or body weight.
The support core features pocketed coils and a high-density polyfoam base. Air circulates freely throughout the coils, keeping the mattress at a comfortable temperature, while the base layer helps reinforce the bed against sagging in the sleep surface and sinkage along the edges.
At less than $1,000 for a Queen size, the Signature is priced much lower than the average hybrid. Brooklyn Bedding also offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S., and backs the mattress with a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
The Brooklyn Bedding Signature offers premium pressure relief for shoulder pain, at a price-point that’s well below average. With three firmness settings to choose from, most sleepers should be able to find a model that matches their comfort preferences.
The average mattress of any type costs more than $1,000 in a Queen size. Our Best Value pick, the T&N Mattress from Tuft & Needle, is available for less than $600. However, the mattress offers the same comfort and support for sleepers with shoulder pain as many of its higher-priced competitors.
The T&N Mattress is an all-polyfoam model. The 3-inch comfort layer is infused with graphite, which helps the material absorb less body heat and sleep cooler. A 7-inch support core of high-density polyfoam reinforces the sleep surface to prevent sagging and deep indentations from forming.
With a ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5) feel, the T&N Mattress conforms to a moderate yet consistent extent. This makes it most suitable for sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds. Other benefits include excellent motion isolation and no noise when bearing weight.
In addition to its low price, the T&N also qualifies for free shipping within the contiguous U.S. Tuft & Needle backs the mattress with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
The all-foam design of the T&N Mattress delivers excellent pressure relief for sleepers with shoulder pain. The quality construction, combined with an almost unbelievably low price-point, makes it a clear Best Value mattress pick.
The WinkBed luxury innerspring offers a supportive, multi-layered design that can be very beneficial for sleepers with shoulder pain. The comfort system features 2 inches of body-conforming polyfoam, followed by a layer of foam-encased pocketed microcoils and a compressed-cotton lumbar pad for added back support.
The pocketed coil support core is also encased in high-density polyfoam, giving the WinkBed very strong edge support. Customers can choose from ‘Softer’ (4.5), ‘Luxury Firm’ (6.5), or ‘Firmer’ (7.5) settings for their standard WinkBed.
Additionally, the WinkBed Plus is a specialized version of the bed designed for heavier sleepers. The WinkBed Plus swaps out polyfoam and pocketed microcoil layers for 2.5 inches of durable, responsive latex. The WinkBed Plus has a ‘Firm’ (8) feel. All versions of the WinkBed measure 14.5 inches thick.
WinkBeds offers free shipping to customers in the contiguous U.S., as well as White Glove delivery for a reasonable upcharge. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty, both of which are longer than average.
The WinkBed features a luxury construction that offers superior relief for shoulder pain. Beyond the pressure-relieving comfort layers, the thick pocketed coil system ensures durable support for a variety of body types and sleep positions.
Many lightweight sleepers with shoulder pain prefer mattresses with softer firmness settings. This is particularly true for side sleepers, who often need extra cushioning beneath the shoulders and hips for complete spinal alignment.
Our pick for this weight group is the Leesa, a memory foam mattress with a contouring ‘Medium’ (5) feel. The comfort layers conform closely to minimize shoulder pain and prevent new aches and pressure-points from developing.
The mattress also has a high-density polyfoam base to help maintain a sag-free sleep surface. Additionally, the Leesa is a good pick for couples because it isolates most motion transfer and does not make any noise.
The Leesa has a very reasonable price-point compared to other memory foam mattresses. The company also offers free shipping to all 50 states, along with a 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty.
The Leesa close-conforming, true ‘Medium’ feel is perfect for lightweight sleepers, especially those who sleep on their side or back. With an all-foam construction, the mattress also relieves pain and pressure in the shoulders and other sensitive areas.
Most people in the average weight group (130 to 230 pounds) prefer mattresses that offer a balance of body-cushioning and overall support. The Bear Hybrid is our selection for sleepers in this weight group. The bed’s cover is made from Celliant fabric, a cutting-edge material that improves circulation, regulates sleep temperature, and promotes muscle recovery – all of which benefit people who experience shoulder pain.
The mattress is also constructed with two polyfoam comfort layers that conform to the body without hugging too closely or sagging excessively. The Bear Hybrid has a ‘Medium Firm’ feel that’s best suited for side and back sleepers.
An 8-inch pocketed coil support core and high-density polyfoam base reinforce the mattress very well. Air circulates through the coils to cool off the interior and help the surface maintain a comfortable temperature, an attractive feature for those who tend to sleep hot.
Bear ships mattresses free-of-charge to customers in all 50 states. The Bear Hybrid is also backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
With its Celliant fabric cover and gel-infused foam, the Bear Hybrid provides cooling, targeted pressure relief for sleepers with shoulder pain. And with a ‘Medium Firm’ feel, the mattress is perfect for sleepers of average weight.
Although preferences vary, many heavier sleepers prefer firmer, more responsive mattresses that will alleviate aches and pains without sagging too deeply. For this reason, the Saatva is our pick for sleepers in this weight group with shoulder pain. This premium coil-on-coil innerspring is available in three firmness settings, including a ‘Medium Firm’ (6) option for those who prefer some body-conforming and a ‘Firm’ (7.5) setting that feels quite responsive.
Customers can also choose from 11.5-inch and 14.5-inch profiles, both of which are thicker than average. Heavier sleepers tend to feel more comfortable getting on and off the bed with thicker profiles.
The Saatva’s comfort system consists of polyfoam, memory foam, and pocketed microcoil layers that provide supportive, consistent contouring and even weight distribution. The support core contains durable bonnell coils made from recycled steel. Air circulates through the two coil layers, making the Saatva suitable for hot sleepers.
Saatva offers free White Glove delivery anywhere in the contiguous U.S. This service includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 150-year warranty.
Either of the two firmer firmness settings offered by the Saatva may sleep comfortably for heavier sleepers, while the bed’s thick comfort layers and supportive coil-on-coil design offer enhanced pressure relief for shoulder pain.
Chronic shoulder pain is a common problem among adults in the U.S. Daily activities can compound this issue, leading to discomfort during the night that can impact sleep. Fortunately, the right mattress can make a significant difference for sleepers with shoulder pain.
This guide will discuss common sources of shoulder pain. We’ll also cover different mattress types and explain which ones provide the most (and least) relief for shoulder discomfort.
Please note: Tuck.com is not a medical website. Our mattress tips should never replace the advice of a licensed medical professional.
According to the Mayo Clinic, shoulder pain often occurs due to problems with the shoulder joint and/or issues with surrounding muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Many different diseases and conditions can cause and contribute to shoulder pain for sleepers, including:
In addition to these root causes for shoulder pain, Physiopedia also identifies several risk factors that can exacerbate symptoms:
For many people, shoulder pain symptoms improve with time and care. However, severe discomfort may necessitate surgery, medication, and other more intensive treatments.
Before we discuss different types of mattresses, let’s look at a few important mattress qualities for sleepers with shoulder pain.
Most of today’s mattresses are designed with top layers (also known as comfort layers) made of foam, latex, and other cushioning materials. These layers contour to the sleeper’s body in order to alleviate pressure points and align the spine.
A bed’s conforming ability does not refer to how closely it conforms, but rather how evenly it contours to different parts of the sleeper’s body and distributes their weight. Sleepers suffering from shoulder pain can benefit from thicker comfort layers and beds with higher levels of conforming ability.
When dealing with mattresses, ‘support’ refers to the bed’s ability to maintain an even surface that doesn’t sag or develop indentations. The bottom layers of the mattress – collectively known as the support core – reinforce the bed against these issues.
Due to their structure and materials, some beds offer better overall support than others. Lower-quality foam beds for instance, can be prone to sagging after a number of years, while the innerspring coils in innerspring mattresses can break down.
Generally, a bed made from quality materials should deliver good support for several years, as long as you choose one with a proper firmness setting for your body type. (We explain ‘Mattress Firmness’ in a later section.)
The average mattress needs to be replaced every seven years. However, a bed’s lifespan will vary based on its comfort and support components. Less durable mattresses begin to sag in the middle and sink along the edges, which affects sleeper support and the bed’s body-conforming abilities.
The comfort layers of some beds absorb body heat from sleepers, causing the surface to feel somewhat warm. Excessive temperatures can hinder sleep quality and duration, compounding the effects of shoulder pain.
Other beds have gel-infused comfort layers (like the WinkBed or Bear Hybrid), cooling covers (like the Bear Hybrid), and/or coil layers that circulate air throughout the interior (like the Saatva, WinkBed, and Bear Hybrid). These components allow the bed to feel cooler and more comfortable for sleep.
Whenever someone gets into or out of bed, or shifts positions while sleeping, their movement generates transfer that may travel across the bed and wake up their sleep partner.
Many mattresses today address this issue with thick foam layers, which absorb and minimize transfer. Since people with shoulder pain frequently toss and turn, so a bed that eliminates motion can be highly beneficial.
Some mattresses – particularly those with coils or adjustable air chambers – produce noise when bearing weight, which can disrupt sleep. By comparison, beds made from other materials like foam produce little to no noise.
Most mattresses sold today fall into one of five categories: foam/memory foam, latex, innerspring, hybrid, and airbed. The table below lists ratings for these five mattress types based on different criteria for sleepers with shoulder pain.
|Mattress Type||Foam/Memory Foam||Latex||Innerspring||Hybrid||Airbed|
|Construction||Memory foam and/or polyfoam comfort layers High-density polyfoam support core||Latex comfort layers Latex and/or polyfoam support core||Foam comfort layers Steel coil support core||At least 2" of memory foam and/or latex, plus additional polyfoam layers Pocketed coil support core||Foam comfort layers Adjustable air chamber support core|
|Conforming Ability Rating||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good|
|Support Rating||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good|
|Average Lifespan||6.5 to 7 years||7.5 to 8 years||5.5 to 6 years||6.5 to 7 years||7 to 8 years|
|Temperature Neutrality Rating||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good|
|Motion Isolation Rating||Very Good to Excellent||Good to Very Good||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good||Fair to Good|
|Noise Rating||Very Good to Excellent||Very Good to Excellent||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good||Poor to Fair|
|Average Price Range (Queen-size)||$800 to $1,200||$1,600 to $2,100||$700 to $1,100||$1,200 to $1,800||$2,000+|
|Overall Shoulder Pain Rating||Very Good||Fair||Good||Good to Very Good||Fair|
Our research indicates that foam and hybrid models, as well as innerspring models with thick comfort systems, are the best mattresses for shoulder pain. We provide the pros and cons of each of these mattress types below.
In addition to material composition, sleepers with shoulder pain should take the following factors into account when choosing a mattress:
We review each of these below.
Sleep position can be crucial for those with shoulder pain. Most people sleep on their side with their legs tucked in or outstretched. This is considered the healthiest sleep position because it aligns the spine, inhibits snoring, and generally leads to fewer aches and pains. However, for people with shoulder pain, side sleeping may actually cause more discomfort, depending on which side they prefer.
For that reason, many people with shoulder pain prefer sleeping on their backs. Although this position increases the risk of snoring, it can alleviate aches and pains from shoulder-related issues.
Stomach sleeping is also an option, though many doctors discourage this position. Because so many people carry weight in their stomachs, sleeping face-down can lead to uneven weight distribution and shoulder strain.
For individuals with shoulder pain, finding the most comfortable sleep position takes some trial and error. The following table lists recommended sleep positions that may help alleviate your shoulder pain.
|Sleep Position||How It Works||Recommended Mattress Firmness|
|If you only have pain in one shoulder, sleep on your side with your bad shoulder facing up.
Place a thin pillow between your knees.
|By sleeping on your good shoulder, you avoid putting additional pressure on your bad shoulder and increasing the aches and pains you might feel upon waking up.
The pillow between your arms relieves any pressure on your arms, which can lead to increased shoulder pain.
The pillow between your knees reduces pressure in your lower back and ensures good spinal alignment through your hips.
|Soft to Medium Soft
Generally, side sleepers prefer softer mattresses. The extra cushioning beneath the shoulders and hips helps align the spine and prevent pressure points from developing.
|If you have pain in both shoulders, sleep on your back.
Place a thin pillow between your knees.
|The back sleeping position naturally supports a straight spine, while removing pressure from either of your shoulders.
The thin pillow can further relieve shoulder pain by filling in the gap between your shoulder blades and the mattress surface and providing support to your spine.
The pillow between your knees further reduces pressure in your lower back and ensures good spinal alignment.
|Medium Soft to Medium Firm
The back sleeping position aligns the spine on its own. These sleepers often need moderate firmness settings to ensure their bodies won’t sink too much.
Along with sleep position, the sleeper’s body weight is important for determining the best firmness setting for a mattress.
Sleepers in the lightweight group (less than 130 pounds) typically softer prefer beds that conform to their bodies. Excessively firm mattresses may not conform enough, resulting in uneven support and inadequate pain relief.
Those who are considered average weight (130 to 230 pounds) often find mattresses with moderate firmness settings most comfortable. The surface conforms to a noticeable extent without sagging too much, but the sleeper still experiences pain and pressure relief.
Most sleepers in the heavyweight group (more than 230 pounds) need firmer beds with minimal conforming. Softer beds often sink too much, and this can significantly worsen shoulder pain.
Firmness refers to how closely the mattress cushions and conforms to the sleeper’s body. Mattress firmness is rated on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the softest and 10 the firmest. Here’s how it breaks down:
It’s important to note that ‘Extra Soft’ and ‘Extra Firm’ mattresses are extremely rare. The majority of beds sold today fall between a 3 (soft) and 8 (firm) on the 1-10 firmness scale.
A sleeper’s preferred firmness largely depends on two factors: their sleep position and body weight. The table below lists optimal firmness settings for sleepers in different weight groups. However, please note these ratings are subjective and may not be accurate for some individuals.
|Weight Group||Light (Less than 130 lbs.)||Average (130-230 lbs.)||Heavy (More than 230 lbs.)|
|Optimal Firmness for Side Sleepers||3 (soft) to 4.5 (medium-soft)||5 (medium) to 6.5 (medium-firm)||6 (medium-firm) to 7 (firm)|
|Optimal Firmness for Back Sleepers||4 (medium-soft) to 5.5 (medium)||5 (medium) to 6.5 (medium-firm)||6 (medium-firm) to 8 (firm)|
|Optimal Firmness for Stomach Sleepers||4 (medium-soft) to 6 (medium-firm)||5.5 (medium) to 7 (firm)||6.5 (medium-firm) to 8 (firm)|
People with shoulder pain can also alleviate symptoms by optimizing their pillow settings. Loft – or thickness – is one of the most important considerations. Pillows sold today fall into one of three general loft categories:
The ideal loft for depends on the sleeper’s body weight, head size, and shoulder width, as well as their bed’s firmness setting. The next table lists optimal loft settings based on these criteria.
|Thickness Range||Less than 3"||3" to 5"||More than 5"|
|Optimal Head Size||Small||Average||Large|
|Optimal Shoulder Width||Narrow||Average||Wide|
|Optimal Sleeper Weight||More than 230 lbs.||130 to 230 lbs.||Less than 130 lbs.|
|Optimal Mattress Firmness||Soft to medium-soft||Medium-soft to medium-firm||Medium-firm to firm|
In addition to loft, pillow shoppers should also take pillow composition into account. Some fill materials, such as buckwheat hulls, memory foam, and latex, provide consistent conforming and even support. Others, such as down and down alternative, tend to sink more, resulting in deeper conforming to some areas than others.
For more information about choosing a pillow, please visit our Best Pillows for Shoulder Pain guide.
Most mattresses sold today come with a sleep trial, which allows customers to test out the mattress for a predetermined length of time. If they are dissatisfied with the mattress before the sleep trial ends, they may return the bed for a full or partial refund. Some brands also offer mattress exchanges during the sleep trial.
In most cases, the sleep trial will span at least 90 nights, but some brands offer trials that last 365 nights or longer. Sleep trials allow sleepers with shoulder pain to determine whether or not a bed is suitable for long-term use. However, they should make sure to read the fine print, as some brands level expensive shipping and/or return fees.
Warranties are also important. Most mattress warranties consider excessive sagging a defect, and will repair, replace, or refund beds that develop significant indentations. Specific sagging depth is the key factor for people with shoulder pain. Some brands cover sagging that measures as little as half an inch deep, while others only cover sagging that measures one to two inches deep.
More pain and discomfort is associated with sagging that measures one inch or deeper. For this reason, people with shoulder pain should carefully read the warranty policies for any model they are considering.
It’s also important to note that mattress warranties almost never honor repairs or replacements based on changing owner preferences. If someone with shoulder pain decides a mattress is too firm or too soft after the sleep trial has expired, they will most likely need to purchase a new bed. However, some brands offer prorated exchanges as part of their warranty coverage.
The most popular firmness settings for people of average body weight (between 130 and 230 pounds) ranges from ‘Medium’ to ‘Medium Firm.’
Individuals who weigh less than that tend to sleep more comfortably on softer mattresses, particularly if they sleep on their side. Heavier individuals prefer firmer mattresses because they prevent them from sinking too deeply out of spinal alignment, which can lead to increased shoulder pain.
The cost of a quality mattress ranges from $1,000 to $2,000, on average, for a Queen size model. Foam and innerspring models tend to fall on the more affordable end of that range, while hybrid, latex, and airbed models are more expensive.
If you’d like to enjoy a better deal on your mattress, consider waiting to purchase during a holiday. Mattress sales commonly occur during President’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
If you and your partner have different firmness preferences, a bed with higher levels of conforming, like an all-foam bed, can be ideal. The foam comfort layers in these mattresses adapt to the sleeper’s body, which may provide a more comfortable sleep experience for you both.
Foam models provide another benefit for couples: great motion isolation. These beds absorb noise and movement very well, which can minimize sleep disruptions during the night.
For couples who prefer using their mattress for amorous activities, hybrid models can be another good alternative. These beds offer similar levels of conforming, but with a more responsive feel.
Back sleepers tend to find ‘Medium Soft’ to ‘Medium Firm’ mattresses the most comfortable, depending on their body weight. Lighter individuals will likely prefer a mattress on the softer end, while heavier individuals will prefer something firmer to enjoy adequate support.
Side sleepers prefer softer mattresses, as these tend to offer more conforming. Stomach sleeping is not recommended for shoulder pain, but firmer mattresses are most comfortable for people who choose this sleep position.
Beyond choosing the right mattress and pillow, there are other things you can do to improve your shoulder pain and sleep (and feel) better. These include:
For more information about mattresses for people with chronic pain and other medical conditions, please visit the following Tuck.com guides.