Sleeping on the side, in my opinion, is the most comfortable position ever. There’s only one thing that can ruin the whole experience: shoulder pain.
Unfortunately, this issue has a lot of causes and is pretty common among those who love snoozing on their side.
But here’s the good news:
In most cases, you can get rid of shoulder pain by choosing the right mattress.
And I’m here to help you with that.
So, get cozy and check out my selection of the best mattresses for side sleepers with shoulder pain right below!
A Quick Preview
Best for Uniform Support
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Best for Pressure Relief
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Best for Cooler Sleep
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Best Budget Option
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Best Organic Pick
Botanical Bliss by Plushbeds
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Our Reviews of 5 Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers with Shoulder Pain
Best for Uniform Support - Winkbed
The Winkbed is among the best mattresses for side sleepers with shoulder pain because of its supportive construction. The mattress is available in four firmness options, with Soft and Luxury Firm ones being perfect for those who sleep on their side.
The hybrid construction of the bed can withstand your weight easily without creating too much resistance in the shoulder area, even if you’re a large guy. This means you won’t sink too deep and can shift positions during the night without effort.
Along with that, the pocketed coil system inside the mattress promotes airflow and effectively dissipates your body heat, which contributes to a more comfortable sleep.
Now, the Winkbed can work great for couples because it has incredibly sturdy edges due to the coil system. At the same time, it doesn’t feel overly bouncy because of the foam layers above the coils.
Overall, if you share a bed with a partner, especially if they move a lot in their sleep, the Winkbed may be a good pick for you. It offers a uniform sleeping surface and provides enough cradling to alleviate your shoulder pain.
- Couples. Sturdy edges ensure that the whole mattress surface will be at your service, so you will have some space to get comfy, which is especially important if you have shoulder pain.
- Heavy sleepers. Specifically designed for larger users, the Firm Plus option can support their body weight and maintain proper spine support better.
- Hot sleepers. Coils inside the Winkbed promote better air circulation, so you will sleep cooler on this mattress than on a foam one.
Best for Pressure Relief - Dreamcloud
A long-lasting hybrid bed that feels like an actual cloud and can relieve all your pain? No, it’s not a miracle anymore, it’s just a Dreamcloud mattress. It has made it to this review of the best mattresses for side sleepers with shoulder pain because of its ability to precisely contour your body in any position.
The top-notch pain-relieving properties of this mattress are ensured by its smart construction. The Dreamcloud includes five layers under the cover. Altogether, they make enough thickness to cradle even a heavy side sleeper without any issues.
Also, the coil system inside the mattress can ensure precise conforming to your body curves and better load distribution, so you won’t feel stiff even if you spend the whole night in one position.
Great news for hot sleepers as well:
The Dreamcloud doesn’t sleep hot.
The layer of gel-infused foam effectively cools you down and the coil system promotes the airflow between the layers, enhancing this effect.
Overall, I think the Dreamcloud can be a good purchase for side sleepers with chronic shoulder pain. The mattress has a medium-firm feel and can offer you a really relaxing sleep.
- Petite and average-weight side sleepers. Thick comfort layers will give you enough cradling without creating pressure points or sinking too deeply.
- Active sleepers. The Dreamcloud can absorb the motion quite well, so your partner won’t be disturbed by your movements.
- Individuals with acute pain. If your pain limits your movements, high rebound of the Dreamcloud can help you as well. It will facilitate switching between positions while remaining comfy.
Best for Cooler Sleep - Avocado
Now, I know that most hybrid mattresses sleep cooler compared to foam ones, and cool sleep is an essential factor when you’re choosing a bed for a side sleeper. But how about a combo of hybrid construction and natural materials? The Avocado mattress can really make your sleep cool — by all means — and that’s why it’s in my review of the best mattresses for side sleepers with shoulder pain.
So, the mattress has two layers made of natural Dunlop latex. This material is known for its breathability. It can cradle your body curves pretty well but it also has a quicker response, which is great if you shift positions frequently during sleep.
The coil unit made of upcycled steel acts as a supportive core of the bed. According to the manufacturer’s info, this unit has several zones that allow for closer conforming to your body and better weight distribution.
Also, I was quite impressed with the edge support that the Avocado can offer, so I think that this mattress can be a good purchase for couples.
With all of that said, I enjoyed testing the Avocado. It sleeps cool, is completely natural, and can suit individuals with allergies or hypersensitivities.
- Hot sleepers. Latex is naturally breathable and when combined with a coil layer, may offer you a really cool sleep.
- Heavy users. The Avocado tends to be on the firmer side, so it may suit heavy individuals and offer them just the right amount of cradling.
- Those who need a really durable mattress. Natural latex, thick coils, and an organic cotton cover — all these materials have great durability, which means that the Avocado is able to support you properly for years to come.
Best Budget Option - Bear Pro
Moving away from hybrid options to the more traditional ones. The next candidate in my review of the best mattresses for side sleepers with shoulder pain is the Bear Pro, an incredibly comfortable foam bed that can relax and relieve your stiff shoulders in no time.
Now, the Bear Pro was designed specifically for athletes and people with physically demanding work, who have higher risks of injuries and different types of pain.
Its beneficial effects on your health begin with the cover. The manufacturer uses Celliant fabric that is claimed to increase the amount of oxygen in your soft tissues and hence, may help alleviate aches and pains.
The mattress uses copper-infused foam, which is good at conducting heat. It supports optimal thermoregulation throughout the night. Also, copper is known for its antimicrobial properties, which increases the durability of the bed.
If your partner is an active sleeper, you’ll also be happy to know that this mattress has low motion transfer and muffles any sharp movements during the night without limiting your ability to switch positions.
As you can see, the Bear Pro is a great bed for side sleepers with shoulder pain who want to bring relaxing sleep back to their lives. And the best thing is, all of that comes at less than $1,000 for the Queen size!
- Fans of foam beds. The Bear Pro has a very pronounced memory foam feel, and if you’re a fan of a noticeable hug, it may work well for you.
- Individuals with chronic shoulder pain. Great pressure-relieving properties of the Bear Pro may alleviate your pain and help you get good sleep on a nightly basis.
- People with a limited budget. The Bear Pro is no worse than high-end beds, so if you want to save some money and still get a supportive mattress, you may go for it.
Best Organic Pick - Botanical Bliss by Plushbeds
And the last option in my review of the best beds for side sleepers with shoulder pain is the Botanical Bliss by Plushbeds. This latex mattress is a perfect pick for those who are looking for a natural option that will be safe for both their body and the environment.
Latex typically feels bouncier than other mattress materials and restores its shape faster after the pressure is removed. All of this results in the combo of great pain relief and easy shifting between positions during the night.
Along with that, the Botanical Bliss literally packs two mattresses in one! You can adjust the firmness level to your liking by swapping the first two layers, which have soft and medium firmness, respectively. Thus, you can determine what works better for you: a soft and hugging feel or more uniform support.
To sum up, I really loved the Botanical Bliss and I recommend it to anyone who is willing to get the most natural materials in their bed even if this means paying more.
- Those who need a versatile mattress. Depending on the intensity of your shoulder pain, you might need different firmness levels to feel comfortable, and the Botanical Bliss can guarantee you that.
- Individuals with allergies. Both natural latex and a cotton cover are resistant to dust mites, so they won’t provoke your allergies.
- Those who like the bounce. Latex is quite bouncy, so it doesn’t restrict your movements, which can be beneficial if your pain makes it difficult for you to change positions or get in and out of bed.
Main Causes of Shoulder Pain
Now, let’s remember anatomy lessons we had in school and get into more detail about such condition as shoulder pain and its possible causes.
The shoulder is a part of the human body. It consists of three main bones and associated tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
Although the shoulder is designed to help humans do physical work, it’s quite fragile. Shoulder problems become more common as we age, according to the scientists from the Harvard Medical School. Typically, the causes of these problems include different traumas and inflammations, such as:
- rotator cuff tendinitis;
- rotator cuff tears;
- injuries and irritations;
- ‘frozen shoulder syndrome’ also known as adhesive capsulitis;
- joint calcification;
All these conditions are likely to give you chronic and progressive shoulder pain, which might even stay with you for the rest of your life.
However, these aren’t the only reasons for shoulder pain to appear.
Posture problems may cause spine misalignment in the cervical or chest region, which can lead to squeezed nerves and shoulder pain, too.
Also, there’s a condition called ‘technical neck syndrome’ which is common among office workers. When we stare at the monitor, we may unconsciously lean forward and put a strain on the whole cervical region. This area is rich in nerves and blood vessels, so squeezing them can result in pain outbursts and stiffness in your shoulders.
What’s the Deal with Shoulder Pain and Your Mattress?
Along with the sedentary way of life, injuries, and age-related changes in your body, your shoulder pain can be caused by your bed.
Yes, I’m talking about your mattress, in particular.
Here’s how it can harm you.
It’s Too Old
Everything has a lifespan, and mattresses do as well. An average mattress can offer you support and comfort for about 7-10 years, but if you purchased a low-cost model, chances are it will start to wear out even earlier.
The typical wear and tear can manifest as sagging, comfort layers going flat, or edges becoming weak. And here’s how these issues can contribute to your shoulder pain:
- Spine misalignment. An uneven mattress surface cannot properly adjust to your body curves. Instead, it may create awkward curves where they shouldn’t be — for example, in your shoulder area — and lead to straining and stiffness.
- Insufficient cradling. If you own a hybrid or innerspring mattress, you may start feeling the springs under the comfort layers. Coils may create too much pressure around your hip and shoulder areas if you sleep on your side, so you’ll wake up with pain. Foam mattresses are better in this case, but they also may lose resiliency and become softer over time, which, again, contributes to spine misalignment and muscle strains.
- A lower level of comfort. An old mattress can make you feel uncomfortable in your favorite sleep positions. As a result, you start to toss and turn more and get less restorative sleep. If you already have any health issues, a lack of sleep can aggravate them.
“A mattress topper can rejuvenate the feel of your old bed and prolong its lifespan for maybe a couple of years. Still, you should consider replacing your mattress eventually if you want to get rid of the pain completely.”
It’s Too Soft, Or Too Firm
Along with the age of the mattress, the wrong firmness level can ruin your sleep too.
Now, let me briefly explain to you the universal firmness scale to prevent this from happening.
So, basically, all the beds can be divided into three firmness levels on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 stands for the softest and 10 for the hardest surface:
- Soft (up to 5/10). Soft beds can offer you a decent amount of sinkage and cradle your body really well. But that’s only if you’re a petite or average-weight sleeper. Big guys and girls may simply dive through all the comfort layers and land onto the dense core of the mattress, which will resist the pressure, making their shoulders hurt.
- Medium (5-7/10). Most of the quality mattresses for side sleepers with shoulder pain have this level of firmness. They can suit literally any sleeper and adjust well to the body shape without creating too much tension in the shoulders.
- Firm (7-9/10). Firm beds typically are a good pick for overweight sleepers. They can cope with increased weight. And instead of putting additional pressure on the shoulders, a firm mattress can feel pretty cradling. Note that heavier side sleepers are recommended to choose the firmness level that is closer to the lower point of the range — that is 7-8 out of 10, rather than 9/10.
“Keep in mind that some brands use their own firmness scale, which could be very different — up to being a completely reversed version of the standard scale.”
How to Understand If Your Shoulder Pain Is Actually Caused by the Mattress?
If you have been waking up with shoulder pain for several days in a row, you’re probably confused about the actual cause of your condition.
And it’s natural.
But the thing is, distinguishing the pain caused by a mattress from that caused by a medical condition is not really difficult.
First, the pain caused by an unsuitable mattress is usually dull and tends to go away later in the day. Moreover, you can alleviate it way faster if you do your morning stretching routine or a couple of yoga exercises.
Second, if you get to stay at your friend’s house or a hotel room and sleep on another bed, chances are you won’t feel any stiffness in your shoulders, as it was your mattress who provoked pain.
However, if your pain gets worse when you move your shoulder, or if it doesn’t seem to pass away during the day, then it’s highly advisable to visit your doctor and get proper treatment.
What Mattress Type Is the Best for Coping with Shoulder Pain?
As you know, there are four main types of mattresses on the market — foam, latex, innerspring, and hybrid one.
But of course, not all of them will make a perfect choice for a side sleeper with shoulder pain. So, let’s see which one is the most suitable — and which is the worst.
Foam mattresses are the most common option on the market. Today, most manufacturers use either polyfoam or memory foam. You can also find a mattress that has both materials in different combinations. So, let’s break down how each of these configurations will perform:
- Polyfoam. Polyurethane foam is more springy and has that sponge-like feel. Although it’s not as conforming as memory foam, this material can still cradle your body in any sleeping position and has less pronounced thermoregulation issues. Thanks to a good rebound, polyfoam doesn’t make it difficult for you to move during the night. However, this type of foam may wear out faster than memory foam.
- Memory foam. This material is the queen of cradling, and I cannot stress that enough. No wonder it’s commonly used in hospital equipment, and if you’re looking for a really good mattress for side sleepers with shoulder pain — you’ll probably end up with a memory foam model. This material perfectly adjusts to your body curves and removes pressure in your hip and shoulder areas. But the main problem with memory foam is excessive heat retention, which may sometimes disrupt your sleep.
- Mixed foams. Mattresses with mixed foams typically are designed to offer you the balance between cradling and rebound, but the reality is usually a bit different. I recommend you testing such models at a local mattress store to see if their feel will actually work for you.
“Infused foams are often used in foam mattresses as comfort layers. They’re typically a bit softer than non-infused foams and can mask the typical foam smell.”
Latex, technically, is foam, too. It is made from the vulcanized sap of rubber trees. But unlike synthetic foams, latex foam has smaller pores and is denser, so you can expect a more prolonged lifespan — and higher responsiveness. The latter is an essential factor for individuals with mobility concerns. However, some people just don’t like the feel of latex. And latex mattresses are usually more expensive than other types.
Hybrid mattresses can combine foams, natural latex, and coils in different variations. And this is both a benefit and a drawback for shoulder pain sufferers. The thing is, not all combinations of these materials will make the mattress good for shoulder pain relief, so finding the right model can be quite a challenge.
But if you’re certainly determined to get a hybrid mattress, check these tips:
- look for models with at least two comfort layers over the coil system;
- choose firmness wisely (based on the info I gave you above);
- test your mattress at the store (or choose brands offering longer trial periods).
Now, when it comes to innersprings, I don’t think that it’s a good choice for an individual with shoulder pain.
Yes, these mattresses allow you to move freely around the surface, but they usually offer you only 1-2 comfort layers above the coil unit, which is not enough to cradle your shoulders and relieve the pressure.
“Reading reviews from users that have pain conditions similar to yours can help you find out how a given model performs in real life.”
Other Factors to Consider
Finally, let’s wrap up the remaining factors you should consider when choosing a quality bed for side sleepers with shoulder pain:
- Your current condition. If your pain is caused by a medical condition, your pain might be episodic. Thus, when you don’t have pain episodes, you might need a moderate amount of cradling, but when pain appears, a more gentle hug might be needed. For this, I would suggest pairing your mattress with a topper so that you could add and remove the cushioning layer as needed.
- Thermoregulation. Poor heat removal can add some discomfort to your sleeping experience. Since side sleepers, especially those who are heavy, tend to sink more into the mattress layers, it’s advisable to choose natural materials or mattresses with coils for a more pronounced cooling effect.
- Durability. Durability defines how fast your mattress will start to wear out and lose its supportive properties, thereby becoming useless for your condition. To increase the chances of getting a durable product, look for high-grade materials and check the brand’s history on the market.
Shoulder pain can be really annoying. But you shouldn’t let it mess with your sleep. All the models I’ve collected in this review can really alleviate your shoulder pain if it’s caused by a medical condition, or even get rid of it completely if it’s caused by your current mattress. My personal favorite among the five is the Dreamcloud. Even though I’m not a big fan of hybrid beds, this model really impressed me with its plush and luxurious feel. The Dreamcloud precisely contours your body, relieving the pain and pressure in your shoulders. And it doesn’t make you hot. However, if you look for that comfy memory foam hug, I would recommend you go with the Bear Pro mattress. This bed can offer you close conforming and is designed to alleviate your aches and pains, helping you get truly restorative sleep. Now, what about you? Have you found your favorite yet? What do you look at when shopping for a mattress to help you deal with shoulder pain? Let us know in the comments!
Hours of Research
Mattress Executives Interviewed
Sleep Experts Consulted
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