Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers with Shoulder Pain

Aches and pains in your shoulder? Check out our top picks for mattresses that will relieve those issues.

By Loren Bullock

Side sleeping is generally a favorite when it comes to sleeping positions; roughly 75% of Americans report sleeping on their sides. While this can be great for alignment and digestive properties, it isn’t so great to be a side sleeper with shoulder pain. Trying to fall asleep with your pained shoulder pushing into an unforgiving mattress is a recipe for very little sleep. But, we can help you find the perfect mattress to help you deal with the pain and sleep peacefully.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to choose a mattress when you’re a side sleeper with shoulder pain, our top picks, as well as how to sleep when you have shoulder pain.


Our Top Picks for the Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers with Shoulder Pain

We’ve made a list of the best mattresses for side sleepers with shoulder pain and who we think would love them. Want to learn about each mattress in depth? Keep reading.

By clicking on the products below, we may receive a commission at no cost to you, the reader. It’s how we fund our Mattress Lab and bring you better mattress reviews and comparisons.

Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers with Shoulder Pain Overview:

Accolade

Mattress

1. Editor’s Pick

Layla

2. Best Alignment

Casper

3. Best Cooling

Helix Midnight

4. Best Pressure Relief

Nolah Signature

5. Best Value

Bear

6. Best Luxury

WinkBed

As you comb through our top picks and make a decision, be sure to also consult your doctor for their recommendations based on the cause of your shoulder pain. And remember, all of the mattresses on our list come with trial periods that last for at least 100 nights, so trying out a mattress that sounds good brings no harm to you.


Why trust Mattress Advisor?

Our Mattress Advisor sleep experts have spent countless hours in our mattress lab testing over 100 mattresses. Every mattress on this list has undergone our rigorous 6-point testing method and gotten and 8-point evaluation. With all of the mattresses that have passed through our lab, we know a great mattress when we lie on one.

Please note: while we’re experts when it comes to mattresses, we are not doctors. It’s always recommended that you consult with your doctor when it comes to choosing products meant to address health and pain issues. 


1. Editor’s Pick

Layla

Editor's Pick
  • Two-sided mattress with dual firmness
  • Foam infused with copper
  • Lifetime warranty

I had a hip and shoulder issue. A switch to this bed has done wonders for my quality of sleep and I don’t wake up sore anymore.”

Jordan G.
Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
MA Score
8.8 / 10
Firmness

Soft side: 4-5/10; Firm side: 7/10

Trial Period

120 days

Why We Love It

The Layla mattress has all of the staples a mattress for side sleepers with shoulder pain should: it’s great at offering pressure and pain relief, offers good alignment, and is supportive. There are also extra features such as wonderful motion isolation and responsiveness. These are great properties for those who sleep with a partner or toss and turn at night.

Layla has two sides: the soft side and the firm side for side sleepers to choose their comfort. No matter the side, Layla’s foam is infused with copper, which eases pain, reduces joint inflammation, and relieves pressure.

Read our full Layla review here


2. Best Alignment

Casper

Best Alignment
  • Perfect responsiveness
  • Zoned support system
  • Great universal mattress

It’s a perfect nights sleep, a great balance of firm and soft.”

Nikki G.
Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
MA Score
9.1 / 10
Firmness

Medium firm: 6/10

Trial Period

100 days

Why We Love It

Alignment is one of the most crucial things a mattress should give a side sleeper, and the Casper mattress scored a 9.5 out of 10 in spinal alignment. Bad posture is a main contributing factor to shoulder pain, and with a mattress that offers nearly perfect posture, and posture-related pain will disappear.

On top of that, Casper is a great mattress for every type of sleep position, this makes it a great option for combination side sleepers and those who sleep with a partner who prefers a different position.

Read our full Casper review here


3. Best Cooling

Helix Midnight LUXE

Best Cooling
  • Keeps weight evenly distributed
  • Great alignment
  • CertiPUR-US and OEKO-TEX certified

This mattress solved every obstacle we faced to getting a good nights sleep starting with the first night.”

Matthew M.
Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
MA Score
8.9 / 10
Firmness

Medium firm: 6/10

Trial Period

100 days

Why We Love It

For all you side sleepers who get hot at night, the Helix Midnight LUXE is for you. The top layers combine gel and phase change materials to not only keep you cool all night long, but regulate body temperature too.

Cooling isn’t the only thing this Helix mattress can do. It also scored a 9 out of 10 in our spinal alignment test thanks to zoned support that keeps your weight evenly distributed. The premium pillow top works with the other layers to relieve pressure as well.

Read our full Helix review here


4. Best Pressure Relief

Nolah Signature 12''

Best Pressure Relief
  • Double-sided airfoam mattress
  • Pressure relief from hips and shoulders
  • Works for all types of sleepers

Wonderful support and the comfiest bed I've ever slept on.”

Katy J.
Customer Rating
4.8 / 5
MA Score
8.5 / 10
Firmness

Two firmness levels: soft and firm

Trial Period

120 days

Why We Love It

The Nolah Signature specializes in pressure relief. Made with their patented airfoam, the mattress contours to your body and cools it down to ease your pressure points. This mattress is also dual sided with different firmness levels. The soft side allows you to sink into the mattress without trapping you in the foam. The firm side provides support and pressure relief, great for combination sleepers.

Read our full Nolah review here


5. Best Value

Bear

Best Value
  • Great for athletes
  • Promotes blood circulation and pressure relief
  • Ultra cooling

It has helped my lower back aches and pains and my back is much less tight in the morning.”

Jill R.
Customer Rating
4.7 / 5
MA Score
8.6 / 10
Firmness

Medium firm: 6/10

Trial Period

100 days

Why We Love It

The Bear mattress is one of those great mattresses that offers everything you want for a reasonable price. Despite being an entirely foam mattress, Bear scored a 9 out of 10 in cooling because of the graphite gel infusion. The celliant cover also absorbs body heat, together they allow you to stay cool.

Bear is also responsive and offers great spinal alignment. Its muscle recovery technology provides excellent pressure relief anyone sleeping with shoulder pain will enjoy.

Read our full Bear review here


6. Best Luxury

WinkBed Luxury Firm

Best Luxury
  • Made for all types of sleepers
  • Perfect firmness for side sleepers
  • White glove delivery available

The Winkbed alleviates all my pain, providing me with the total restful sleep.”

Donald W.
Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
MA Score
8.6 / 10
Firmness

Medium firm: 6/10

Trial Period

101 days

Why We Love It

This WinkBed mattress has luxury in the title, and this is proven with its premium 6-layer construction. It’s hypersoft foam layer is made with pressure relief in mind and contours to your body shape. The tencel cover wicks away excess moisture to keep you cool and dry if you are prone to night sweats.

The WinkBed Luxury Firm mattress offers about a 6/10 firmness level—perfect for side sleepers. It is enough for pressure relief, but offers enough support for alignment.

Read our full WinkBed review here

Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers with Shoulder Pain (Runners-Up)

Our list didn’t have enough room for these runner-up choices, but they are still great options for side sleepers with shoulder pain.

Benefits of Side Sleeping

Side sleeping is the most popular position for a reason—there are a plethora of health benefits that come with it. Here are a few:

  • Eliminates Back Pain: Back sleeping and stomach sleeping can cause a strain on the lower back. Side sleeping (on the right mattress) keeps your spine aligned and eliminates sleep-related back pain.
  • Helps with Sleep Apnea: When you sleep on your back, your throat muscles relax back into your throat, making it difficult to breathe. This can cause excessive snoring and sleep apnea. Sleeping on your side is a healthy way to relieve that; it opens up your airways and keeps snoring at bay.
  • Heart Health: Sleeping on your side allows your head and heart to be aligned. It also allows for draining or your lymph nodes. Combined, this allows for better blood circulation and a healthier heart.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

Injury

Shoulder injuries, such as rotator cuff and shoulder dislocation, are common, especially for athletes. Baseball players, swimmers, and tennis players are the most susceptible to rotator cuff injuries where the group of muscles and joints are irritated, inflamed, or hurt. Dislocation happens when your arm falls out of place, resulting in extreme pain when you attempt to raise your arm.

Aging

As we age, our bodies changes and it’s common to experience pain after years of wear and tear on your muscles and joints. It’s important to find a mattress for seniors that takes this into account and cushions your body where needed.

Pregnancy

Pregnant women don’t have a choice but to sleep on their sides. Throughout pregnancy, there is extra weight added to the mother’s body that she is not used to. Since the shoulders and hips are pressed into the mattress during side sleeping, this extra weight can cause pain.

Broken Bone

A shoulder bone, such as the ball and socket or clavicle, not only causes shoulder pain throughout the night, it shouldn’t be slept on at all until it heals. When sleeping on your side with a broken shoulder bone, try sleeping on the non-injured side.

Soreness

Every time you exercise, your muscles become sore as you recover. This can be a pain as you’re trying to fall asleep. The pain in your shoulder could be caused by excessive weight lifting, pitching a baseball, or even moving furniture. This pain will go away over time, but the right mattress will help you sleep on it.

Frozen Shoulder

The term frozen shoulder is just a nickname for a shoulder with a stiff joint. Frozen shoulders are hard to move because each movement causes pain. A frozen shoulder is the result of thickening shoulder tissue and can go on for years.

Tendonitis

Tendonitis is characterized by an inflammation of the tendons, which can manifest itself in the rotator cuff of your shoulder. This inflammation can be due to stressing the shoulder from athletics, overuse, and even bad posture. Tendonitiscan also cause hip pain. There are various treatments for tendonitis, such as physical therapy, ice/heat, medication, and surgery.

Bursitis

Bursitis appears when the bursa sac (a fluid filled sac surrounding your joints) becomes inflamed. Those with bursitis report pain becoming worse at night time. This probably has something to do with the fact that lying down can cause pain in this area.

Positioning

Being a side sleeper alone can cause shoulder pain. How many times have you woken up with a sore shoulder and an arm that has fallen asleep? This happens because side sleeping can put your shoulder in some awkward positions that push against your pressure points. This pain will fade with strategic pillow placement and trading sides.

Mattress Qualities for Side Sleepers with Shoulder Pain

Here is a guide to help you navigate finding a mattress when you are a side sleeper with shoulder pain.

Type of Mattress

  • Memory Foam: Memory foam mattresses are made of various foam layers with different densities for both support and comfort. A memory foam mattress is known for being pressure relieving, which is perfect for side sleepers with shoulder pain. A big reason for the exacerbation of shoulder pain in side sleepers is the fact that they are pushed into the mattress. Memory foam eases this pressure.
  • Latex: Latex mattresses are very similar to memory foam when it comes to pressure relieving qualities. It cradles your body in comforting and soothing latex foam. The biggest difference between latex and memory foam is that latex foam can be completely organic when made from natural latex rather than synthetic. Latex is naturally cooling and hypoallergenic as well.
  • Innerspring: An innerspring mattress is considered one of the worst mattresses for side sleepers, but people are drawn to them due to the familiar feel of the traditional mattress. The springs inside an innerspring mattress don’t provide and even support, leaving the body contorted and unaligned. The close proximity to the springs can exacerbate shoulder pain.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid mattresses traditionally combine foam layers and pocketed coils to provide comfort and support. But now they also use foam layers or a combination of all three. Because the benefits of a hybrid mattress is merely a product of the materials used, side sleepers with shoulder pain can find one tailored to their needs.

Firmness

Mattresses come in a variety of firmness levels. Some brands merely offer soft, medium, and firm options; other brands offer up to 50 firmness options characterized by number. Here at Mattress Advisor, we use a scale of 10: 1 being the softest and ten being the firmest.

Side sleepers should go for a 5 or 6 (medium/medium-firm) on the scale. This firmness level is soft enough for the hips and shoulders to comfortably sink into the mattress, but firm enough to keep the spine aligned.

Pressure Relief

Pressure relief in a mattress is something every side sleeper needs. But when you compile that with existing shoulder pain, it becomes a necessity. Memory foam and latex are known for pressure relief, and sometimes mattresses will infuse the foam with something extra for even more relief, such as copper or graphite.

Sleeping Tips for Side Sleepers with Shoulder Pain

A new mattress that works well for your shoulder pain is only the first step. Let’s explore how to sleep better and longer on your side with shoulder pain.

Mattress Accessories

Using an extra cushion can help ease any remaining pressure on your shoulder. This could work as either a mattress topper or a thick mattress pad. Mattress toppers are a foam layer ranging between 1 inch to 5 inches place atop a mattress to provide more comfort or pressure relief. Toppers can either be made of memory foam, latex foam, wool, or feathers. Latex and memory foam toppers work the best for shoulder pain.

Pillows

People who sleep on their sides need a pillow that will bring their head up so that their neck is aligned with the spine. This often means the pillow needs to be thick and lofty, but ultimately will depend on the shoulder size.

A lot of side sleeper-specific pillows have an ergonomic design that contours to the neck and shoulders for optimum comfort.

Change Positions

If side sleeping is causing you excessive pain that is making it difficult to fall asleep, try to change positions. Back sleeping is considered the healthiest way to sleep. If you want to know where to start, check out our guide on how to sleep on your back.

But, if you don’t want to change your sleep position entirely, try to sleep on the other side. If you are nursing a shoulder injury due to a broken bone or arthritis, simply sleep on the other shoulder. If side sleeping is causing your shoulder pain, try to switch sides each nights, or every few hours.

Doctor’s Visit

If all else fails, talk to your doctor for tips on how to ease the pain and other sleep tips.


Being a side sleeper with shoulder pain is a double edged sword: the position that brings you the most comfort makes your pain worse. Finding a comfortable mattress that eases this pain and brings you a great night’s sleep is attainable. Simply focus on finding a mattress with the best pressure relieving properties and make use of mattress accessories. If the pain persists, contact your doctor for advice.

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