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The shoulder has been described as the “most movable joint” in the body. With many individual components and advanced range of motion, the shoulder is prone to various pain-inducing problems. The most common cause of shoulder pain is rotator cuff tendinosis, a condition that occurs when tendons around the shoulder socket become inflamed. Rotator cuff tendinosis can arise when the shoulder is held in one position for too long, especially if that position puts pressure on the joint.
To bring you the list of top picks below, our team has personally tested hundreds of mattresses with an emphasis on cushioning, support, and pressure relief for the shoulders. For each mattress, testers with existing shoulder pain reported whether their discomfort was alleviated or aggravated. Other testers documented any new shoulder pain that occurred while lying on the mattress. We use body-mapping technology to determine areas where pressure buildup is most prevalent.
These mattresses earned the highest ratings from our team after testing them for shoulder pain relief. We’ve awarded each one an accolade to showcase one of its biggest strengths. Below, we’ve included product profiles with more information about our standout picks. Further down, you’ll find a detailed buyer’s guide geared toward mattress shoppers with shoulder pain. We’ll cover which mattresses alleviate shoulder pain – and which ones might worsen the problem – as well as pricing and size information, other considerations for mattress buyers, and a rundown of mattress sleep trials and warranties.
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People worried about shoulder pain can rest easy on the Saatva, the flagship mattress of one of the most well-known names in the online mattress industry.
The Saatva utilizes coil-on-coil construction with two different types of springs. In the support core, which forms the base of the mattress, there is a layer of hourglass-shaped Bonnell coils. These springs are extra thick (13 gauge) and measure 4.5-inches tall in the 11.5-inch model and 7.5-inches tall in the 14.5-inch model.
Above this support core is a 4-inch layer of micro-coils that form part of the mattress comfort system. These springs are individually-wrapped to provide more relief for the shoulders and other pressure points. Above the micro-coils are an array of foam materials, including polyfoam and a memory foam lumbar pad, that are quilted into a euro-style pillow-top.
The foam and micro-coils work in conjunction to create a high-performance blend of conforming, responsiveness, and motion isolation. At the same time, air flows easily through both coil layers, keeping the Saatva cool along with the bed’s moisture-wicking organic cotton cover.
Saatva provides customers with plenty of options. They can select among the two different height models as well as three firmness levels: soft (3), medium firm (6), and firm (8). Depending on how sharp your pressure points are at the shoulders, the soft and medium firm are most likely to deliver the necessary cushioning.
With free White Glove delivery, the company sets a delivery date for technicians to come to your home, install the mattress, and haul-away your existing bed. There is a 180-night sleep trial with a $99 return shipping fee if you decide not to keep the bed. The Saatva has a 15-year warranty that covers mattress defects.
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The Nectar Mattress is a good option for anyone with shoulder pain who enjoys the even conforming of memory foam. A 3-inch comfort layer molds to the unique contours of your body without sagging or hugging too closely, while denser polyfoam layers provide transitional and base support to prevent you from sinking excessively. The Nectar Mattress is considered medium firm (6), making it particularly well-suited for side and back sleepers weighing 130-230 pounds.
Another perk of this mattress is motion isolation. The foam layers absorb movement and nearly eliminate transfer across the surface, resulting in fewer disruptions for couples and co-sleepers. The mattress is also completely silent when in use, so you and your partner can sleep soundly even when the other person gets up during the night.
A cover made of soft, breathable Tencel fabric encases the entire mattress. The memory foam is also infused with gel for added temperature regulation. While the Nectar Mattress may retain too much heat for some people, these components help it sleep relatively cool compared to other memory foam models.
The sticker price for this mattress is quite approachable and Nectar offers free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Each purchase includes a sleep trial that allows you to test out the mattress for up to 365 nights, as well as a lifetime warranty for those who keep the mattress after the return period expires.
Best for Side Sleepers
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Amerisleep offers a selection of memory foam mattresses specifically designed for certain sleepers based on body type, sleep position, and general firmness preferences. While any of the Amerisleep mattresses could potentially alleviate neck pain, we’ve chosen the AS3 because it offers the most balanced sleep experience thanks to a medium (5) feel and 12-inch profile.
The AS3 is constructed with a 3-inch layer of durable, medium-density memory foam. This material contours closely and evenly to improve alignment for side sleepers and alleviate pressure for all positions. The foam also absorbs movement and isolates it to each side of the bed, which reduces the potential for sleep disturbances when your partner changes positions or gets on and off of the mattress.
The AS3’s profile and firmness level are best suited to side and back sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds, as well as stomach sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds. Those who need more support from their mattress can opt for one of Amerisleep’s firmer mattresses, the AS1 (7) or the AS2 (6). The AS3 is also available as a hybrid model with pocketed coils instead of base foam for those who enjoy more responsiveness from their mattress.
Amerisleep offers free ground shipping for all orders. Your purchase includes a sleep trial that allows you to test out the mattress for up to 100 nights before deciding whether to keep it, and a 20-year warranty that covers excessive sagging and other structural defects.
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The WinkBed is a well-regarded hybrid mattress option that can effectively promote a healthy shoulder position along with excellent overall comfort.
Two materials drive the performance of the comfort system of the WinkBed. The topmost material is a responsive polyfoam that is quilted into the mattress’s euro-style pillow-top. The second part of the comfort system is a layer of micro-coils. These are individually-wrapped springs, giving them more capability to compress to align with the body’s pressure points, including the shoulders.
The foam and micro-coils create a mix of contouring and bounce that makes the mattress effective at conforming without permitting too much sink. Bounce and stability are further enhanced by the tall support core of pocketed coils. These coils are zoned to generate a more robust feel in key areas.
The support core’s coils are reinforced around the edge, and customers note that the WinkBed has outstanding edge support. The design of the mattress facilitates solid temperature regulation and motion isolation, making the WinkBed a viable option for hot sleepers and couples.
Customers can choose from a medium soft (4), medium firm (6), or firm (7) option. Side sleepers, who are more likely to deal with shoulder pain, tend to do better with the medium soft or medium firm depending on their body weight.
WinkBeds offers a 120-night sleep trial to test the bed out at home, and the company includes a lifetime warranty covering defects for as long as you own the mattress.
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The Nolah Evolution 15 is a luxuriously crafted hybrid with a thick profile and a foam-padded Euro-top that makes the surface feel quite plush. The mattress contains a comfort layer of graphite-infused polyfoam that contours to the body without excessive hugging or heat retention, and an additional polyfoam layer provides transitional support and prevents you from sinking too much.
The support core consists of pocketed coils divided into different zones based on thickness. Stronger coils bolster areas of the body where people tend to carry a disproportionate amount of weight – such as the torso and hips – and also reinforce the perimeter to prevent sagging whenever you sleep near or sit along the edges.
The Evolution 15 is available in three different firmness levels. The plush option is considered medium (5), making it best suited to side and back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds. The luxury firm, or medium firm (6), provides a bit more support for sleepers of any position in the range of 130-230 pounds. Lastly, the firm (8) feel offers excellent reinforcement for sleepers weighing more than 230 pounds.
Hot sleepers should also find the mattress appealing. In addition to the graphite-infused comfort layer, the coil system promotes steady airflow to help the mattress maintain a comfortable core temperature. The cover is also made of cooling fabric for added breathability.
Nolah offers free ground shipping anywhere in the lower 48 states. Your Evolution 15 purchase will include a 120-night sleep trial with free returns and a lifetime warranty that covers structural defects for as long as you own the mattress.
Best for Active People
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Another mattress that can alleviate shoulder pain very well is the Bear Hybrid. This can be attributed to its comfort layer of adaptive polyfoam that contours to the body and evenly distributes weight without feeling too soft or sinking excessively, as well as a support core of thick pocketed coils that stabilize the entire mattress.
Another key component of the Bear Hybrid is its cover composed of Celliant fabric. This innovative material is intended to absorb heat, convert it to infrared energy, and transmit the energy back into the body through your skin. This process can aid with physical recovery, especially if you’ve had a physically demanding day. Celliant fabric also sleeps quite cool, and the Bear Hybrid’s coil system promotes steady internal airflow for added breathability.
The mattress has a medium firm feel. This makes it best suited to people who weigh at least 130 pounds, but it also provides an ideal level of reinforcement for back and stomach sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds. Edge support is another major strength of the mattress. Thanks to the coil system, you should feel perfectly secure sleeping near or sitting along the edges.
The Bear Hybrid has a relatively low price-point compared to other hybrid models and Bear will ship the bed for free anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The mattress also comes with a 100-night sleep trial and an impressive 20-year warranty.
Best Pressure Relief
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The Mint Mattress from Tuft & Needle is another all-polyfoam option for sleepers with shoulder pain. The mattress is constructed with a thick comfort layer of adaptive polyfoam, a good material for people who enjoy some contouring but don’t want the body-hug of memory foam. Transitional and support layers of denser polyfoam reinforce the comfort layer to prevent you from sinking and aggravating your existing aches and pains. The mattress has a medium firm (6) feel that is especially well-suited to side and back sleepers who weigh 230 pounds or less.
The top two layers are infused with graphite and cooling gel, which help regulate surface temperatures by drawing heat away from your body. As a result, the Mint Mattress sleeps fairly cool compared to many all-foam competitors. The cover is also embedded with an antimicrobial protectant to prevent harmful bacteria and other allergens. The adaptive comfort layer absorbs movement and nearly eliminates motion transfer for couples. The mattress is completely silent too.
The Mint Mattress is competitively priced and Tuft & Needle provides free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. After purchasing the mattress, you’ll receive a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
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Eco-conscious customers who struggle with shoulder pain want a mattress that can help them sleep and feel better while also meeting high standards for sustainable production. Enter the PlushBeds Botanical Bliss, an all-latex mattress that impresses with both its performance and commitment to the environment.
All of the interior layers of the Botanical Bliss are composed of natural latex. This latex, made with the Dunlop process, is certified organic by the rigorous Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). The 10-inch version of this mattress has nine total inches of latex divided equally between three layers. 9-inch and 12-inch versions offer different interior layering arrangements.
Latex earns acclaim as a mattress material because it has the ability to conform to the body and relieve pressure while simultaneously providing a high degree of bounce. This makes it easy to move on a latex bed, which is ideal for combination sleepers and for couples who prioritize a mattress that is good for intimate activities.
As an added benefit, latex retains little heat, and the temperature regulation of the mattress is enhanced even further by the breathable cotton and wool materials in its cover. Both the cotton and wool are certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
The Botanical Bliss is offered in two firmness levels: medium firm (6) and Firm (7). Most shoulder pain sufferers do best with the medium firm, but back and stomach sleepers lean toward the firm.
Though this mattress has a high sticker price, discounts are frequently offered to reduce its final cost. During a 100-night sleep trial, PlushBeds allows customers to return the mattress or get a free layer exchange to modify the firmness. A 25-year warranty covers defects in materials and manufacturing over the long-term.
Finding the right mattress, though, requires understanding the relationship between sleep and pain and knowing what to look for when mattress shopping.
Sleep is a fundamental biological need that affects all aspects of health, including pain. Research indicates that sleep and pain have a bidirectional relationship, meaning that each influences the other.
Getting good sleep has been found to reduce perceived daily pain levels of chronic pain sufferers. Quality sleep may reduce anxiety, stress, and other negative emotions that can exacerbate pain.
In addition, being in pain can make it harder to sleep. Physical discomfort may prevent falling asleep or lead to nighttime awakenings. Worries about pain can spread to sleep, complicating a person’s ability to get consistent rest.
The fact that sleep and pain are so interlinked means that taking steps to sleep better, including choosing an optimal mattress, can provide a welcome means of pain relief. That pain reduction can facilitate even better sleep, fueling a positive cycle of nightly rest and decreased pain.
To identify the best mattress for shoulder pain, you need to know what factors are most important. The mattress industry is replete with marketing jargon that has the potential to lead shoppers astray, but only a handful of factors are most likely to influence your satisfaction with a new mattress.
In most cases, a Medium or Medium Firm mattress is best for shoulder pain, but the ideal firmness level for any person depends on their sleeping position and body shape.
Firmness is ranked on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the softest. A mattress that is too soft may cause the body to sink out of alignment, but one that is too firm may create heightened impact on the shoulder.
Firmness is a subjective preference and should be considered along with other factors, such as mattress type, price, pressure relief, and motion isolation, to choose the best mattress for any individual.
Categorizing mattresses provides a way to understand mattress construction and compare and contrast performance. Figuring out which type best suits your needs can simplify mattress shopping and guide you toward a top choice.
Mattresses that are built in a certain way will share some characteristics, but they won’t all be the same. Within each type, there is notable variation based on exactly how any specific model is built.
Definition: For a mattress to be a hybrid, it needs two components: a coil-based support core and a significant comfort system. That comfort system may be made with one or more layers and can feature materials like memory foam, polyfoam, micro-coils, latex, cotton, wool, and/or other fabrics.
Blend of Features: A hybrid is designed to generate the bounce, stability, and temperature control found in innersprings while using the comfort system to strengthen pressure relief and motion isolation. This allows pain sufferers to take advantage of balanced and robust features offered by a mix of materials.
Definition: An innerspring mattress has a coil-based system as its only or primary component. These beds, a mainstay in the industry for decades, don’t have any significant comfort system and provide support almost exclusively through compression of the coils.
Economical and Modifiable: Most pain sufferers won’t get enough pressure relief from an innerspring mattress alone. But these beds are often economical, and a latex or foam mattress topper can be placed on top to create a DIY comfort system. Some people find that this is a lower-cost way to construct a mattress that suits their needs.
Definition: When the interior components of a mattress are all made with latex, we refer to it as an all-latex, true-latex, or just simply a latex mattress. In most beds, manufacturers use natural latex, but some lower-cost options use synthetic materials. More than one type of latex is frequently layered within the bed to create a distinct support core and comfort system.
Responsive Support: Latex is a durable material that provides both bounce and mild conforming. With these characteristics, it can provide cushioning at the shoulders without any bothersome sinking or “quicksand” feeling.
Definition: Airbeds have a distinct design based upon a support core of air chambers. In most airbeds, there is one air chamber on each side, and the inflation of that chamber can be adjusted in real-time to modify the firmness feel. In addition to this support core, there may be a comfort system using materials like foam or latex.
Full Firmness Control: People with pain may find that their firmness needs change based on how sharp their pain is at that moment. With an airbed, you can use a remote or smartphone to quickly and easily give the bed a different feel to provide comfort and pain relief.
Definition: In foam mattresses, there is no coil-based layer. The support core is almost always a high-density polyfoam, and the comfort system can include one or more layers of memory foam, polyfoam, latex, or textiles like cotton and wool.
Conforming For Pressure Relief: People with the sharpest pressure points, including at the shoulders, may need deep contouring to cradle the body and relieve that pressure. On that count, memory foam is a standout material, and in general, foam beds provide high levels of hug and cradling.
Whether a mattress is “good” or “bad” depends on your individual sleep preferences. However, if you sleep on a mattress that is a bad fit for your body weight and sleep position, the mattress can cause pain in the shoulders as well as other areas of the body.
If you are wondering whether your mattress is causing your shoulder pain, pay close attention to when you experience the pain. If the pain is substantial soon after waking but eventually subsides throughout the day, your mattress is likely to blame. In these instances, it might be time to find a mattress that better suits your needs.
Because you spend so many hours lying in bed every night, mattresses can contribute to unexplained shoulder pain. Mattresses cause shoulder pain by exerting prolonged excessive pressure on the shoulders during sleep. This pressure typically builds up when a mattress is too firm or offers insufficient cushioning for the shoulders.
There are many factors to consider if you are looking for a mattress that does not create pressure build-up in the shoulders. Your body weight and preferred sleep position are two major factors. Side sleepers lay on their shoulders and are thus more susceptible to shoulder pain than back and stomach sleepers, and heavier sleepers may require firmer beds to receive the right balance of support and contouring.
If your mattress is the source of your shoulder pain, a mattress topper can help. Since shoulder pain typically occurs when a mattress is too firm or provides insufficient cushioning, you can purchase a mattress topper that includes the features your mattress lacks. A mattress topper is a relatively quick way to adjust the firmness and feel of your bed surface to alleviate shoulder pain. It is also a more affordable solution than purchasing an entirely new mattress. Keep in mind that mattress toppers are temporary solutions and do not replace the eventual need for a new mattress.
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