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The shoulder is a complex joint described as the “most movable joint” in the body. With its many individual components and advanced range of motion, the shoulder, unfortunately, is prone to various types of pain-inducing problems.
Among the array of potential causes of shoulder pain, the most common is known as rotator cuff tendonosis. This condition, which occurs when tendons around the shoulder socket become inflamed, can arise when the shoulder is held in one position for too long, especially if that position puts pressure on the joint.
Because of the amount of time we spend every night in bed, it comes as no surprise that many people find shoulder pain to be tied to how they sleep, and more specifically, to their mattress.
Having the right mattress can help prevent shoulder pain in the first place and may reduce pain in people who already have shoulder problems. Our list of the best mattresses for shoulder pain introduces a variety of options — reflecting different mattress types, designs, and price points — to help keep shoulders moving smoothly and without aches and pains.
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The Idle Gel Foam is constructed with a comfort layer of adaptive polyfoam, a material that contours and cushions to alleviate shoulder pain without hugging the body like memory foam. The polyfoam is also fairly breathable and shouldn’t absorb too much heat from your body, allowing the mattress to sleep cool for an all-foam model. The transitional and support layers are composed of dense polyfoam. These components reinforce the comfort layer nicely and prevent you from sinking too deeply.
Like other all-foam models, the Idle Gel Foam absorbs movement and prevents motion transfer across the surface. The mattress is also completely silent when bearing weight. These characteristics make it suitable for people who awaken easily due to their sleep partner’s movements. Thanks to a medium firm (6) feel, the Idle Gel Foam is also a good option for people who weigh 230 pounds or less – side and back sleepers in particular.
Idle Sleep offers an 18-month sleep trial, which is significantly longer than the standard mattress trial period of 90-100 nights. The Idle Gel Foam also comes with a lifetime warranty that covers the mattress as long as you own it. All customers receive free ground shipping with their order.
Get $135 off a Nolah Original Mattress with code: SF135
Nolah’s first mattress, the Nolah Original, is a 10-inch, all-foam mattress that provides essential cushioning to the body’s pain hot spots, including the shoulders.
The well-balanced performance of the Nolah Original is powered by the company’s specialty material, known as Nolah AirFoam. In developing AirFoam, Nolah worked to find a middle ground between memory foam and latex that would capture the benefits of each. In practice, this means that the foam cradles the body well enough for spine and shoulder support, but it is still responsive and avoids excess heat buildup.
AirFoam makes up the top two inches of the Nolah Original mattress. It is complemented by a one-inch layer of transition polyfoam that wards off excess sinking into the bed. A seven-inch support core made with high-density polyfoam serves as a stable and durable base for the Nolah Original’s comfort system.
AirFoam and the overall design of the Nolah Original work to resist heat retention. For people who share a bed, the foam comfortably conforms to the body sufficiently to prevent motion-based disruptions. The mattress has a Medium (5) feel that is especially comfortable to people under 130 pounds and most side sleepers.
The mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial that lets you test it out in your bedroom as well as a 15-year warranty covering defects in materials and workmanship.
In a big plus for environmentally-minded shoppers, Nolah makes a donation for every mattress sold to the non-profit organization Defenders of Wildlife, which undertakes a number of initiatives to protect animals and natural ecosystems.
Get $300 off a WinkBeds Mattress with code: SF300
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 Leesa Hybrid is constructed with comfort layers of aerated polyfoam and memory foam atop a pocketed coil support core. The top polyfoam layer provides some initial bounce and responsiveness, and is aerated to promote airflow. The memory foam layer beneath provides contouring which can help prevent pressure buildup in sensitive areas such as the shoulders, especially for those who sleep on their sides.
The bed features a high-density polyfoam transitional layer that prevents the sleeper from sinking through the comfort layers and into the support core, which consists of pocketed coils. This coil layer is designed with reinforced edges that prevent you from feeling like you may roll off the edge of the bed when you lie close to the perimeter of the mattress.
Because the coils are individually pocketed, this layer also helps prevent motion transfer, which together with the motion-isolating properties of the memory foam, makes this model a good choice for those who share the bed with a partner. The coil layer also helps keep the mattress cool, as it allows air to flow through the mattress and disperse heat.
Leesa provides free delivery and a 100-night sleep trial. They also back the mattress with a 10-year warranty.
Best for Athletes
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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
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Tuft & Needle mattresses
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.
Best Luxury Mattress
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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 (7). 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.
Get $100 off a PlushBeds Mattress with code: SF100
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 (5) and Firm (7). Most shoulder pain sufferers do best with the Medium, 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.
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