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Home / Best Mattress / Best Mattress for Shoulder Pain

Best Mattress for Shoulder Pain

Keith Cushner

Written by

Keith Cushner, Sleep Product Expert

Jenny Iyo

Medically Reviewed by

Jenny Iyo, Physical Therapist

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Methodology

We personally test every mattress featured in our reviews and guides to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations. Learn More

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We recently updated this page to name the Helix Moonlight as our pick for best soft mattress for shoulder pain. The Luxury Firm WinkBed remains our best overall pick in this category.

Sleepfoundation.org is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

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.

The Best Mattresses for Shoulder Pain

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.

Product Details

Best Overall

Luxury Firm WinkBed

Luxury Firm WinkBed
Price Range: $1,149 - $2,049
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • People who want both bounce and conforming
  • People seeking top-notch edge support
  • Hot sleepers or those in warm climates
Highlights:
  • Polyfoam Euro-top offers plush comfort
  • Zoned pocketed coil core provides even support
  • Hybrid design and gel-infused foam effectively regulate temperature
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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The Luxury Firm WinkBed is a hybrid mattress that provides excellent contouring, a feature that’s particularly helpful for people who experience shoulder pain. The mattress is one of four available options that each have a different firmness level. This model has a medium firm (6) feel that’s well suited to sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds.

What It’s Made of

The comfort system features adaptive polyfoam that is quilted into the Euro-top and an additional polyfoam transitional layer. The foam successfully compresses and contours alongside the body’s pressure-prone areas, including the shoulders and hips. The support core is made up of pocketed coils that are zoned and reinforced around the perimeter, providing substantial edge support. A moisture-wicking Tencel cover wraps the mattress.

How It Performed

The pocketed coils are individually wrapped to minimize motion transfer and zoned to enhance support beneath your lower back and midsection. The mattress also regulates temperature well thanks to its gel-infused foam and hybrid design. Air circulates easily throughout the coil support core, making the WinkBed a viable option for hot sleepers.

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. Shoppers in the contiguous U.S. enjoy free shipping.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Luxury Firm WinkBed’s support system is one of the most robust we’ve experienced. The coils exert the perfect amount of pushback for different areas of the body and the edges feel very secure.”

Best Value

Nectar Mattress

Nectar Mattress
Price Range: $399 - $1,138
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Couples
  • Mattress shoppers hoping for a lengthy sleep trial
Highlights:
  • Memory foam layers contour evenly for a cloud-like feel
  • All-foam construction offers excellent motion isolation
  • 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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The Nectar Mattress is a good option for anyone with shoulder pain who enjoys the even conforming of memory foam. Compared to other all-foam beds, the Nectar has a very approachable price-point for those on a budget.

What It’s Made of

A memory foam 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. A cover made of soft, breathable Tencel fabric encases the entire mattress. The memory foam is also infused with gel for added temperature regulation.

How It Performed

The Nectar Mattress is considered medium firm (6), making it particularly well-suited for side and back sleepers weighing 130 to 230 pounds. A major 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. While the Nectar Mattress may retain too much heat for some people, the cooling gel and Tencel fabric help it sleep relatively cool compared to some 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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“We’ve tested a lot of memory foam mattresses and the Nectar is one of the most supportive models in the bunch. This is a true medium firm, with just enough give to cushion your body in sore spots.”

Most Comfortable

Helix Midnight Luxe

Helix Midnight Luxe
Price Range: $1,199 - $2,499
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds
  • Hot sleepers
  • Couples
Highlights:
  • Plush pillow-top provides strong cushioning
  • Zoned coils support your midsection and bolster the perimeter
  • Breathable Tencel cover and steady airflow through the coil system
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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The Helix Midnight Luxe is a sophisticated pillow-top hybrid with a balanced design to serve different sleeper types. Most sleepers across weight and sleeping position groups should find the cushioning quite comfortable.

What It’s Made of

Memory foam cushions the pillow-top to give the surface an invitingly plush feel, while the pocketed coil support core is zoned to reinforce the midsection – where many people carry a disproportionate amount of weight – and protect the edges from deep sinkage. The result is a medium firm (6) mattress that is comfortable, stable, and easy to move across for most people who weigh up to 230 pounds. The cover is composed of a silky-soft Tencel fabric.

How It Performed

The Midnight Luxe should feel most comfortable for side sleepers in the range of 130 to 230 pounds, and back and stomach sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds. These sleep positions need a mix of cushioning and support to maintain healthy spinal alignment, and this mattress provides just that.

The breathability of the Tencel cover and the steady air circulation throughout the coil interior help the mattress maintain a comfortable temperature, especially for those who sleep hot. Couples may also benefit from this mattress due to its above-average motion isolation. While many hybrids are too responsive to reduce much transfer, the Midnight Luxe’s pillow-top absorbs a significant amount of movement.

The Midnight Luxe’s price-point is on par with that of the average luxury hybrid. If you’re shopping with a limited budget, a standard Helix Midnight hybrid is more affordable – though this mattress lacks the pillow-top and zoned coils of its Luxe counterpart. Ground shipping is free of charge for all orders in the contiguous U.S. Each Midnight Luxe is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Midnight Luxe has just the right amount of softness and bounce to cushion my shoulder but also keep me from sinking too deep into the bed.”

Softer WinkBed

Best for Side Sleepers

Softer WinkBed

Softer WinkBed
Price Range: $1,149 - $2,049
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium Soft (4)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who prefer a combination of cushioning and support
  • Side sleepers
Highlights:
  • Hybrid design and gel-infused memory foam feel cool
  • Plush Euro-top alleviates pressure points
  • Robust support promotes even spinal alignment
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Get $300 off all mattresses

WinkBed has four models within its flagship hybrid mattress lineup. The Softer WinkBed is the plushest option of the four and is an excellent pick for side sleepers across all weight groups. Its medium soft (4) firmness level and comfortable cushioning are especially well suited to side sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds.

What It’s Made of

The Softer WinkBed’s construction begins with a Euro-top that offers conforming comfort. Its gel-infused polyfoam contours closely to your body to help evenly distribute your weight and cradle pressure-prone areas like your hips and shoulders. Beneath the Euro-top is a polyfoam transitional layer that increases contouring and helps you stay comfortably on top of the mattress.

The pocketed coil core provides substantial support, especially around the edges, which feature higher-gauge coils. The coils use a zoned support system that increases pushback under the heavier parts of your body in order to keep your spine evenly aligned. The entire mattress is wrapped in a Tencel cover that enhances breathability.

How It Performed

Our trials found that the Euro-top’s adaptive polyfoam successfully relieves the pressure point buildup that often plagues side sleepers. Additionally, the foam increases the mattress’ motion isolation, which is a plus for couples or light sleepers. When you shift sleeping positions, the foam traps that movement rather than transferring it and prevents the disturbance from reaching the other side of the bed.

The Softer WinkBed also regulates temperature very well, thanks to its hybrid design and innovative comfort system. The coil core allows air to move freely so that your body heat isn’t trapped within the mattress, while the gel-infused foam and Tencel cover effectively wick away heat and moisture.

The Softer WinkBed comes with a lifetime limited warranty and a 120-night sleep trial. Sleepers must use the mattress for at least 30 days before initiating a return. Shipping is free to addresses within the contiguous U.S.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Softer WinkBed is a sure bet for side sleepers. It relieves pressure point aches and pains exceptionally well without sacrificing support. It’s also quite temperature neutral and a great pick for hot sleepers.”

Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid

Best Pressure Relief

Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid

Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid
Price Range: $699 - $1,499
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Custom Sizes
Who it's best for:
  • Those with pressure-induced pain in the hips and shoulders
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those looking for multiple firmness options
Highlights:
  • Three firmness options
  • Comfort system made from proprietary polyfoam contours to the body to alleviate pressure buildup
  • 120-night sleep trial
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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The Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid comes in three firmness levels to support a wide range of sleepers. Customers can choose from a medium soft (4), medium firm (6), or firm (8) feel to achieve optimal support. Those with pain in their shoulders or hips should appreciate the combination of pressure-relieving comfort layers and supportive pocketed coils.

What It’s Made of

The mattress’ comfort system features Brooklyn Bedding’s proprietary TitanFlex polyfoam. Gel is infused into the foam to absorb and dissipate excess body heat. A transitional layer of VariFlex polyfoam adds cushion between the comfort system and the support core. Pocketed coils make up the support core, with some coils zoned along the perimeter of the mattress for extra supportive edges. The coils rest on a base layer of polyfoam for stability.

How It Performed

Hot sleepers should find they sleep quite cool on the foam hybrid model. The pocketed coils help circulate air throughout the mattress to regulate the temperature. The three firmness options offer benefits to sleepers of differing body weights and preferred sleeping positions. Side sleepers and those under 130 pounds should appreciate the softer model, allowing them to sink deeper into the mattress. Side and back sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds may prefer the firmer models.

Brooklyn Bedding ships free to the contiguous U.S. and offers a 120-night sleep trial. Signature Hybrid purchases come with a 10-year warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Our testers appreciated the Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid’s range of firmnesses. The hot sleepers on the team also found the pocketed coils in the support core enhance air circulation to keep them cool.”

Saatva Classic

Best Luxury

Saatva Classic

Saatva Classic
Price Range: $935 - $2,450
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Soft (3), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, California King, Split California King
Who it's best for:
  • People who prioritize bounce in their mattress
  • Hot sleepers
  • Shoppers looking for free White Glove delivery
Highlights:
  • Coil-on-coil construction facilitates airflow to regulate temperature
  • Three firmness options
  • Plush Euro-top provides excellent contouring
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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People worried about shoulder pain can rest easy on the Saatva Classic, the flagship mattress of one of the most well-known luxury brands in the online mattress industry. The thoughtful coil-on-coil design provides an even balance of contouring and pushback, making this a solid choice for anyone seeking pressure relief.

What It’s Made of

The Saatva uses coil-on-coil construction with two different types of springs. The support core features a layer of hourglass-shaped Bonnell coils. These springs are extra thick and measure shorter in the 11.5-inch model than in the 14.5-inch model. Above this support core is a layer of microcoils 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 microcoils are foam materials, including polyfoam and a memory foam lumbar pad, that are quilted into a Euro-top.

How It Performed

The foam and microcoils 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. Customers can select between 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 365-night sleep trial with a $99 return shipping fee if you decide not to keep the bed. The Saatva has a lifetime warranty that covers mattress defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The coil-on-coil design really sets the Saatva Classic apart from a lot of competing innersprings and hybrids. I noticed exceptional support, but the mattress never felt overly stiff on the surface.”

Nolah Evolution 15

Best for Combination Sleepers

Nolah Evolution 15

Nolah Evolution 15
Price Range: $999 - $1,699
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who prefer sleeping on exceptionally thick mattresses
Highlights:
  • Luxurious Euro-top  gives the surface a plush initial feel
  • Zoned coils ensure sturdy edge support
  • Graphite-infused foams and airflow through the coil support core help regulate temperature
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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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 soft surface offers excellent relief to painful or uncomfortable pressure points at night. The Evolution 15 is available in three different firmness levels – medium (5), medium firm (6), and firm (8) – so most sleepers can find a comfortable option.

What It’s Made of

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.

How It Performed

The plush option is considered medium, making it best suited to side and back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds. The luxury firm, or medium firm, provides a bit more support for sleepers of any position in the range of 130 to 230 pounds. Lastly, the firm 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 made of cooling fabric for added breathability.

Nolah offers free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. 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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Evolution 15 is a pillow-top mattress that doesn’t sacrifice support. Each firmness option is distinct from the other two, but sinkage was not a major issue for any of them.”

Bear Pro

Best for Athletes

Bear Pro

Bear Pro
Price Range: $998 - $1,623
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night break-in period)
Warranty: Lifetime warranty
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers
  • Couples who value motion isolation
  • Hot sleepers seeking a foam bed that retains less heat
Highlights:
  • Proprietary cooling fiber blend cover
  • All-foam design greatly reduces pressure buildup in joints
  • 120-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

30% off sitewide, plus 2 free Cloud Pillows with mattress purchase

All-foam beds adapt to the body to relieve pressure, but this close contouring can sometimes cause sleepers to overheat. The Bear Pro reduces heat retention by using proprietary cooling technology meant to dissipate excess body heat.

What It’s Made of

The mattress is encased in a cover made from a proprietary Celliant and polyester blend meant to regulate temperature. Next is a polyfoam comfort layer infused with copper, giving the surface a plush feel. Underneath is a memory foam comfort layer infused with gel to relieve pressure in the joints.

The responsive polyfoam transitional layer provides a barrier between the comfort system and the support core. This layer also helps keep your weight evenly distributed to maintain healthy spinal alignment. The support core is composed of a layer of high-density polyfoam that limits excessive sinkage in heavier areas of the body.

How It Performed

Thick comfort layers and a medium firm (6) feel make the Bear Pro a strong choice for side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds. Our testing team also found the mattress supportive for back sleepers under 130 pounds, thanks to the mid-range feel.

The foam comfort layers are excellent at absorbing motion transfer, so couples and co-sleepers should notice very few disturbances when their partner switches positions at night. Copper and gel infusions in the foam keep the mattress cooler than many other all-foam models. Copper is meant to conduct heat away from the body, while gel is designed to dissipate excess body heat. The proprietary Celliant fabric cover is also engineered to absorb body heat and convert it into infrared energy to promote temperature regulation.

Bear offers free shipping to the contiguous U.S. and a 120-night sleep trial. Bear Pro purchases are backed by a lifetime warranty, covering structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Bear Pro is a mixed-foam mattress that closely contours the body to relieve pressure without trapping too much heat. Hot sleepers on our testing team found the mattress much cooler than many other all-foam models.”

Helix Moonlight

Best Soft

Helix Moonlight

Helix Moonlight
Price Range: $699 - $1,449
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Soft (4)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Back and side sleepers under 130 pounds
  • People with sharp pressure points
  • Those who enjoy very soft mattresses
Highlights:
  • Medium soft (4) feel provides above-average plushness for a hybrid
  • Polyfoam comfort layers contour closely for strong pressure relief
  • Plush surface absorbs noise and motion
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Get up to $350 off + 2 free Dream Pillows

Most hybrid mattresses on the market carry a mid-range firmness level, but the Helix Moonlight has an exceptionally plush feel that sets it apart from other hybrids we’ve tested. We found the soft surface was ideal for cradling the body and reducing painful pressure buildup in the shoulders.

What It’s Made of

The mattress has a medium soft (4) feel and begins with a layer of Helix Dynamic Foam. This specialized polyfoam contours closely to your body and cushions areas that exert more compression on the surface. Beneath is a thinner polyfoam layer that balances cushioning with enhanced support, followed by a thick and sturdy coil layer. The cover is composed of a soft, stretchy fabric, or you can upgrade to the GlacioTex Cooling Cover to reduce heat retention.

How It Performed

During tests, the Moonlight earned the highest marks from side and back sleepers under 130 pounds. These testers are most prone to pressure buildup in the shoulders, hips, or spine, and the Moonlight offered just the right amount of cushioning to alleviate this problem. Sleepers in heavier weight categories, as well as all stomach sleepers, found the mattress too soft to properly support their bodies. These sleepers may prefer a firmer mattress from Helix’s extensive lineup.

Besides pressure relief, this mattress also performed well with noise and movement reduction. The adaptive foam layers absorbed motion and noise to help minimize disruptions from a restless sleep partner.

You’ll receive a 100-night sleep trial to test out the Moonlight, and shipping is free to all 50 states. The mattress comes with a 10-year warranty that protects against structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“As a side sleeper who often wakes up with sore shoulders, I found the Helix Moonlight to be very easy on my joints. It’s a great choice if you like your mattresses extra plush.”

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve personally evaluated hundreds of mattresses, and each one undergoes a rigorous testing process that looks at various facets of construction, durability, and overall performance. Our team consists of people who belong to different weight and sleep position groups. This versatility allows us to make product recommendations for all types of sleepers. For this particular guide, we largely drew from testers who experience chronic or occasional shoulder pain.

How We Evaluated These Mattresses

To choose the best mattresses for shoulder pain, we focused on models with features that alleviate existing pain and help prevent new aches and pressure points. Mattresses that cater to sleepers with shoulder pain typically require a balance of contouring and even support, so you’ll notice all of our top picks are considered middle of the road in terms of firmness and conforming level. While our mattress testing process includes many different stages, for this guide we focused on pressure relief, ease of movement, expected lifespan, and edge support.

For a more in-depth look at how we test mattresses, read our product research methodology below:

  • Motion Isolation: We perform various standardized tests to measure how much movement a bed absorbs when sleepers move on the surface. Mattresses that excel in this category are ideal for couples who tend to wake each other up with nighttime movement.
  • Temperature Control: To gauge how well a mattress can stay cool at night, our team runs thermal tests on the surface. We also consider the bed’s construction, since materials like latex and cotton promote ventilation better than others.
  • Pressure Relief: Pressure relief is one of the most important mattress criteria we consider for sleepers with shoulder pain. We test how closely and evenly a bed conforms to a sleeper’s shoulders, thus reducing pressure buildup.
  • Off-Gassing: Many mattresses, especially those made with synthetic materials, give off an unpleasant odor after you remove them from their packaging. This odor is temporary and should dissipate in a matter of days.
  • Ease of Movement: We perform tests to evaluate how easily sleepers can move on a bed’s surface. Latex and innerspring models typically outperform foam beds in this category.
  • Edge Support: This criteria is important for people who sleep or sit near the edge of the mattress, or who have trouble getting in and out of bed. We measure the degree of sagging when testers sit on the edge, while also considering construction features aimed at bolstering perimeter support.
  • Sex: To determine a bed’s suitability for sex, we consider factors such as bounce and responsiveneness, noise reduction, and temperature neutrality. That said, sleeper preferences for beds in this category will vary.
  • Body Weight: The amount of support and cushioning you need from your mattress will depend in part on your body weight. For this reason, our testers keep this criteria in mind when evaluating mattresses.

How to Choose a Mattress for Shoulder Pain

If you’re dealing with chronic shoulder pain, you’ve probably experienced firsthand how a good or bad night’s sleep can affect your pain levels. With the right mattress, you can give your body the support it needs to recuperate and recover.

Finding the right mattress, though, requires understanding the relationship between sleep and pain and knowing what to look for when mattress shopping.

Why is Sleep Important for Pain?

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.

What to Look for in a Mattress for Shoulder 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.

  • Price: No matter how great a mattress might be, if you can’t afford it, then it’s not really worth your time to consider. Your available budget is an easy-to-use filter to reduce the number of mattresses to research, but keep in mind that it’s very rare to pay the full mattress sticker price. Coupons and discounts are almost always available when shopping online. Most online mattress brands will ship for free anywhere in the contiguous U.S., and some extend this offer to Alaska and Hawaii. The mattress will be compressed, shrink-wrapped, and shipped as a “mattress in a box” before being delivered to your doorstep.
  • Sleeping Position: The way that you position your body during sleep can have an immense effect on your pressure points. Shoulder and hip pain is more common in side sleepers who put more impact on the mattress in those areas, and as a result, they usually need a softer, more contouring mattress. Lower back pain is more common in stomach and back sleepers who usually do best with a firmer bed.
  • Mattress Type: Each mattress type has pros and cons for different sleepers. Knowing which provides the characteristics you’re looking for makes it easier to narrow your options and find a mattress that you’ll be satisfied with.
  • Contouring: The ability of a mattress to conform to the body plays a big part in how well it can relieve pressure. With more hug, a mattress can deliver enhanced cushioning to heavier parts of the body, such as the shoulders and hips of side sleepers. But not everyone wants or needs deep contouring because it can sometimes create a feeling of being stuck in the bed.
  • Quality Materials: If you want high-end performance and durability, then it’s important to look for a mattress that doesn’t skimp on its materials. People with pain count on their mattress to function properly, and quality materials make that more likely. Some customers may also want materials that are produced to high standards of sustainability, such as those that are certified organic.
  • Firmness Level: How hard or soft a mattress feels is integral to your comfort. This is subjective, so every shopper should consider what feels right to them. In addition, proper support to relieve back, shoulder, and hip pain in some sleeping positions may require a mattress of a certain firmness level.
  • Pressure Relief: If you have ongoing shoulder pain, a mattress that provides pressure relief around the shoulders is crucial. Not only can this reduce impact and friction in that area, but solid pressure relief to the whole body can keep the spine well-aligned and avoid other potential sources of aches and pains.
  • Motion Isolation: Motion isolation is an important factor for people who share a bed. On a bed with good motion isolation, it’s easy to keep sleeping without feeling the tossing and turning of a person on the other side of the mattress. Of all mattress materials, memory foam usually offers the strongest motion isolation.
  • Ease of Movement / Sex: For many people, it’s important to be able to move easily on a mattress. A responsive mattress facilitates changing sleeping positions (especially important for combination sleepers) and sexual activity. Bouncier materials like latex and innerspring coils normally are the best at enabling movement.
  • Edge Support: Without enough edge support, it can feel like you may roll off the bed if you are trying to sleep or sit near its perimeter. Foam beds tend to have reduced edge support because of how the foam compresses while hybrids, innersprings, and latex beds typically hold up better in this area.
  • Temperature Regulation: Overheating at night can be incredibly disruptive to a good night’s sleep, and mattress selection can determine how likely you are to sleep hot. Memory foam beds tend to retain more heat than hybrid and latex mattresses. Many manufacturers employ special materials or features to try to improve temperature regulation.
  • Noise: A noise-free mattress can prevent unwanted awakenings at night. The most common culprit for a noisy mattress is an innerspring design, but many modern mattresses use improved coils and other manufacturing techniques to help keep beds quiet.

Importance of Pressure Relief for Shoulder Pain – Video

A mattress with strong pressure relief can help avoid or alleviate shoulder pain. Watch the video below to learn more about pressure relief and to see how we evaluate this performance feature in our lab.

Which Mattress Firmness is Best for Shoulder Pain?

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.

Which Type of Mattress is Best for Shoulder Pain?

Figuring out which type of mattress 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.

Hybrid

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, microcoils, 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 people with pain to take advantage of balanced and robust features offered by a mix of materials.

Innerspring

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 sleepers with shoulder pain 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.

Latex

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.

Airbed

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. 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.

Foam

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 pressure. Memory foam is a standout material for pressure relief. In general, foam beds provide high levels of hug and cradling.

Mattresses for Shoulder Pain FAQ

  • Can sleeping on a bad mattress cause shoulder pain?

    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.

  • Why can a mattress cause shoulder pain?

    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.

  • Can a mattress topper help if my mattress is causing shoulder pain?

    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.

Still have questions?

Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] or call us at (877) 672-8966 with your questions and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

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About Our Editorial Team

author
Keith Cushner

Sleep Product Expert

Keith is a sleep product expert with nearly a decade of experience researching, developing, and testing sleep products.

author
Jenny Iyo

Physical Therapist

DPT

Dr. Iyo is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at an orthopedic clinic in Seattle. She specializes in hands-on therapy and tailored exercise programs.