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Side sleepers are at a big disadvantage when it comes to dealing with shoulder pain.
Because the shoulder is pressing directly into the mattress, a too-firm mattress can worsen the pain. Since most mattresses are medium-firm, it can be hard to find a comfortable mattress.
Side sleepers with shoulder pain generally need softer than average mattresses. The softness allows the bed to contour around the shoulder and cushion it from too much pressure.
But the mattress should also be firm enough to keep the spine properly aligned. Otherwise, you may experience new pain in your neck or back.
Memory foam mattresses are great for shoulder pain sufferers. For heavier sleepers, hybrid mattresses with contouring pocket coils are the best.
Mattresses with zoned support are also ideal for side sleepers with shoulder pain.
Your pillow matters too. If it's not the right firmness and loft, it can contribute to or worsen shoulder pain.
Table of Contents
In this in-depth buying guide, we review the best mattresses for side sleepers with shoulder pain. We also provide tips on how to buy the right mattress to ease the pain.
If you are not looking for a mattress specifically for shoulder pain, check out our top-rated mattresses for different needs, sleeping positions, and comfort preferences.
If you don't have time to read the full buying guide, here's a quick summary of our top picks.
Editor's Choice: Puffy Royal
Best Value: Leesa Original
Best Luxury: Saatva Classic
Best Cooling Performance: Brooklyn Aurora
Best Pressure Relief: Casper Wave Hybrid
Best Latex: PlushBeds Botanical Bliss
|Puffy Royal||Editor’s Choice||Memory foam||Medium||14”||Lifetime|
|Leesa Original||Best Value||Memory foam||Medium||10”||10 years|
|Saatva Classic||Best Luxury||Hybrid spring-on-spring||Soft, medium-firm and firm||11.5”/14.5”||15 years (prorated/non-prorated)|
|Brooklyn Bedding Aurora||Best Cooling Performance||Hybrid||Soft, medium-firm and firm||13.5”||10 years|
|Casper Wave||Best Pressure Relief||Hybrid||Medium-soft||13"||10 years|
|PlushBeds Botanical Bliss ||Best Latex||Organic latex||Medium and medium-firm||9”, 10” and 12”||25 years|
Puffy Royal is the best mattress for most side sleepers with shoulder pain. It combines soft foams with a zoned design to provide support and contouring.
It is soft without compromising support, with the memory foam construction providing excellent pressure relief.
Puffy Royal is the latest mattress from Puffy, a brand best known for its affordable and comfortable memory foam mattresses.
The Puffy Royal is the most expensive of their offerings. It's also the softest and most luxurious. It is 14″ thick and has five foam layers.
The plush feel comes from the soft foams used in the top three comfort layers. They include a 1.5″ gel memory foam, 2″ responsive memory foam (bouncier than standard memory foam), and 2″ soft poly foam.
To keep the bed from getting uncomfortably mushy, the other layers use firmer foams to boost support.
There's the 1.5″ polyfoam layer a convoluted and zoned design plus an extra-thick 7″ base.
The zoned design of the fourth layer provides targeted support and pressure relief to different areas of your body.
For instance, the mattress is softer under your shoulders (for added pressure relief), while firming up a bit around your midsection to ensure proper spinal alignment.
The thick base provides compression support, especially for heavier sleepers. Essentially, it stops you from sinking too far into the mattress, which could mess up with your body alignment.
Puffy Royal is a medium mattress. It's softer than most memory foam mattresses, thanks to the thick comfort section consisting of soft foams.
The medium feel makes it a great choice for most people with shoulder pain. Instead of pressing against your shoulder, the soft foams contour around it.
This relieves pain and allows you to sleep more comfortably without constantly turning and tossing as you try to find a less painful sleeping position.
Even though it's thicker than most mattresses, we don't recommend Puffy Royal for sleepers weighing more than 230lbs. You'll sink too far into the mattress, which can cause more pain. Consider one of the hybrid or latex mattresses we have reviewed in this guide instead.
When it comes to cooling, Puffy Royal does a decent job. Gel-infused into the top layer and the convoluted design of the fourth layer help keep temperatures down for most sleepers.
But for extra-hot sleepers and those who live in hot climates, Puffy Royal may not be cool enough. Consider a latex or hybrid mattress instead.
Shipping: Free shipping to the contiguous US. Extra charges apply for shipping to Alaska and Hawaii.
In-home trial: 101 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, non-prorated
The Leesa original mattress is our top pick for those looking for high quality and comfortable mattress that costs less than $1,000.
Leesa Original is the flagship mattress of Leesa, one of the most popular bed-in-a-box companies. The mattress itself is one of the most popular and highest-rated online mattresses.
The Leesa Original mattress has an all-foam design, with a memory foam layer in the middle of the mattress providing the contouring and pressure relief shoulder pain sufferers need.
It has three layers, totaling up to a thickness of 10″.
The top 2″ layer is a special type of polyfoam with improved cooling and responsiveness. It has an Indention Force Deflection (IFD) of 13, making it as plush as memory foam.
The second layer is memory foam, which provides deep body contouring and relieves pressure on your sensitive shoulder.
The third layer is another polyfoam layer with an IFD rating of 32, meaning it's much firmer. It counter balances the softer comfort layers, ensuring you get adequate lumbar support and proper spinal alignment.
The mattress cover is made from polyester and Lycra, which gives it a soft and stretchy feel.
Leesa Original is a medium comfort mattress, similar to Puffy Royal. The softness comes from the top two layers, which hug your shoulders to relieve pain.
The firm core ensures the mattress isn't too soft that it compromises support.
Being 10″ thick, the Leesa Original mattress is not ideal for heavier sleepers weighing over 230lbs. Not only will you sink too much into the mattress, but the firm bottom layer may also exert pressure on your shoulder and worsen the pain.
We recommend a hybrid or latex mattress.
In terms of cooling, the Leesa Original mattress does a slightly better job than Puffy Royal. Having the memory foam layer in the middle rather than at the top reduces heat retention, making for a cooler mattress.
But we still recommend that extra-hot sleepers get a hybrid or latex mattress.
Shipping: Free shipping to all 50 states.White glove delivery available at $150.
In-home trial: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years, non-prorated
Looking for a 5-star hotel sleeping experience right in your home? Get the Saatva Classic mattress.
The Saatva Classic mattress borrows the best features of $3,000+ luxury mattresses sold in stores then charges you less than half that amount for a similarly luxurious mattress.
We think the Saatva Classic mattress, specifically the Plush Soft option, is the best choice for side-sleeping shoulder pain sufferers looking for a luxury mattress.
The Saatva Classic mattress uses a unique coil-on-coil construction design, with two coil layers instead of the usual one. You might think that having so many coils would make the mattress uncomfortably firm.
Quite the opposite. By varying the firmness and density of different layers, Saatva has created four comfort options ranging from Plush Soft to Firm.
The Saatva Classic mattress starts with a pillow top, which is one of the main reasons we think it's a great choice for shoulder pain.
The plush pillow top provides instant pressure relief, dulling your should pain as soon as you hit the bed.
Beneath the pillow top is a thin 1″ layer consisting of both polyfoam and memory foam. These two-layer provide additional pressure relief.
The Plush Soft Saatva has an extra 2.5″ soft polyfoam layer for an even deeper hug and better pressure relief.
Next comes the first coil layer consisting of pocket coils. They provide general body contouring and transitional support. They also reduce motion transfer for couples.
The other coil layer is right below the pocket coil core. This one is made with Bonnell springs. They are thicker and harder than the pocket coils.
The steel base coils provide robust support for all types of sleepers, including overweight and obese sleepers.
In addition to these layers, the Saatva Classic mattress also has a dedicated edge support system consisting of foam encasement and what they call active wire lumbar zone technology that improves support around your midsection.
The Saatva Classic mattress is available in two height options: 11.5″ and 14.5″. Both cost the same for a specific mattress size.
The Saatva Classic mattress is all about options. In addition to choosing your preferred mattress thickness, you can also choose from three comfort options.
There's Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm.
For lightweight and average weight side sleepers, we recommend Plush Soft. It has the best pressure relief.
For heavier sleepers, we recommend the Luxury Firm Saatva mattress. It still has great pressure relief but with added support.
Having two coil layers, Saatva is unsurprisingly bouncy. It also sleeps very coolly, making it a great choice for hot sleepers and those with night sweats.
Shipping: $99 shipping fee for most locations in the United States. Free white glove delivery and optional old mattress removal provided.
In-home Trial: 120 nights
Warranty: 15 years (choose between non-prorated and prorated coverage)
Shoulder pain is bad enough for sleep quality without adding a hot, uncomfortable bed on top.
While a cool mattress may not directly help with shoulder pain, it will help you sleep better.
The Brooklyn Aurora mattress is our top recommendation for anyone who sleeps hot, including naturally hot sleepers, those with night sweats, and those living in warm climates.
The Aurora mattress uses copper-infused foam, gel-infused foam, and pocket coils to keep you at a comfortable temperature.
The Brooklyn Aurora is one of the thicker mattresses out there. It is 13.5″ thick. That, combined with its hybrid design, makes it a good choice for large-bodied side sleepers with shoulder pain.
The Aurora mattress starts with copper-infused polyfoam at the top, what the manufacturer calls CopperFlex.
Copper is naturally antibacterial, which makes for a more hygienic sleeping environment. It also helps with cooling by drawing heat away from your body.
The foam itself is soft, which allows it to hug your shoulder and other pressure points closely.
The second layer is also polyfoam, but this one is more responsive –Brooklyn Bedding calls it TitanFlex. It adds a nice bounce to the mattress, which makes it easier to change sleeping positions.
The third layer is the gel memory foam. It provides deep contouring, especially for heavier sleepers. Gel-infused into the foam absorbs the excess heat, helping keep the mattress cool.
Next is the base of the mattress consisting of an 8″ layer of pocket coils that provides deep compression support and body contouring and a 1″ polyfoam layer for overall stability and support.
The Brooklyn Aurora mattress is available in three firmness levels: soft, medium, and firm.
For lightweight and average weight side sleepers with shoulder pain, we recommend the Soft Aurora mattress. It contours easily to your body, helping relieve pain on your shoulder.
For heavier sleepers, we recommend the Medium aurora. It'll still feel soft enough to cushion your aching shoulder, but with firmer support compared to the Soft option.
Overall, the Brooklyn Aurora mattress has the same luxurious feel you get from premium hybrid mattresses.
It' plush (the soft and medium comfort options) yet supportive and pleasantly springy.
Edge support is great, so couples should have no problem sleeping near the edge. Couples will also appreciate the motion-absorbing qualities of the pocket coils. Your partner will no longer wake you up every time they turn or get up from the bed.
As for cooling, the multiple cooling methods the Brooklyn Aurora uses work incredibly well. Pair the mattress with some cooling sheets and a breathable duvet for the best cooling performance.
Shipping: Free shipping to all 48 states in the contiguous US.$125 per mattress for deliveries to Alaska and Hawaii and $250 per mattress for deliveries to Canada.
In-home trial: 120 nights
Warranty: 10 years, non-prorated
One of the most important mattress qualities for side sleepers with shoulder pain is pressure relief. It determines whether you sleep comfortably with minimal pain or stay awake all night trying to find a comfortable position that eases the pain.
While all the mattresses we have picked have great pressure relief (otherwise, we wouldn't recommend them), Casper Wave Hybrid does an even better job relieving pressure, and pain, from your shoulder and other pressure points.
Casper Wave is the most luxurious mattress in Casper's lineup. It is, as expected, the most expensive as well.
The Casper Wave is a hybrid mattress that's 13″ thick and has five layers.
The first four layers are made with foam.
They include soft Airscape foam at the top for instant pressure relief. The top layer is coated with cooling gel to reduce heating.
A second Airscape foam layer has small holes to improve ventilation and cooling.
The third layer is made with zoned memory foam. Three zones of variable firmness allow the mattress to contour better to your body, which improves pressure relief and support.
The fourth layer is also zoned. It also contains gel pods, a first in any mattress. The pods are located at the midsection of the mattress. They are there to provide enhanced back support and spinal alignment.
Below the four layers is a spring base that provides further cooling, bounciness and deep compression support. Around the base is a foam border that improves edge support.
The Casper Wave hybrid mattress have a medium-soft comfort feel.
It provides a deeper hug and thus better pressure relief than most mattresses. This is especially helpful for those with severe shoulder pain or anyone with both shoulder and hip pain.
Despite its extra-plush feel, the Casper Wave still feels supportive. The firm base keeps you from sinking too far.
The zoned polyfoam layer also helps a great deal with lumbar support.
Shipping: Free shipping to all 48 states in the contiguous US. Extra shipping costs apply for Alaska and Hawaii orders. Free white glove delivery with each mattress.
In-home trial: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years, non-prorated.
Memory foam mattresses or hybrid mattresses with a memory foam comfort section are the best for side sleepers with shoulder pain.
But if you don't like the feel of memory foam or you'd prefer an organic mattress, latex is the best alternative.
Just make sure you get a sufficiently soft latex mattress that will accommodate your sensitive shoulder.
One of the best latex mattresses online is the PlushBeds Botanical Bliss, an organic mattress available in medium and medium-firm comfort options. We recommend the medium option.
Just because latex is not plush as memory foam doesn't mean you can't find a pressure-relieving latex mattress. It's all about the design of individual layers.
The Botanical Bliss has three layers of organic latex. Each layer is calibrated to a specific firmness. The top layer is the softest for instant pressure relief, while the bottom layer is the firmest for compression support.
On top of the three layers is an organic cotton cover (great for breathability and moisture-wicking) and organic New Zealand wool batting (great for temperature control).
Similar to Saatva, PlushBeds offers multiple height options: 9″, 10″ and 12″. But unlike Saatva, you pay more for a thicker mattress.
For most people, the 9″ or 10″ mattress is ideal. For heavy sleepers (over 230lbs), we recommend the 4-layer 12-inch Botanical Bliss. It has better compression support.
The PlushBeds Botanical Bliss is available in two firmness levels: medium and medium firm. Get the medium comfort mattress. It is the softer of the two and provides the best pressure relief.
However, for those with severe shoulder pain, get a memory foam mattress instead or a hybrid mattress with memory foam on top. Even the medium Botanic Bliss may be a tad too firm for your shoulder.
Sleepers who will appreciate the Botanical Bliss most are heavy sleepers (latex provides better compression support than memory foam), and hot sleepers (Latex mattresses have very good cooling performance).
The organic cotton cover and wool batting also help a lot with cooling. Wool is especially good at temperature control: it absorbs heat when you get hot and releases it when it's cold. This ensures you are comfortable all year round.
Shipping: Free shipping to all 48 states in the contiguous US.White glove delivery available for $99.
In-home trial: 100 nights
Warranty: 25-year prorated warranty
Here's what to consider when shopping for a mattress for shoulder pain.
Good pressure relief is what's going to help with the shoulder pain. Softer mattresses provide the best pressure relief since they hug your body more closely and allow your pressure points, like your shoulders, to sink into the mattress.
Remember, however, that the actual firmness of a mattress is relative. What you may experience as soft, another may experience as a firm depending on body weight.
Mattresses rated as generally soft to medium (3-5/10) are ideal for shoulder pain sufferers with lower than average or average body weight.
Mattresses rated as medium to medium-firm (5-6.5/10) are ideal for heavier sleepers. They provide good pressure relief without compromising support.
Regardless of the mattress you get – memory foam, hybrid, or latex –it should have a soft body-conforming top layer.
This ensures quick pressure relief when you lie on the mattress as the top layer contours around your pressure points.
Memory foam is excellent at body-conforming. That's why it's used in the top layer of many mattresses.
But a poly foam or latex top layer can also be pressure-relieving if it is soft enough.
In addition to a soft-top layer, pressure-reliving mattresses also use soft foams in the second layer. This ensures that even as you settle into the mattress, you'll still enjoy pressure relief.
A too-firm second layer would press on your shoulder, worsening the pain.
Mattresses designed for heavy sleepers may also include a third soft-foam layer to provide deep body contouring.
A zoned support layer is not essential, but it can make a big difference in how comfortable a mattress.
A zoned layer is not like a standard mattress foam layer. Instead of a uniform surface, a zoned layer has different sections of varying firmness.
Typically, the top section of the mattress (under your head and shoulders) is soft, the mid-section (under your lower back and hips) is slightly firmer, and the lower section is firmer than the other two.
The zoned layer provides targeted pressure relief and support to specific areas of your body. Different zones match to your body shape, providing customized comfort.
That's why some mattress companies refer to the zoned support layer as shape matching technology (SMT).
If you are getting a luxury mattress, look for one with a pillow top. A fiber-filled pillow top provides an extra-plush sleeping surface, which provides instant pressure relief.
If you are not financially ready to buy a new mattress, consider getting a soft topper. It will soften a too-firm mattress, helping relieve some of the shoulder pain.
But note that a mattress topper is only a temporary solution. As long as the mattress is uncomfortably firm, there's only so much a topper can do.
Shoulder pain can be caused by injury (directly in the shoulder or another part of the body like your neck), inflammation, or an underlying illness.
Here are some of the most common conditions associated with shoulder pain.
There are many other conditions linked to shoulder pain. Consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and advice on treatment.
Some forms of shoulder pain just need to be waited out, while others may require physical therapy and medication.
A memory foam mattress is the best type of mattress for most shoulder pain sufferers. Memory foam readily contours around your shoulder, cushioning it from pressure.
A hybrid mattress with a memory foam comfort layer is also a good choice, especially for heavier sleepers who need more support.
For shoulder pain sufferers who sleep hot, we recommend a hybrid mattress or a latex mattress with a body-conforming top layer.
The right firmness for shoulder pain depends on your body weight. Generally, a medium-soft to medium mattress is ideal for most shoulder pain sufferers.
Lighter and average weight shoulder pain sufferers will find a medium-soft (4-5/10) mattress to be the most comfortable. Heavier sleepers will sleep better on a medium comfort (5-6/10) mattress.
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