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The 11 Best Mattresses To Ease Your Shoulder Pain

Author:

Jamey Powell

Medical reviewer:

Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS

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September 23, 2022

Contributing writer

By Jamey Powell

Contributing writer

Jamey Powell is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, NY. Previously the senior market editor at Healthline.com, she has years of experience scouring endless product reviews and testing out the latest and greatest products in the sleep, fitness, and nutrition markets.

Medical review by

Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS

Board-certified Family Physician

Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS is a family physician and HIV specialist in California. He takes a holistic approach to healthcare, incorporating principles of functional medicine and using food as medicine when working with patients.

Image by mbg creative

September 23, 2022

Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

While shoulder pain is often the result of overuse or an injury, if you’re waking up each morning in discomfort it might be time to reevaluate your sleep setup. Whether you’re looking for a mattress that can help relieve achy shoulders or nip upper back pain in the bud, we’ve got you covered with these expert-approved recommendations of the best mattresses on the market today.

Can a mattress cause shoulder pain?

A few small studies from 2010 suggest that shoulder pain could be the result of sleeping for prolonged periods on a too-firm surface, especially if you’re a side sleeper.

But before blaming your shoulder pain all on your mattress, it’s worth examining a few potential culprits. Chiropractor Cameron Yuen, DPT, CSCS, director of rehab and training at Bespoke Treatments Physical Therapy in New York City, suggests taking stock of your daily activities. “Shoulder pain while sleeping is often caused by an underlying dysfunction of the joint or soft tissues of the shoulder (or more commonly the neck, especially when the pain is behind the shoulder).”

Yuen also stresses the importance of a supportive pillow. “A good first step is to ensure that the pillow can support your neck’s natural curves while supporting your head,” he adds.

Still, he agrees that if you’re waking up each morning with shoulder pain there’s a good chance your mattress is part of the problem. “You will want to reduce the compression at the shoulder–that could certainly mean switching to a softer mattress. The goal is to distribute the stresses throughout the body a bit more, so pressure that was entirely on your shoulder is now spread onto the side of your body.”

What type of bed is good for shoulder pain?

Yuen says that a too-firm mattress can cause shoulder pain in some people, but it’s important to note that firmness feels different for everyone. Most mattress brands provide a 1 to 10 firmness scale for reference, but your preferred sleep style and body weight will play a large role in what feels most comfortable to you.

Medium-firm mattresses are typically recommended for relieving aches and pains, and tend to offer the right balance of support and cushion for various sleep styles. If you’re committed to seeking something a little softer, don’t fret–we have plenty of soft mattress recommendations, too!

How we picked:

Supportive softness

With shoulder pain in mind, most of the beds on our list are medium to medium-firm, and a few even offer firmness customization.

Mattresses are a big investment, so we selected beds at a variety of price points to meet your budget.

Quality

All of these beds are made in the USA and use nontoxic, CertiPUR-US certified materials. Our favorites go above and beyond those standards, meaning organic materials, US factories, and even higher sustainability requirements.

Reviews

We read hundreds of reviews (both positive and negative) to learn what real folks with shoulder pain had to say about these mattresses.

Our picks of the best mattresses for shoulder pain

Top-rated: Nolah Evolution 15″

Nolah Evolution 15″

VIEW ON Nolah | Starting at $1,600

Pros

Targeted support for spinal alignmentThree firmness options

Cons

Not the most sustainable optionExpensive

Mattress type: Hybrid

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King

Trial period: 120 nights

Warranty: Lifetime

How it’s made & how it arrives:

The Evolution 15″ is a solid hybrid mattress with a luxury feel. It comes in three firmness options, all of which include a plush Euro top for added comfort–perfect for anyone trying to relieve shoulder pain. The “Luxury Firm” model, ranked at a 6 to 7 on a firmness scale of 10, is the brand’s best seller.

The mattress uses targeted support in the coils to keep your hips and shoulders in alignment while you’re sleeping. Hot sleepers might also appreciate the added layer of graphite-infused foam, which is intended to promote cooler sleep.

Nolah ships mattresses compressed and rolled in a box, so you’ll just need to take it out and let it expand. The company doesn’t give a set timeframe to let the bed expand, so you’re able to sleep on it right away.

What customers say:

It’s hard to find a negative review on Nolah’s website and the Evolution 15″ has a 4.9 out of 5 overall rating (after hundreds of reviews). Many reviewers say they have found relief from aches and pains after using this mattress. One in particular raves, “I not only sleep through the entire night, but I wake up earlier, refreshed, and without the hip, back, and shoulder pain I’m used to. I can’t say enough good things about this mattress.”

Best affordable: SleepOnLatex PureGreen Mattress

SleepOnLatex PureGreen Mattress

VIEW ON SleepOnLatex | From $700

Pros

Less expensiveUses natural & organic materials

Cons

Thinner mattressShorter trial periodMay lose shape

Mattress type: Latex foam

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Trial period: 100 nights

Warranty: 10 years

How it’s made & how it arrives:

Made with natural, GOTS- and GOLS-certified latex, wool, and cotton, the SleepOnLatex PureGreen mattress uses a simple design and quality materials. It’s an 8-inch mattress (the thinnest on this list) with a layer of supportive and bouncy latex foam as the base. You can choose between two models: “medium” (recommended for side sleepers and couples) or “firm” (best for back and stomach sleepers).

This mattress ships same-day from the brand’s Chicago warehouse and is even available on Amazon–just be wary that the warranty and return policy might vary depending on where you buy it. We also appreciate that, unlike most compressed and rolled beds, SleepOnLatex uses recyclable paper to wrap its mattresses instead of plastic.

What customers say:

Customers rave about this mattress, especially about its price. A handful of reviewers say they felt less aches and pains after switching to the medium PureGreen mattress. One or two people complain about the mattress losing shape over time, but say that customer service was quick to honor the warranty. A few others complain that the heavy latex makes it difficult to move, but that also means the mattress is less likely to slide around.

Best for side sleepers: Casper Wave Hybrid

Casper Wave Hybrid

VIEW ON Casper | From $1,780

Pros

Targeted support for spinal alignmentCooling gel foam

Cons

May not be supportive enough for larger bodiesPricey option

Mattress type: Hybrid

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Trial period: 100 nights

Warranty: 10 years

How it’s made & how it arrives:

The Casper Wave Hybrid uses a mixture of breathable foam, gel pods, springs, and bouncy natural latex for a plush-yet-supportive feel. We picked this mattress specifically for side sleepers because of the bed’s gel pods, which add additional targeted support to cradle the hips and shoulders while supporting your lower back and keeping your spine aligned. Casper uses recycled water bottles to create the polyester cover, with up to 121 recycled bottles used in each cover.

The Wave Hybrid will arrive compressed and rolled up in a box, and Casper recommends letting the mattress sit for 24 hours to fully expand before sleeping on it.

What customers say:

As expected, side sleepers in particular love this mattress. One reviewer writes, “I sleep on my stomach and sides and I would always wake up with back and shoulder pain. Since I got this mattress I’ve been waking up with no pain. This mattress has a nice bounce to it, yet it also has a nice plush feel too.” There are a few critical reviews that say it’s not supportive enough for people with larger bodies.

Best hybrid: Awara Premier Natural Hybrid Mattress

Awara Premier Natural Hybrid Mattress

VIEW ON Awara | From $1,670

Pros

Sustainably-sourced & organic materialsBreathable materials for cooler sleep

Cons

Only one firmness optionCover is not machine washable

Mattress type: Hybrid

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Trial period: 365 nights

Warranty: Lifetime

How it’s made & how it arrives:

Hybrid mattresses are popular for their ability to combine the best of innerspring and memory foam mattresses into a single design–and this Aware pick is no exception. The medium-firm design combines pressure-relieving Dunlop latex with individually-wrapped coils for targeted support to your shoulders and hips.

Not only do the coils minimize motion transfer, they also ensure there’s plenty of airflow to keep you cool despite the layer of pressure-relieving latex (which already runs cooler than memory foam). There’s also a moisture-wicking wool exterior for added effect.

The more luxurious of the brand’s two models, it clocks in at a 6.5 out of 10 on Awara’s firmness scale. Shipped and compressed in a box, the Premier has four handles for easier setup and positioning.

We love that Awara has a ton of certifications, such as the Rainforest Alliance, Greenguard Gold, and the Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX. Plus, the use of more eco-friendly materials means there shouldn’t be any off-gassing smells while it expands.

What customers say:

Awara has overwhelmingly positive reviews. “No more back, shoulder or hip pain. No more tossing and turning all night long,” one shopper raves. Others compliment its cooling properties, natural materials, and the fact that it gave off no odor during unboxing.

On the other hand, some folks do say this mattress is either too firm or too soft for their liking-and there’s only one firmness option. Luckily, if you’re up for trying an Awara out yourself, you’ll have a whole year to decide if it’s a fit for you.

Best memory foam: Brentwood Home Cypress Memory Foam Mattress

Brentwood Home Cypress Memory Foam Mattress

VIEW ON Brentwood Home | From $580

Pros

Uses non-toxic, plant-based memory foamOption for hybrid or taller models

Cons

Longer ship timeLess edge support

Mattress type: Hybrid

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Trial period: 365 nights

Warranty: 25 years

How it’s made & how it arrives:

Memory foam is a great pick for side sleepers because of the way it cradles your shoulders and hips, contouring around your pressure points for better spinal alignment. While some memory foam mattresses can lack structure, the Cypress Memory Foam Mattress is on the firmer side, rated at a 6 out of 10. It’s available in both an 11- and 13-inch height and you can also choose to make this bed a hybrid, which adds a layer of pocketed coils for additional support, stronger movement absorption, and more even weight distribution.

When it comes to sustainability, Brentwood Home has more certifications for use of non-toxic materials than most all-foam mattresses, including the OKEO-TEX Standard 100 and GREENGUARD Gold. This mattress even uses plant-based memory foam, which is a win for the environment (and helps reduce the potential for off-gassing smells).

What customers say:

The Cypress Memory Foam Mattress has over 1,000 reviews and is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars. One reviewer with shoulder pain says, “This mattress is comfortable in every position. I am a side and stomach sleeper and used to wake up with dead-arm and sore shoulder/neck/back. Now I wake up feeling well rested without pain.” However, several side-sleepers say they wish this mattress was softer.

Best innerspring: Saatva Classic Mattress

Saatva Classic Mattress

VIEW ON Saatva | From $912

Pros

Multiple firmness optionsNatural & organic materials

Cons

Some find it too firm

Mattress type: Innerspring

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King, Split California King

Trial period: 365 nights

Warranty: Lifetime

How it’s made & how it arrives:

Forget what you know about innerspring mattresses: the Saatva Classic combines supportive steel coils and a plush layer of non-toxic memory foam for a real luxury feel that never feels too stiff.

Customize your bed by choosing an 11.5- or 14.5-inch height, and option for one of three firmness options. The Luxury Firm is the brand’s best-seller, although some side sleepers and smaller-bodied folks say they prefer the Plush Soft firmness level.

Regardless of which firmness you pick, every Saatva Classic mattress has a cushy 3-inch Euro top, an organic cotton cover, and a high-density memory foam layer for enhanced back support and pressure point relief. The pocketed coils help the mattress mold to your body, making this a nice pick for anyone looking to eliminate shoulder pain.

Saatva provides a white glove delivery service, meaning someone will bring it into your home for you and help set it up-so you don’t need to wait for it to expand to sleep on it.

What customers say:

With 4.8 out of 5 stars and over 2,800 reviews, this mattress is a fan-favorite, particularly for those with shoulder pain. One customer writes, “We used to wake up with sore shoulders, numb hands, and aching hips. Our Saatva solved all those issues overnight.”

A word of warning: almost every negative review (and there aren’t many) mentions the mattress being too firm-so if you know you prefer a softer mattress, consider opting for the Plush Soft model.

Best for back sleepers: The WinkBed

The WinkBed

VIEW ON WinkBeds | From $1,150

Pros

Luxury hotel-bed feelFour firmness options

Cons

Longer delivery time

Mattress type: Hybrid

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Trial period: 120 nights

Warranty: Lifetime

How it’s made & how it arrives:

The WinkBed is a luxury hybrid mattress with a hotel-bed feel. It’s made from recycled, individually wrapped recycled-steel coils, gel-infused foam, and a plush Euro top. The original WinkBed comes in four different firmness options: Softer, Luxury Firm, Firmer, and Plus, which is intended for people who are 250+ pounds. The Luxury Firm is the brand’s best-seller–WinkBeds rates it at a 6.5 out of 10 on a firmness scale–and a great choice for anyone looking to relieve pressure on their shoulders without compromising support.

The mattresses Tencil cover is OEKO-TEX(R) Standard 100, Class 1 certified, and the foams are CertiPur certified. The mattress arrives compressed and rolled in a box, and you can sleep on it as soon as it expands to its full height.

What customers say:

This mattress has 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 8,000 reviews. People love the WinkBed (including me, the author, who sleeps on the Luxury Firm version of this bed every night!). It’s a great choice for all sleep types, but especially back sleepers who need extra support. One customer who purchased the Softer model even raves, “Not only is it extremely comfortable, but very supportive for our backs and shoulders.”

As with all mattresses, some reviewers complain that their WinkBed is either too soft, or too firm. If you end up not loving your bed, you can exchange for a different firmness option (or return it altogether) within the first 120 nights.

Best medium-firm mattress for shoulder pain: DreamCloud Premier Rest

DreamCloud Premier Rest

VIEW ON DreamCloud | From $1,300

Pros

Luxury hybrid designAffordable price point

Cons

Not sustainably-sourced

Mattress type: Hybrid

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Trial period: 365 nights

Warranty: Lifetime

How it’s made & how it arrives:

DreamCloud makes one mattress–a hybrid mix of innerspring coils and foam–and riffs on it with two enhanced models. The most luxurious and supportive version is the Premier Rest, which includes an additional foam support layer and a cushy pillow top. Like the standard model of the DreamCloud, the Premier Rest mattress is ranked at a medium-firm and has a true hotel-bed feel (similar to the WinkBed, above).

The mattress is compressed and wrapped in a box for shipping, and the brand recommends letting it expand for 24 hours before sleeping on it-so be prepared to move rooms for the night.

While these mattresses are made in the U.S, there is no mention of sustainability.

What customers say:

With just under 8,000 reviews and 4.8 out of 5 stars, this mattress gets excellent reviews. One person writes, “It is supportive and extremely comfortable. It’s not squishy at all, but I don’t wake up with shoulder and hip pain anymore!” Another says, “I’m a side sleeper and used to waking up a couple times a night with shoulder pain. Sleeping on this mattress, it has nearly disappeared.”

A few folks say it didn’t live up to their firmness expectations, but DreamCloud has a 365-night sleep trial-so you have a year to sleep on it before deciding if it’s right for you.

Best soft mattress for shoulder pain: Leesa Legend Hybrid

Leesa Legend Hybrid

VIEW ON Leesa | Starting at $2,000

Pros

Made with Eco-friendly materialsZoned support for side sleepers

Cons

Might be too soft for back sleepersExpensive

Mattress type: Hybrid

Sizes Available: Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Trial period: 100 nights

Warranty: 10 years

How it’s made & how it arrives:

Leesa’s Legend Hybrid mattress focuses on sustainability by incorporating materials like recycled water bottles, organic cotton, and organic Merino wool. The design utilizes two layers of recycled coils and multiple layers of certified foam. It’s one of the softest options on our list–Leesa rates at a 4-6 out of 10 on a firmness scale, which makes it a better fit for side sleepers seeking cushion under their hips and shoulders.

It ships compressed and rolled in a box. It might take a few hours to decompress and reach its full height, and may let off a slight off-gassing scent while it expands (reviewers say the smell goes away quickly).

What customers say:

The Legend is one of Leesa’s newer models, so there aren’t a ton of reviews yet (around 230). The comments we did read are mostly positive, and several people praise the zoned support that offers extra cushion under the shoulders, and one reviewer says, “I have some shoulder issues, she has some back issues, but after a month on our Leesa Legend Mattress I can report that both of those situations have dramatically improved.”

Best flippable: Layla Memory Foam Mattress

Layla Memory Foam Mattress

VIEW ON Layla | From $750

Pros

Includes a soft and firm sideLess expensive option

Cons

Some reviewers want more edge supportSlight off-gassing smell at first

Mattress type: Memory foam

Sizes Available: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Trial period: 120 nights

Warranty: Lifetime

How it’s made & how it arrives:

The flippable Layla Memory Foam Mattress offers both a soft side (rated at a 4 out of 10) and a firm side (rated at a 7 out of 10). The soft side of the Layla has a cradling, memory-foam feel. The Layla is made with a CertiPUR-US certified copper gel foam, and it’s made with an antimicrobial material to stop odors, special foam for minimizing motion transfer, and temperature-regulating properties to stay cool.

The firm side is considerably more firm, but still offers a nice amount of cushion for side sleepers. The biggest bonuses of a flippable mattress are that it will last longer and that you can (of course) flip it between sides to find the right fit for you. If this mattress ends up not working out within the 120-night sleep trial, Layla will refund you and donate your mattress to a local charity.

Like most memory foam mattresses, this mattress also arrives compressed and rolled up in a box. A few reviewers comment that there’s an off-gassing smell for a day or two (which is common for memory foam beds) but say that it goes away.

What customers say:

In general, reviewers love this mattress. Among the 7,000-plus reviews, one reviewer says, “This bed is amazing. We were on the mattress hunt for so long because we both have back and shoulder injuries and this one knocked it out of the ballpark, finally!” Another says, “It arrived quickly, it is insanely comfortable, and I don’t have neck and shoulder pain anymore.” A few people complain about the lack of edge-support and a few others say it didn’t live up to the brand’s cooling claims.

Best for pressure relief: Purple Hybrid Premier 3

Purple Hybrid Premier 3

VIEW ON Purple | From $2,500

Pros

100% non-toxic materialsPressure-relieving grid materialIncreased airflow for cooler sleep

Cons

ExpensiveGrid feel isn’t for everyone

Mattress type: Hybrid

Sizes Available: Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King

Trial period: 100 nights

Warranty: 10 years

How it’s made & how it arrives:

Both fans and haters of Purple will agree–this brand’s proprietary grid-shaped gel foam (which is CleanAir GOLD and CertiPUR-US certified) makes a Purple mattress feel unlike any you’ve ever slept on. The Hybrid Premier 3 model incorporates the signature pressure-relieving grid material, but combines it with a supportive base of individually wrapped coils.

The result is a springy and cushioned hybrid that’s designed for those with joint pain in mind–but it’s also a great pick for hot sleepers. The combo of springs and an open grid allows for maximum airflow without reducing support.

The Purple Hybrid 3 is compressed and rolled in a box for delivery-and it’s a really hefty mattress (a queen weighs 145 pounds), so you’ll likely want a hand getting it set up. You can sleep on it right away, but the reviews are mixed when it comes to any off-gassing smells.

What customers say:

Because the grid material is so different, we definitely recommend trying one out in a Purple showroom near you, or at one of their retail partners. Still, the Purple Hybrid Premier is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars across almost 6,000 reviews. One reviewer says, “No more shoulder pain, and it’s incredibly comfortable and supportive in all the right places.” On the downside, this bed is expensive, and a few people warn that the stretchy grid material makes their sheets pop off occasionally.

How to choose

Consider your sleep position: Yuen suggests that sleeping on your back is the best way to avoid shoulder pain in the night, but acknowledges that not everyone can do that–and changing your mattress is often easier than changing your sleep position.

Back and stomach sleepers will need a firmer mattress to keep their body in alignment, while side and combination sleepers should aim for something medium to medium-firm to cradle the shoulders and hips.

Read the return policy: Reviews can help guide your decision, but there’s no better way to test a mattress than to sleep on it for a few weeks. We focused on beds that offer sleep trials, but the trial duration varies from brand to brand. Be sure to give yourself time to see if the mattress solves your shoulder woes, and read up on the return policy in case it doesn’t work out.

Mind your materials: Mattresses that include layers of latex foam, memory foam, or a pillow top will most likely cradle your shoulders better than a solid innerspring mattress. Just be wary of switching to something so soft that you end up compromising support.

FAQ:

What type of bed is good for shoulder pain?

A hybrid mattress that has a balance of support and cushion is likely your best bet for relieving shoulder pain. Side sleepers might consider a mattress with a pillow top for additional plushness.

What mattress firmness is best for shoulder pain?

Medium to medium firm mattresses offer the ideal balance of support and comfort–just remember that your body weight and sleeping position will determine what feels soft or firm to you.

How should I sleep to avoid shoulder pain?

According to our expert, you should sleep on your back if you can. If that’s not an option, Yuen says, “Avoid sleeping on the painful shoulder, and ensure that the head and neck are supported.”

The takeaway.

Shoulder pain can stem from activity or injury, and could require a closer look from a professional. However, if you’re sleeping on a too-firm mattress, switching to something a little cushier could help put you on your way to a night of pain-free sleep. If you do find your next great mattress, be sure to read our guide on how to recycle your old bed.

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