Severe Shoulder Pain After Sleeping? 5 Ways to Tell if Your Mattress is the Culprit!

Waking up to severe shoulder pain after sleeping can be a terrible experience. Identifying the cause of your pain is the first step to remedying it. The problem is that we use our shoulders more often than we think.

Shoulder pain can be caused by several factors. From carrying heavy loads all day to repetitive movements such as painting or rowing. It could even be caused by something as simple as your sleeping position.

Can sleeping wrong cause shoulder pain?

One common cause of shoulder pain is your sleeping position. This is often the case with side sleepers. As all the pressure from your torso is transferred onto your shoulders, especially if you sleep with your arm resting underneath your pillow. This position can result in shoulder pain from sleeping. 

While sleeping on your side can cause shoulder pain, there are other possible causes. It’s important to narrow down the possible causes before jumping to conclusions.

What causes severe shoulder pain at night?

Severe shoulder pain after sleep could be caused by several factors. Try and work out what could be causing it by narrowing the possibilities. Start from the most extreme possibility and work your way down.

  1. Are you suffering from a shoulder injury?
  2. Is your sleeping posture aligned?
  3. Are you a side sleeper?
  4. Is your mattress too firm?
  5. Does your mattress suit your sleeping position?

Are you suffering from a shoulder injury?

If you are suffering from a shoulder injury, then the chances are that this is causing your pain and that you would experience shoulder pain from sleeping on your side. You should follow your doctor’s instructions to help speed up your recovery, especially if your shoulder hurts when sleeping. The following tips might still help, but nothing can replace professional advice. 

Is your sleeping posture aligned?

Whether you have a pre-existing injury or not, having the proper posture while sleeping is extremely important. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t want to spend 8 hours sitting uncomfortably at your desk. So the 8 hours you spend sleeping should also be done with the proper posture. Whether you’re a side sleeper or back-sleeper, make sure that you’re sleeping comfortably and with adequate support.

Are you a side sleeper?

Side sleeping feels natural for most of us. However, if you want to avoid severe shoulder pain after sleeping, make sure that your shoulders and hips are getting the support and pressure relief that they need. While sleeping on your side, your whole body weight rests on your shoulders and hips. This can cause undue stress on those regions and lead to pain. Placing a pillow between your knees can help to alleviate some of the stress on your hips.

Is your mattress too firm?

Ideally, your mattress should absorb most of your body weight. However, if your mattress is too firm then all of that force shoots through your body. As a side sleeper, this means the weight falls on your shoulders and hips. If you are a back sleeper this weight is spread across your back. Try and find a mattress that absorbs your body weight, relieving the strain from your body.

Does your mattress suit your sleeping position?

Your mattress should match your sleeping position - not the other way around. If you’re a side sleeper, find a mattress that provides your hips and shoulders with the right support and pressure relief. If you are a back sleeper find a mattress that relieves your back. You spend your entire night sleeping on your mattress - it must provide you with the support that you need.

How can I fix my shoulder pain from sleeping?

If you wake up to severe shoulder pain after sleeping, there are some solutions. Whether you’re suffering from a shoulder injury or not, these tips can be helpful to relieve your shoulder pain.

Sleep on your other side

If you consistently sleep on one side your corresponding shoulder can collapse into the mattress – side sleeper shoulder pain is common in this case. This results in misalignment and pain the next morning. This is especially the case if you sleep on a memory foam mattress. As the memory foam will eventually sag and put undue strain on your shoulder. Sleeping on your other side can provide your injured side with some much-needed respite. 

Change your sleeping position  

Unless you wake up in pain, then there usually isn’t any need to change your sleeping position. If you wake up in pain, however, then changing your sleeping position can help to relieve your body. Try and sleep on your back if you are a side sleeper or vice versa. While this may feel a bit strange at first, you might find that you prefer your new sleeping position. You won’t know unless you try! 

Stay Active  

Staying active is crucial for everyone. Staying active helps to keep your mind and your body in tip-top shape. Do something that you enjoy to stay active - don’t think of it as a chore. Go running with a friend, find a sport that you can enjoy with a group of friends or do some yoga if you don’t feel like socializing. Whatever you do, learn to love working up a sweat!

Avoid sleeping on your arm  

Sleeping on your arm can cause pain and numbness in the arm and shoulder. It can also end up misaligning your head and neck from your spine. In mild cases, you might wake up to a numb arm. In severe cases, this can cause injury. Avoid sleeping on your arm by changing positions or by sleeping with your arms by your side. Avoid sleeping with your arms overhead, as this can pinch your lower shoulder and cause severe shoulder pain from sleeping.

Find a supportive mattress that suits your sleeping position  

If all else fails, then perhaps it's time to consider investing in a new mattress. If your mattress is particularly old then it might be contributing to your shoulder pain. If your mattress is too soft or too firm, this can lead to uncomfortable sleep. Find a supportive mattress that suits your preferred sleeping position. 

What is the best mattress for shoulder pain?

The best mattress for shoulder pain is one that provides adequate cushioning for your shoulders. Your shoulders and hips need a soft mattress to sink into but they also require support. This helps to avoid undue strain on those areas.

The best mattress for shoulder pain is an AirFoam™ mattress. These are specially designed to provide pressure relief on the hips, back, and shoulders. Up to 4x in fact! The high-resilience foam is proven to be much more durable than memory foam - providing you with a long-lasting mattress that delivers relief every night! 

Nolah AirFoam™ Mattresses are designed to provide the necessary support for side and back sleepers. 

The best part is that if you find out that a Nolah mattress doesn’t work out for you, you have a free return for a full refund! Avoid severe shoulder pain after sleeping - and fall in love with falling asleep!

Try one out for yourself, in the comfort of your own home, thanks to our 120-night trial!