Sometimes sleeping can really be a pain the neck… and the shoulders! Anyone who struggles with pain and discomfort in these areas knows just how hard it is to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Finding the right mattress can go a long way toward easing this pain during the night. Out of the hundreds of mattresses we have reviewed, six really stand out among the rest and should be a great fit for sleepers who struggle with neck and shoulder pain.
Keep reading to find out about the best mattresses for neck pain and shoulder pain!
The Best Mattresses For Neck And Shoulder Pain
- Loom and Leaf – Best Memory Foam Mattress
- Layla – Best Mattress For Side Sleepers
- Helix – Best Customizable Mattress
- Saatva – Best Innerspring Mattress
- Casper – Best Mattress For Combination Sleepers
- Purple Hybrid Premier – Best Mattress For Heavy People
Okay, let’s get to it – we’re going to break down each mattress one by one and discuss how they might alleviate pains in the neck and shoulders. We’ve got all kinds of mattresses on this list, so there should be something for everyone!
Best Memory Foam Mattress For Neck Pain
Loom and Leaf
When it comes to pain relief, memory foam really is one of the best materials – it is known for easing pressure on key areas such as the shoulders and hips. There are many options out there, and the Loom and Leaf is one of the absolute best memory foam mattresses.
The Loom and Leaf is a luxury mattress from the Saatva company and features multiple layers of high-density memory foam. When we say, high-density… we mean it. Lying on the Loom and Leaf, the mattress actually feels firm at first, but, after a few moments, people will feel themselves slowing sink into the mattress.
The memory foam in the Loom and Leaf offers comfort, yes, but it also offers support – this is so important when it comes to dealing with shoulder and neck pain because we always want to make sure that our spines are staying in good neutral alignment. The Loom and Leaf will ease pain in key areas, but it will also support us where we need it, especially under the lumbar area.
The Loom and Leaf should really alleviate shoulder pain and, when paired with the right pillow, it should ease that neck pain as well!
What Makes The Loom And Leaf Mattress Stand Out?
- The Loom and Leaf’s thick memory foam should relieve pressure, especially on the shoulders.
- The Loom and Leaf is the best memory foam mattress for neck pain and shoulder pain.
- The Loom and Leaf offers a balance of comfort and support that keeps the spine in a good neutral position.
- The mattress features a gel panel that provides extra lumbar support and also keeps the top of the mattress cool.
Read the full Loom and Leaf mattress review
Loom And Leaf is a perfect choice for those looking for a luxury memory foam feel but don't want to sleep hot. Save $200 on Loom And Leaf simply by clicking the button below.
Best Mattress For Side Sleepers
Those who struggle with neck pain and shoulder pain are going to flip for the Layla mattress… literally. The Layla is a flippable memory foam mattress that features both a soft side and a firm side. Both sides boast a layer of soft, pain-relieving memory foam.
Given that it is flippable, Layla is going to be a good fit for multiple sleeping positions. Side sleepers who deal with pain issues will prefer the soft side of the Layla because it features a thicker layer of that soft memory foam. They should feel almost no pressure on their shoulders and hips. Back sleepers and stomach sleepers who don’t need as much comfort material can simply flip the mattress over and use the firm side.
One of the drawbacks of memory foam is that it traps body heat and turns the mattress into an oven during the night. This should not happen with the Layla because it features a copper infusion. This will assist with heat dissipation and make sure that the heat is gone along with the pain.
What Makes The Layla Mattress Stand Out?
- The Layla is a flippable mattress, so it offers two firmnesses in one.
- The Layla is the best mattress for side sleepers with neck and shoulder pain.
- The mattress features soft, pressure-relieving memory foam that should ease any pain on the shoulders.
- The memory foam is infused with copper, which will keep it from trapping too much heat.
Read the full Layla mattress review
Layla is an innovative mattress that happens to be one of the most comfortable mattresses I've ever slept on. You can get up to $200 off a Layla mattress plus free accessories by clicking the link below.
Best Customizable Mattress
Trying to find the right mattress for shoulder pain and neck pain can be difficult because there are so many things to consider. Firmness, sleeping position, bodyweight – these should all be taken into account. Because of this, there is no one perfect mattress for dealing with pain, and shoppers will really need to do some detective work to find the right fit.
Anyone who wants to avoid all this work might want to choose a Helix mattress. We’ve included Helix as the best customizable mattress on our list because this company takes the guesswork out of the equation and makes it simple for sleepers to choose a mattress that will help them sleep comfortably and pain-free. Helix’s website features a sleep quiz that asks questions regarding weight, sleeping position, and firmness. Answer all these questions, and Helix will recommend the perfect mattress model!
Shoppers who have a better idea of what kind of mattress will ease the pain on their shoulders and necks can also navigate through Helix’s selection of models. The company offers six hybrid mattresses that range from very soft to very firm. In addition, they all come in Luxe versions that boast a pillow top and extra cooling features. Larger people can also opt for the Helix Luxe, a mattress made specifically with larger people in mind.
Finding the best mattress for neck pain and shoulder pain shouldn’t be a headache, and Helix makes shopping and sleeping a pain-free affair.
What Makes The Helix Mattress Stand Out?
- The Helix website features a sleep quiz that helps customers narrow down their decision.
- The company offers numerous mattress models to choose from, so back sleepers, side sleepers, and stomach sleepers should find the right match.
- The Helix is the best customizable mattress for neck and shoulder pain.
- Helix’s Luxe models offer some more luxurious flourishes for shoppers with more money to spend.
Read the full Helix mattress review
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Best Innerspring Mattress
Like the Loom and Leaf, the Saatva mattress comes from, well, the Saatva company. It is a luxury innerspring mattress that features support coils, micro-coils, and a pillow top as well. Customers have a choice of three firmnesses – Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm. We personally reviewed the Luxury Firm model and found it to be a great match for back sleepers and side sleepers who deal with neck pain and shoulder pain.
As we have mentioned a few times, getting good pain relief has a lot to do with finding a balance of comfort and support. The pillow top on top of the Saatva will relieve pressure on the shoulders, but the two sets of coils will also help hold up the body. Also, the Saatva is zoned and will provide pressure relief for the shoulders and support for the lumbar area when people are back sleeping and side sleeping.
Given that the Saatva features two sets of coils, it should also be a good mattress for heavy people who struggle with neck pain and shoulder pain. The mattress should be able to support heavier weights while it eases pain as well.
What Makes The Saatva Mattress Stand Out?
- The Saatva mattress comes in three firmnesses.
- The mattress features two sets of coils and should be able to support heavier weights.
- The Saatva is the best innerspring mattress for neck and shoulder pain.
- The Saatva is a very breathable mattress and should be a good match for hot sleepers.
- The mattress should be a good fit for back sleepers and side sleepers with neck pain and shoulder pain.
Read the full Saatva mattress review
Saatva is a great value that happens to be both comfortable and supportive at the same time. You can save $200 on a Saatva mattress simply by clicking the link below.
Best Mattress For Combination Sleepers
The Casper is one of the most popular and unique mattresses on the bed in a box market. This is due to its secret weapon – a proprietary Zoned Support system in the second layer of the mattress. This is a layer of memory foam that is firmer toward the center and softer toward the head and foot of the mattress.
The whole idea behind the Zoned Support system is to give comfort and support in the right areas. Not to sound like a broken record, but this is so important for those who deal with shoulder pain and neck pain. Side sleeping, people should feel great pain relief on their shoulders while the mattress supports them under their rib cage. Back sleeping, they should feel good lumbar support while the top area of the mattress relieves pressure on the shoulders.
While the Casper is an all-foam mattress, it is also quite responsive. Those who change positions during the night should have no problem with the Casper mattress. All of this considered, it’s no surprise we put Casper as the best mattress for combination sleepers on this list!
What Makes The Casper Stand Out?
- The Casper’s Zoned Support system offers comfort and support in the right areas.
- The Casper is softer under the shoulder area and should relieve pain there.
- The mattress is a the best mattress for combination sleepers with neck and shoulder pain.
- The responsive foam on top should make it easy to move around on the Casper mattress.
Read the full Casper mattress review
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Best Mattress For Heavy People
Purple Hybrid Premier
The Purple Hybrid Premier is also unique, but for different reasons than the Casper mattress. Like the other Purple mattresses, the Purple Hybrid Premier features a gel grid right on top. This is made of something called hyper-elastic gel polymer and it doesn’t act like any other mattress materials we have seen.
Basically, the gel grid stays flat and supportive until enough pressure is applied; then, that area, and that area only, will collapse. Because of this unique construction, the Purple Hybrid Premier should be a good mattress for heavy people with neck pain and shoulder pain.
Back sleeping, the mattress should collapse under their hips and also a bit under their shoulders. Side sleeping, the mattress should relieve almost all pressure on the shoulders and hips. The Purple Hybrid Premier 4″ model has, that’s right, four inches of the gel grid, so there is little chance of bottoming out! Back sleeping and side sleeping, heavier people should feel almost weightless with no heavy pressure in any area.
What Makes The Purple Hybrid Premier Stand Out?
- The Purple Hybrid Premier features a gel grid that is both pressure-relieving and supportive.
- The Purple Hybrid Premier is the best mattress for heavy people with neck and shoulder pain.
- The gel grid and coils are extremely breathable and will keep the mattress nice and cool.
Read the full Purple Hybrid Premier mattress review
The Purple Hybrid Premier is a perfect choice if you are a side sleeper, are looking for a long-term investment, and are a hot sleeper. Get free accessories with your purchase of the Purple Hybrid Premier mattress.
What Causes Neck And Shoulder Pain?
Studies have found that approximately 70% of adults will experience neck pain at some point in their life. This pain is often characterized by muscle tightness, pain that gets worse when the head stays in a certain position for long periods of time, decreased ability to move the head, headaches, and/or muscle spasms.
Shoulder pain often manifests as stiffness, diminished range of motion, pain when raising the arm overhead, general discomfort in and around the shoulder, and so on. If your pain is caused by a chronic pain condition, you should also see our lists on the best mattresses for fibromyalgia or the best mattresses for arthritis.
Several factors can contribute to neck and/or shoulder pain. Sometimes these pains are related, and sometimes not.
Neck Pain Causes
Some of the most common causes of neck pain include:
- Muscle strain
- Muscle tension provoked by workouts or stress
- Poor posture during workouts or while sitting, standing, or lying down
- Worn joints
- Compressed nerves
- Serious health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, and cancer.
Shoulder Pain Causes
Like neck pain, shoulder pain can stem from a variety of causes. These include:
- Muscle strains
- Muscle tension
- Frozen shoulder
- Rotator cuff injury
- Shoulder bursitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the shoulder joint)
- Shoulder impingement syndrome
Everyday activities can trigger the causes that lead to neck and/or shoulder pain. These include doing housework, playing with the kids, slumping over a computer or phone all day, carrying a shoulder bag, and sleeping with poor posture. Additionally, stress can trigger and exacerbate pain in the neck and/or shoulders.
How Does Neck And Shoulder Pain Impact Sleep?
As noted in the previous section, we know that poor sleep posture can provoke neck and/or shoulder pain. Additionally, research suggests that poor-quality sleep can exacerbate pain.
But the relationship between sleep and pain isn’t just a one-way street, with poor sleep leading to pain. This relationship goes both ways.
Experts also suggest that pain can make it harder to fall and stay asleep, and it can diminish overall sleep quality. Even if a person who’s experiencing pain does manage to fall asleep, they may not feel well-rested in the morning because their sleep quality wasn’t ideal.
It’s a vicious cycle, with poor-quality sleep leading to more pain during the day and daytime pain leading to worse sleep at night.
RELATED: Best Mattress For Back Pain
Can A Bad Mattress Cause Neck And Shoulder Pain?
The short answer? Yes, a bad mattress can cause neck or shoulder pain, and it can also exacerbate these pains that a person already experiences.
For instance, a sagging or lumpy mattress can throw the cervical spine (aka the neck) out of alignment, which can lead to tension or strain. There’s also some evidence that a too-firm mattress can place a lot of pressure on the shoulder and other joints, thus contributing to aches and pains.
A mattress that’s too soft isn’t any better though. If your hips drop too far into the mattress, the sheer force of gravity can drag on the shoulder, creating pressure.
What Are The Best Sleeping Positions For Neck Or Shoulder Pain?
A person’s sleeping position can impact whether they develop neck or shoulder pain, and it can also ease or exacerbate existing pain.
Per Harvard Health, side sleeping is one of the best sleeping positions to prevent neck or shoulder pain. If you are a side sleeper with neck pain, be sure you sleep on a pillow that supports proper alignment to avoid pain. Memory foam and feather pillows are great for side sleepers because these materials conform to the neck’s shape.
However, it probably won’t come as a surprise that side sleeping can be dicey for people who are dealing with shoulder pain. Side sleeping can cause pressure to build up in the shoulder, which can exacerbate pain.
Side sleepers with shoulder pain should make sure to sleep on the non-affected side until the pain has cleared up. One small study found that 67% of participants slept on the side with the painful shoulder. That’s not going to help!
Along with side sleeping, back sleeping is also one of the best sleeping positions for people with neck and shoulder pain. Back sleepers should avoid using a pillow that’s too high or stiff because that will elevate the neck out of neutral alignment. Back sleepers with neck pain may want to try using a cervical pillow, which helps support the natural curvature of the spine.
Back sleeping also won’t place undue pressure on either shoulder. Just be sure to allow the arms to rest loosely along the body; one small study found that people who sleep on their back with their dominant hand on their forehead are more likely to experience shoulder pain.
Stomach sleeping is not recommended for people with neck pain because the neck is turned to the side and cannot maintain neutral alignment. Sleeping on your stomach also puts a lot of strain on the neck because of the way your head is inclined on a pillow.
If you are a stomach sleeper with neck pain, you may want to train yourself to sleep on your back or your side. If that isn’t an option for you, be sure you sleep on a thin pillow that is ideal for stomach sleepers so you can have better alignment.
What To Look For In A Mattress For Neck And Shoulder Pain
As noted above, a lumpy, sagging, or excessively firm or soft mattress can contribute to neck and shoulder pain. If a person’s bed falls into any of those categories (or is uncomfortable for any other reason), then it’s probably a good idea to start shopping for a new mattress.
To increase the chances of buying a mattress that doesn’t exacerbate neck and shoulder pain, consider the following guidelines.
A medium-firm mattress is the best choice for people who have neck and shoulder pain. Of course, this won’t hold true for everyone, but newer research suggests that a medium-firm bed is often ideal for folks suffering from pain. This firmness should support spinal alignment while also offering pressure relief.
That said, note that firmness is somewhat subjective. Ultimately what matters most is that the individual sleeper in question feels comfortable.
Consider Your Sleeping Position
A person’s body type and sleeping position will impact the perceived firmness of a mattress as well as the support they need. For instance:
- Lightweight sleepers who lie on their side may want a softer mattress to enjoy enough pressure relief around the shoulder
- Lightweight stomach or back sleepers will probably be happy with a medium bed that balances comfort with support. Read our best mattress for lightweight sleepers page for more information.
- Average-weight side sleepers may prefer a mattress that’s between medium and medium-firm
- Average-weight stomach and back sleepers should find the support they need on a medium-firm mattress
- Heavy-weight side sleepers (200+ pounds) will find support and a touch of pressure relief on a medium-firm to firm mattress
- Heavy-weight stomach or back sleepers will probably need a firm mattress in order to enjoy adequate spinal support
As a general rule, back and stomach sleepers need to prioritize spinal alignment, while side sleepers will want to emphasize pressure relief.
Consider These Factors When Sharing A Bed
Folks who share a bed with a partner can’t just think about what suits them best. They’ll also need to consider their partner’s needs and preferences.
Once again, a medium-firm mattress can strike a nice balance that accommodates multiple sleeping positions.
It’s also important to think about the following factors:
- Motion isolation. This term refers to a bed’s ability to minimize motion transfer across the mattress. Partners who don’t want to be disturbed by each other’s movements should look for a mattress that does a decent job of absorbing motion, such as memory foam.
- Edge support. When the edges of a mattress feel sturdy, partners can utilize the full surface of the mattress, making it feel larger. Look for a mattress that shores up its edges so people don’t have to huddle near the center of the bed.
- Noise. A squeaky or otherwise noisy mattress will make it more likely that partners disturb each other while shifting in the night. A noise-free mattress, on the other hand, can support quality sleep.
Also, make sure to read our roundup of the best mattresses for couples. It lists out a number of mattresses that isolate motion well
A mattress’s temperature won’t affect neck or shoulder pain directly, but it can have a big impact on a person’s ability to fall and stay asleep. If someone is already suffering from pain, then the last thing they need is to be sweating it out on a stuffy mattress. Look for a bed that’s designed with breathability and temperature neutrality in mind. This will help minimize discomfort when it comes time to fall and stay asleep.
If sleeping hot is a big problem for you, then you may want to take a look at our best cooling mattress list.
As we’ve noted, a lumpy or saggy mattress can exacerbate neck or shoulder pain. The more durable a mattress, the longer it will take before it develops dips and bumps. For this reason, folks who are looking to prevent or minimize neck or shoulder pain will benefit from purchasing a mattress made with durable materials such as latex or pocketed coils. You may want to check out our list of the best mattresses that won’t sag to see some of the most durable mattresses we’ve tested.
Everyone has a different budget, and it’s important to determine an appropriate price range before embarking on the quest for a new mattress. Not only will this help narrow down the list of available options, but it will also spare shoppers from finding a bed they love only to discover that it’s way outside their price range.
Best Mattress Type For Neck And Shoulder Pain
Now that we’ve covered some general guidelines for shopping for a mattress for neck and shoulder pain, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of different types of mattresses.
As the name implies, an innerspring mattress is composed primarily of springs (or coils). This tends to create a supportive, bouncy feel. For neck or shoulder pain sufferers who are looking to transition to back sleeping, the supportive nature of an innerspring mattress can be useful in maintaining spinal alignment. Folks who are wedded to stomach sleeping should also find the support they need on an innerspring mattress.
Another perk of innerspring beds is that they tend to be more economical. So a person who can’t afford a more expensive latex or hybrid mattress, say, could purchase an innerspring bed and then modify it to their comfort preferences by adding a mattress topper. To maximize durability, look for an innerspring mattress made with pocketed coils.
Memory foam mattresses are known for being highly pressure-relieving. That’s thanks to the fact that the material conforms to a sleeper’s body and contours around pressure points such as the shoulders or hips.
Underneath their memory foam comfort layer, these beds typically feature a supportive layer made from a firmer polyfoam, which offers some support to the hips and spine. But again, the name of the memory foam game is cradling pressure relief, which can be especially useful for anyone experiencing shoulder pain.
A hybrid mattress combines supportive coils with plenty of comfort from materials such as memory foam, wool, or latex. This can be a great option for folks who are dealing with neck and/or shoulder pain, because the support from the coils promotes spinal alignment while the comfort layer offers plenty of pressure relief. Hybrid mattresses can also be a good fit for those dealing with lower back pain and sciatica or hip pain.
Latex mattresses can be produced from natural or synthetic materials, all of which are known for their durability, bounce, and slight contouring. Natural latex is also heralded as a fairly eco-friendly mattress material, and it creates a cool sleeping environment.
The mixture of bounciness and contouring can work well for both back and side sleepers, who need a balance of spinal support and pressure relief. That pressure relief doesn’t come at the expense of feeling “stuck” in the mattress, which is sometimes a criticism of memory foam.
Not to be confused with air mattresses, airbeds are luxury mattresses that have a support core made of up adjustable air chambers. The support core might be layered beneath a comfort layer made from foam or latex.
The main perk of airbeds is that they allow sleepers to personalize the firmness of their bed. This means people can change the feel of their bed depending on their pain levels and preferred sleeping position on a given night.
Sleeping Tips That Help Relieve Neck And Shoulder Pain
The way a person sleeps can help prevent neck and shoulder pain. It can also ease neck and shoulder pain that stems from a non-sleeping cause. Adopt the following tips to sleep better with neck and shoulder pain.
- Sleep on a mattress that balances plenty of spinal support with some pressure relief. (Check out the details in the previous section regarding the best mattress for neck and shoulder pain)
- Invest in pillows that support healthy spinal alignment. Side sleepers need a pillow that will keep their neck elevated in line with the head and the middle of the shoulders. Back sleepers need flatter pillows that support the spine’s natural curvature. Stomach sleepers should look for pillows no more than 3” in height. Our best pillows for neck pain piece lists a number of options that will keep the spine properly aligned.
- As noted above, be mindful of sleeping positions. People dealing with neck pain should stick to back and/or side sleeping, while people with shoulder pain are better off on their back and should avoid side sleeping until their condition clears up (At a minimum, avoid side sleeping on the affected shoulder)
- Avoid sleeping in odd positions, such as on the couch with the head on an armrest
- Travel with a small pillow to support the neck while sleeping upright in a train, plane, or car
- Before climbing into bed, practice some gentle neck and shoulder stretches. This helps loosen tight muscles and lessen pain so it’s easier to fall and stay asleep
Other Tips To Relieve Neck And Shoulder Pain
Outside of sleeping, a few lifestyle tweaks can help reduce the chances of suffering from neck or shoulder pain. For instance:
- Practice proper posture. While standing or sitting, align the ears over the shoulders and the shoulders over the hips
- People who work at a computer should adjust the desk, chair, and computer to support proper ergonomics. The knees should be slightly lower than the hips, and the monitor should be at eye level
- Take frequent stretch breaks during the workday and while traveling
- When talking on the phone, use a headset or speakerphone. Avoid tucking the phone between the ear and shoulder
- Exercise regularly to strengthen the muscles around the spine and shoulder
- While texting or scrolling on the phone, hold it at eye level so the neck doesn’t tip forward
- If possible, avoid repetitive motions such as lifting and throwing, as these can strain the shoulder joint
- Quit smoking, as it’s been linked to a higher risk of neck pain (among other serious health issues)
Experiment with hot or cold packs to see if they relieve the pain
If none of these tips are easing the pain (or if the pain is severe and persistent), then it’s time to chat with a doctor or physical therapist. They’ll be able to suggest next steps, which might include taking over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, or (in the most severe cases) surgery. But hopefully, a few tweaks to a person’s sleeping environment and lifestyle habits will make a world of difference.
Here’s a summary of the best mattresses for neck and shoulder pain:
|Loom and Leaf||Best Memory Foam Mattress|
|Layla||Best Mattress For Side Sleepers|
|Helix||Best Customizable Mattress|
|Saatva||Best Innerspring Mattress|
|Casper||Best Mattress For Combination Sleepers|
|Purple Hybrid Premier||Best Mattress For Heavy People|
Now, we would like to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about mattresses for neck and shoulder pain.
What is the best mattress for neck and shoulder pain?
Out of the mattresses we have chosen, we would say the Saatva is the best option for neck and shoulder pain. It features an excellent balance of comfort and support that should relieve pain in key areas while keeping the spine neutrally-aligned.
Can your mattress cause neck or shoulder pain?
A mattress can cause shoulder pain if it is too firm. If someone chooses a pillow that is too thin or too lofty, this can also lead to neck pain.
How should I sleep to avoid neck pain?
Finding the correct pillow can help sleepers avoid neck pain. They should consider their sleeping positions and go from there. Back sleepers will want a mattress with medium loft, side sleepers will want something loftier, and stomach sleepers should choose something on the thinner side.
Is a memory foam mattress good for neck pain?
It can be, but it really depends on the pillow. As long as the mattress keeps the spine in neutral alignment and the pillow keeps the neck straight, sleepers should be resting with no real pain.