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How Do You Sleep With A Torn Rotator Cuff?

How Do You Sleep With A Torn Rotator Cuff

A torn rotator cuff can make sleeping a challenge, causing pain and discomfort that disrupts your night’s rest. Regardless, with the right strategies, you can find a comfortable sleeping position that not only helps you sleep better but also supports your shoulder’s healing process. This blog post will guide you through the best sleeping positions for a torn rotator cuff and offer tips to improve your sleep quality.

Effective Sleeping Positions

1. Sleep on Your Back

Sleeping on your back is often recommended for those with a torn rotator cuff. This position helps to keep your shoulder in a neutral position, reducing strain. Use a pillow to support your arm and maintain a slight elevation. Placing a pillow under your knees can also help maintain the natural curve of your back, offering additional comfort.

2. Sleep in a Reclined Position

A reclined position can significantly reduce pressure on your rotator cuff. Using an adjustable bed or a recliner can be ideal. If you don’t have access to an adjustable bed, you can create a similar effect by using pillows or a wedge to prop yourself up in a semi-upright position. This not only helps with shoulder pain but can also alleviate symptoms for those with acid reflux.

3. Sleep on the Unaffected Side with Proper Support

If sleeping on your back is uncomfortable, you might try sleeping on the non-affected side. Use a pillow to support your injured arm, keeping it slightly elevated to reduce swelling and discomfort. Place another pillow between your knees to maintain spinal alignment.

Additional Tips for Comfort and Healing

  • Use a Supportive Pillow – A pillow that supports your neck and keeps your spine in alignment can reduce stress on your rotator cuff. Memory foam pillows are particularly effective as they mold to the shape of your head and neck.
  • Avoid Sleeping on the Affected Side – This can increase pressure and pain in the injured shoulder. If you’re used to sleeping on this side, it might take some time to adjust to a new sleeping position.
  • Ice Before Bed – Applying an ice pack to your shoulder for 15-20 minutes before going to bed can help reduce inflammation and numb the pain, making it easier to fall asleep.
  • Consider Pain Medication – Over-the-counter pain medication can help manage pain and inflammation, making it easier to get comfortable. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new medication.
  • Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule – Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help improve the quality of your sleep, which is crucial for healing.


Dealing with a torn rotator cuff can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding a comfortable sleeping position. By following the recommended sleeping positions and incorporating the additional tips provided, you can achieve a more restful night’s sleep, which is essential for your body’s healing process. If your symptoms persist or worsen, it’s necessary to consult with a healthcare professional for further advice and treatment options.