News & Updates

, ,

How Do You Sleep With Bad Shoulders?

How Do You Sleep With Bad Shoulders

Sleeping with shoulder pain can turn what should be a restful night into a challenging ordeal, affecting both your sleep quality and your shoulder’s healing process. Whether your discomfort is due to an injury, arthritis, or another condition, finding a comfortable sleeping position is crucial. Let’s explore strategies to help you sleep better and minimize shoulder pain.

Optimal Sleeping Positions

1. Sleep on Your Back

Sleeping on your back is often recommended for those with shoulder pain. This position helps maintain a neutral spine and shoulder alignment, reducing pressure on the painful shoulder. You should consider…

  • Using a Pillow Under Your Knees – This can reduce the strain on your lower back, offering additional comfort and promoting spinal alignment.
  • A Thin Pillow Under Your Head – Ensure it’s not too high to avoid neck strain. An orthopedic pillow can provide extra support.

2. Sleep on the Non-Painful Side

If you prefer side sleeping, lie on the non-affected shoulder. To reduce stress on your shoulders…

  • Place a Pillow Between Your Knees – This aligns your hips, preventing lower back pain.
  • Hug a Pillow  Holding a pillow can prevent you from rolling onto the painful shoulder and keep your spine aligned.

3. Avoid Sleeping on the Affected Shoulder

Direct pressure can aggravate pain and inflammation. If you accidentally roll onto the painful side, the discomfort will likely wake you, disrupting your sleep.

Additional Tips for Relief

Use the Right Pillow

The type and placement of your pillow can significantly impact shoulder pain…

  • Contoured Memory Foam Pillow – Supports the neck and head, reducing strain on the shoulders.
  • Pillow Placement – Experiment with placing a small pillow under the painful shoulder (if sleeping on your back) to provide support and reduce tension.

Modify Your Bed

Your mattress plays a critical role in your sleeping comfort…

  • Mattress Firmness – A medium-firm mattress often provides the best support for your spine and joints.
  • Mattress Topper – A memory foam topper can add an extra layer of cushioning, reducing pressure points.

Pain Management Before Bed

Addressing pain before trying to sleep can improve your comfort…

  • Apply Heat or Cold Therapy – Heat can relax muscles, while cold can reduce inflammation. Use whichever feels more relieving, but avoid extreme temperatures.
  • Pain Relief Medication – Over-the-counter pain relievers can help, but consult your doctor for regular use or stronger prescriptions.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation can ease the tension in your muscles and help you fall asleep more easily…

  • Gentle Stretching – Light stretching before bed can reduce muscle tension.
  • Breathing Exercises or Meditation – These practices can help relax your body and mind, making it easier to fall asleep.


Dealing with shoulder pain at night requires a combination of the right sleeping position, appropriate bedding, pain management, and relaxation techniques. By creating a conducive sleep environment and adopting habits that minimize stress on your shoulders, you can improve your sleep quality and contribute to the healing process. If shoulder pain persists or worsens, it’s necessary to consult with a healthcare professional for tailored advice and treatment.