Shoulder pain during sleep

Shoulder pain during sleep is detrimental for a good night’s sleep. For instance, you have difficulty falling asleep or wake up from a deep sleep due to a nagging pain in the shoulder. Shoulder pain after sleep can also cause the feeling when you wake up that sleep has been less beneficial. In this article, we are looking at solutions and tips to reduce shoulder pain during sleep.

Causes of shoulder pain during sleep

Shoulder injury or wear of the shoulder

The shoulder is a complex joint. An injury may result in an operation and the first phase of recovery is painful. Shoulder pain often arises due to wear of the shoulder joint or due to an accident. In certain cases, the shoulder will never fully recover, and you will continue experiencing pain during more distinct movements, overload or sleep due to continuing pressure on the shoulder. By trying to sleep in an ergonomically correct posture, shoulder pain after sleep will reduce considerably or disappear and the quality of sleep will be safeguarded.


People underestimate stress as a factor of pain in the shoulders during sleep. The build-up of stress can be so strong that it is impossible to lie comfortably without constantly waking up. The muscles in the upper back and shoulders are tense and firm to the touch. A solution may be to release the shoulders and neck before going to sleep by way of massage or to find relaxation by applying heat to the tensed muscles. Going to bed both mentally and physically relaxed will considerably improve sleep.

What mattress for shoulder problems?

If you are frequently or permanently bothered by shoulder pain during sleep, a comfortable shoulder area in your mattress is required. The surface of the shoulder is only small. If people with a shoulder injury, arthrosis in the shoulder joint, calcification or just sensitive shoulders sleep on their side, they often find the pressure too great to remain in that position for a long time. A custom-made profiled shoulder area ensures that pressure on the shoulder is removed. In the Dorsoo ACTIVE+ sleep system, a special shoulder area is included.

Dorsoo blog mattress for shoulder problems

The correct pillow for shoulder problems

To lower the pressure on the shoulder, a pillow that offers the right support of neck and head is a second step. If the body is better supported across its entire length, the pressure is better divided. An ergonomic pillow that can be height adjusted, is the best choice for proper support of neck and head.

However, some people do not like to sleep on a pre-shaped pillow. They benefit from a classic pillow that fills up the hollow of the neck properly. These pillows also have to be checked for the correct height. Give it a good try and check in particular if the neck feels tense when you are lying down.

How to sleep after shoulder surgery?

Sleeping on the back

Shortly after shoulder surgery, sleeping on the back is the best and often the only option. The arm cannot be moved yet and is immobilised by a sling, shoulder brace or shoulder bandage. Moreover, a shoulder abduction pillow, where the arm can rest, is a good aid. At night, the operated arm can rest on a pillow so that the shoulder recovers in the best way and you can sleep without pain.

People who do not normally sleep on their back, but have to do this out of necessity, prefer to sleep on a bed, with a backrest that can be raised. Moreover, this reduces snoring, which is pleasant for the partner. In a later phase of recovery, sleeping on the side is possible again, on the non-operated shoulder.

Difficulty getting out of bed after shoulder surgery?

Sometimes, people with shoulder problems have difficulty getting out of bed, in particular shortly after a shoulder operation. Straightening oneself to get out of bed is difficult with one arm. It puts extra strain on abdominal and back muscles. Moreover, pushing with the uninjured arm can cause shooting pains in the shoulder or the shoulder blade.

An electric adjustable bed can solve this. The adjustable ACTIVE+ bed base has a back rest that can be adjusted in almost vertical position. Thus, the user can get out of bed by turning him/herself while supporting him/herself with the back adjustment. The patented back adjustment also ensures an ergonomically correct and pleasant movement during adjustment.

Dorsoo blog shoulder pain adjustable bed