Do You Know What Happens To Your Shoulders When You Sleep On Your Side?

Article by Lewis Hugh

Welcome, snoozers! Have you ever wondered what happens to your shoulders when you sleep on your side? Side sleeping comes with many benefits, from better breathing to improved brain health. However, it can also cause shoulder pain if you’re not careful.

In this article, we’ll explore ways to optimise your side sleeping experience and avoid shoulder pain. 

We’ll dig into the importance of choosing the right cushion for proper shoulder support and share tips for finding the best side pillow for shoulder pain relief.

But that’s not all – we’ll also share some fascinating facts about side sleeping and its effects on the body. You’ll learn various techniques to minimise pain and discomfort while sleeping on your side, ensuring a peaceful and rejuvenating night’s rest.

So join us as we uncover the secrets to a pain-free, restful night’s sleep. Get cosy, grab a snack, and let’s dive in together!

Understanding Your Shoulder Anatomy

Did you know that the shoulder is an intricate structure, involving bones, ligaments, and muscles? Believe it or not, the shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in your body. 

It’s composed of the collarbone, shoulder blade, and upper arm bone and supports your every move. However, when you sleep on your side, the weight of your body can put pressure on your shoulder, causing discomfort and possible injury.

To avoid shoulder pain from side sleeping, make sure you align your body correctly. Doing so can reduce joint and lower back pain. Also, side sleeping can decrease snoring and ease sleep apnea symptoms. 

Unfortunately, it’s common for your shoulder to collapse into the mattress, causing misalignment and pain. To prevent this, try sleeping on a firm mattress with a supportive pillow. Additionally, keeping your head straight and in line with your shoulders can help you avoid complications.

How To Sleep On Your Side Without Causing Shoulder Pain

Want to get a good night’s sleep without waking up with a sore shoulder? Lucky for you, avoiding shoulder pain while side sleeping is totally doable! Here’s the lowdown:

First off, proper alignment is key. Think about it like this: your neck, spine, and hips are all connected, so keeping them in a straight line while sleeping can decrease the strain on your shoulder. And who doesn’t love a little pressure relief?

Secondly, support is super important. Using the right pillow and mattress is the key to avoiding unnecessary shoulder pain. An adjustable pillow for side sleepers can help keep your head and neck in proper alignment, while a quality mattress can help cushion your shoulder and lessen pressure points. Sweet dreams!

Adjusting Your Sleeping Habits to Prevent Shoulder Pain

Not sure if your sleeping habits are causing shoulder pain? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Besides finding the right pillow and mattress, there are a few other tricks to keep in mind. For example, make sure to switch sides throughout the night to avoid consistent pressure on one shoulder. 

Plus, hugging a pillow can help keep your spine in a neutral position and prevent you from rolling onto your stomach.


Another important factor for quality sleep is establishing good sleep hygiene. This includes sticking to a regular sleep schedule, creating a dark and quiet environment, and maintaining a comfortable temperature. Incorporating relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation can also help reduce muscle tension and improve your sleep alignment.

Don’t forget the role of nutrition and exercise in maintaining your overall musculoskeletal health. A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can strengthen your bones and muscles, while daily physical activity can improve flexibility and prevent shoulder pain. So give these strategies a try and enjoy a pain-free, restful sleep!

Properly Aligning Your Shoulder When Side Sleeping

If you’re a side sleeper, it’s important to maintain proper shoulder alignment to avoid discomfort and potential health risks. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Maintain a Neutral Spine

Firstly, aim for a neutral spine. This means keeping your head and neck straight in line with your back while you snooze. You can achieve this position by using an adjustable side sleeper pillow that supports your head and neck at just the right level.

Remember: the key is to keep your shoulders in their natural position. Try not to tilt your head up or down, which can throw your spine out of alignment and cause discomfort. Stick with this approach, and you’re sure to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

2. Use Supportive Pillows

Did you know that pillows can do more than just support your head? Adding a body pillow or a pillow between your knees can actually help keep your spine properly aligned, which can reduce your risk of shoulder pain.

By keeping your hips aligned, a pillow between your knees supports your entire body, including your shoulders. It’s a simple yet effective way to maintain proper spinal alignment while you sleep. So consider adding an extra pillow or two to your bedtime routine and wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free!

3. Keep Your Arms in a Comfortable Position

The position of your arms can impact your shoulder alignment to help prevent discomfort and pain, consider this helpful tip:

Make sure your sleeping arm isn’t positioned under your body, which can cause compression of the shoulder joint. Instead, try extending it outwards or rest it on the pillow. As for your other arm, it can rest gently on your body or pillow to help maintain proper alignment.

By paying attention to the position of your arms while sleeping, you can help prevent shoulder pain and wake up feeling refreshed!

4. Use a Supportive Mattress

It’s essential to choose a mattress that provides enough support to keep the natural curve of your spine intact, which includes your shoulders. 

As a side sleeper, you want to look for a mattress that allows your body to sink in slightly, relieving any pressure on your joints. There are many different types of mattresses out there, including foam and spring mattresses, so it’s important to find one that works well for your sleeping position and personal comfort preferences. 

By taking the time to choose the right mattress, you’ll promote good shoulder alignment and enjoy a more restful sleep.

5. Regularly Switch Sides

Did you know that switching sides during the night can actually help you avoid shoulder discomfort and improve your musculoskeletal health? It may be a bit inconvenient, but adjusting your sleeping position can help distribute weight and pressure evenly across your shoulders.

To promote proper shoulder alignment while side sleeping, you’ll want to focus on keeping your spine in a neutral position. Using supportive pillows for your head, body, and knees can help, while gently resting your arm on a pillow can prevent it from collapsing and compressing your shoulder joint.

Remember to also pay attention to the type of mattress you’re sleeping on. A supportive mattress that offers enough cushioning can help reduce pressure points and prevent discomfort.

So if you’re looking to avoid shoulder pain while side sleeping, try incorporating these tips into your bedtime routine. A comfortable and pain-free night’s sleep is within reach!

Dealing With Persistent Shoulder Pain

If you’re experiencing persistent shoulder pain despite trying all the best sleep postures and accessories, it might be time to consult a health professional. 

A physical therapist can help identify the root cause of your discomfort and suggest appropriate treatment to restore mobility and alleviate pain.

For side sleepers with shoulder pain, stretching exercises can be especially helpful. Not only can they improve your shoulder’s range of motion, but they can also strengthen the muscles that support your shoulder joint, reducing your risk of pain in the future.

Woman with shoulder pain

However, it’s crucial to perform these exercises under the guidance of a professional to avoid further injury. By taking the necessary precautions and working with a physical therapist, you can make sure your shoulder pain doesn’t keep you from getting the restful sleep you need.

The Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

We recommend looking for a pillow that is thick enough to keep your neck in line with your spine. An adjustable side sleeper pillow is a great option, as it allows you to customise the thickness and firmness to your personal preferences.

Memory foam pillows can also be a good choice for side sleepers. They adapt to the shape of your body, providing customised support and reducing pressure on your shoulder.

If you’re experiencing pain on one side and sleep on a firm mattress, it may be worth considering a softer mattress or adding a mattress topper for added cushioning. 

Check out our article on how firm mattresses can sometimes contribute to side pain and what you can do about it.

Remember, finding the right pillow and mattress can greatly improve your sleep and alleviate painful side effects, leading to a happier and healthier you!

Understanding Adjustable Pillows for Side Sleepers And Their Usage

Gather round side sleepers! If you’re looking for a better night’s sleep, an adjustable pillow could be just what you need. So, what are these pillows all about, and how can you use them to get the most out of your slumber? Let’s take a closer look.

What is an Adjustable Pillow?

Have you ever heard of an adjustable pillow? It’s exactly what it sounds like – a pillow that can be tailored to your personal comfort needs. These types of pillows typically have a removable cover that’s filled with stuffing that can be added or removed. This allows you to adjust the height and firmness of the pillow until it’s just right for you.

The great thing about adjustable pillows is that they’re designed to provide you with a truly custom sleep experience. Instead of struggling with a one-size-fits-all pillow, you can simply adjust it until it’s perfect for your body and sleeping position. This is especially helpful for side sleepers, who often need more support for their neck and shoulders.

So if you’re looking for a better night’s sleep, an adjustable pillow might be just what you need. With a little bit of experimenting, you’re sure to find the perfect combination of height and firmness to help you sleep more comfortably than ever before.

How to Use an Adjustable Pillow?

Hi there! If you’re looking for a more comfortable and personalized sleeping experience, an adjustable pillow could be just what you need. Here’s how you can use one effectively:

1. Consider Your Sleeping Position

First, take a moment to assess your current sleeping posture. Are you lying on your side? Is your head, neck, and spine in proper alignment? This will give you an idea of whether your pillow needs adjusting.

2. Make Adjustments as Needed

The beauty of adjustable pillows is that you can customize them to your liking. If you need more height, add more stuffing. If you need less, take some out. The key is to find a pillow height that aligns your neck with your spine and supports your shoulder.

3. Check for Comfort

Once you’ve made adjustments, lie down to see how it feels. Do you feel comfortable and supported? Is your neck in proper alignment? If not, make further adjustments until it feels just right.

4. Experiment Until You Find What Works

Remember, it can take some trial and error to find the perfect pillow height and firmness. Don’t be afraid to make further adjustments until you find what works for you.

In summary, using an adjustable pillow can greatly improve your sleep quality by providing personalised support for your neck and shoulders. With a little experimentation, you can take the first step towards more comfortable and restful sleep.

Essential Factors To Consider For Side Sleepers

If you’re a side sleeper, a medium firm mattress can provide the perfect balance of support and cushioning. However, keep in mind that everyone’s comfort level is different, so it’s important to find the mattress that works best for you.

In addition to your mattress, don’t forget about your sleep accessories. A side sleeper bed can be even more comfortable with the addition of mattress toppers or a body pillow for extra support. These accessories can help you maintain proper alignment and ensure a more restful sleep.

By following these tips and focusing on proper alignment, you can enjoy all the benefits of side sleeping without worrying about shoulder discomfort. So next time you’re getting ready to hit the hay, remember to keep these sleep essentials in mind!

Investing In The Right Bedding Accessories

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain while side sleeping, the right bedding accessories can make all the difference. Along with choosing the right pillow and mattress, consider adding a few key items to improve your comfort.

A quality cushion designed specifically for side sleeping can offer additional support and reduce discomfort in your shoulder. You may also want to try a softer mattress or mattress topper to add extra cushioning. And if you find it difficult to maintain proper alignment while side sleeping, a body pillow can help you achieve the best sleeping posture.

By choosing the right bedding accessories for your needs, you can wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free. Remember to look for items that offer both support and cushioning, and don’t be afraid to experiment until you find your perfect sleep setup.

What Makes Side Sleepers Unique

Unique Characteristics Description
Body Alignment Side sleeping promotes better alignment of the spine, potentially reducing back and neck pain.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea Side sleeping is often recommended to prevent or reduce snoring and symptoms of sleep apnea.
Digestion Some believe that sleeping on the left side can improve digestion and alleviate heartburn.
Pregnancy Comfort Side sleeping, particularly on the left side, is recommended for pregnant women for optimal blood flow.


Does sleeping on my side cause shoulder pain?

Yes, sleeping on your side can cause shoulder pain. The majority of your torso’s weight is on your shoulder while sleeping, which can cause pain. Uneven alignment is a common source of shoulder pain, especially for side sleepers.

What is the best pillow for side sleepers?

The best pillow for side sleepers is one that supports your body. Side sleeping pillows should be firm and big enough to fit your full head on it. The Silk & Snow Pillow, Side-Sleeper Pillow from Eli & Elm, and MedCline Shoulder Relief System are some of the best pillows for shoulder pain.

How can I prevent shoulder pain when side sleeping?

To prevent shoulder pain when side sleeping, use a pillow that supports your body. Side sleepers should avoid letting their shoulders lie directly under the body while sleeping. A small pillow that you can nest between your shoulder blades while sleeping on your back can also help.

Is it better to sleep on your left or right side?

Sleeping on your left side may have the most benefits for side sleepers. A firmer mattress and pillow may help prevent pain in the back, neck, or shoulders. However, your body may prefer variety throughout the night to prevent pain in other areas of your body.

Can side sleeping cause other health issues besides shoulder pain?

Yes, side sleeping can cause other health issues besides shoulder pain. Sleeping on your side can increase your risk of developing wrinkles, sagging breasts, and facial asymmetry. It can also worsen acid reflux and sleep apnea.

In Conclusion

Hey there, sleepyheads! Did you know that how you sleep can play a big role in your overall health? Sleeping on your side can be great, but it’s important to do it right to avoid shoulder pain. Here are some tips for making the most of your side sleeping position.

First, consider investing in the right sleeping accessories, like a pillow designed specifically for side sleeping. This can help keep your head and neck aligned properly, reducing discomfort and strain on your shoulder. You may also want to choose a mattress that offers the right level of firmness for your needs.

Another important factor is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Staying active, eating a balanced diet, and managing stress can all contribute to better sleep and overall health.

At Dream HQ, we’re here to help you find the right combination of sleeping accessories and healthy habits for your needs. Remember, a good night’s sleep can make all the difference in your quality of life, so don’t hesitate to make this a priority. Sweet dreams!

Useful Links:

  • Check out OrthoBethesda’s article.
  • Check out Hommen Orthopedics’ article
  • Check out Orthopedicnj’s article.
Side Sleeping - Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Dream HQ