For many people, bedtime is a welcome reprieve. They long for their cozy bed and cannot wait to lay their head down, close their eyes, and fall right to sleep. But for those who struggle with nighttime shoulder pain, bedtime isn’t exactly a reprieve. In fact, it can feel like torture. One way to change this is to purchase the best pillow for shoulder pain.
These specially designed pillows work to target factors that trigger shoulder pain—in particular, placing pressure on the shoulder joint and spinal column. In some cases, this pressure is what causes the pain, while in cases where the shoulder is injured, this pressure makes it worse. Shoulder pillows feature ergonomic designs and are often adjustable, allowing you to get the exact fit you require.
But before you make a purchase, you need to understand the problem you are attempting to fix and what to look for in a pillow. Read on to learn more about nighttime shoulder pain and the pillows that can help relieve it.
- Features to Look for in Pillows for Shoulder Pain
- Top 10 Best Pillows for Shoulder Pain Comparison Chart
- 1 Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
- 2 Coop Home Goods - PREMIUM Adjustable Loft - Shredded Hypoallergenic Certipur Memory Foam PilloW
- 3 Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow
- 4 Custom Sleeping Snuggle Full Body Pillow
- 5 ComfySure Pregnancy Full Body Pillow
- 6 Remedy Side Sleeper Contour Pillow for Neck, Shoulder, and Back Pain Relief
- 7 Sleep Yoga Dual Position Neck Pillow
- 8 Z Gel Memory Foam L-Shape Pillow for Side Sleeping
- 9 Aeris Contour Pillow,Premium Side Sleeper PilloW
- 10 Cooling Gel Memory Foam Pillow
- How Much of a Difference Does the Best Pillow for Shoulder Pain Make?
- How to Sleep with Shoulder Pain
- Other Methods for Reducing or Eliminating Shoulder Pain When Sleeping
- Final Words
Features to Look for in Pillows for Shoulder Pain
As you look for the best pillow for shoulder pain, you need to understand that there is no one pillow that is the best for everyone. Depending on your preferences, sleeping position, and more, different pillows will work better for you. So, as you browse our top ten picks, you need to keep these features in mind.
Perhaps the biggest factor in choosing the right pillow for you is your preferred sleep position. Some people sleep specifically on their side, back, or stomach, while others move between positions as the night goes on. Some pillows are designed for specific sleep positions while others work with all sleep positions.
Support, which you can also think of in terms of firmness, essentially refers to how much the pillow gives to your body as you lay against it. While some give is necessary for comfort, too much give will fail to give your body the support it needs.
Loft, also known as height, is also important to consider. It tends to be most important for those who are back sleepers, but it plays a role in the comfort a pillow offers no matter the sleep position. In general, back sleep requires a lower loft while side sleep requires a higher loft. This is because the goal is to hold the neck in alignment.
There are many different types of fill materials that can be used in pillows. Different materials offer different levels of firmness, and they can also offer additional features, such as being hypoallergenic. Overall, there is no material that is inherently bad for shoulder pain, and it comes down to personal preference.
While adjustability is a benefit, it is not a necessity. With that said, many people like to have this feature as it allows them to customize the fit of the pillow after it is purchased. Few pillows are 100 percent perfect straight from the store. If you opt for one that is adjustable, you can play with it until you get it just right.
Top 10 Best Pillows for Shoulder Pain Comparison Chart
#1 Editor Choice
Any sleep position
Shredded memory foam
Any sleep position
Shredded memory foam
Gel fiber blend
Hypoallergenic poly fiber
ElecAny sleep position
Cotton and lyocell
Any sleep position
Read our detail recommendation pillows for shoulder pain here:
1 Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
For our top choice, we wanted to select a pillow that would work for the majority of sleepers, and as a result, we chose this option from Snuggle-Pedic. Rather than being made for a specific sleep position, it works for all of them, accommodating your preference and allowing you to move around as needed. In all positions, it takes pressure off of the shoulder, relieving or eliminating pain.
2 Coop Home Goods - PREMIUM Adjustable Loft - Shredded Hypoallergenic Certipur Memory Foam PilloW
This option from Coop Home Goods comes in at a close second. It is very similar to our first choice, but it doesn’t stay quite as cool at night, so we chose to make it our number two choice. Once again, it can be used in any sleep position and it is adjustable, allowing the user to get the exact fit they want.
3 Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow
If you are experiencing other pains at night in addition to shoulder pain, a standard pillow design may not be enough. Rather than purchasing multiple pillows to support the knees, back, stomach, shoulder, and neck, you can purchase one total body pillow that does it all—which is what Leacho offers with the Snoogle.
Originally designed for use by pregnant women, it can be used by anyone who requires lots of support when sleeping. It relieves pressure on numerous joints and the spinal column and also helps with alignment to make breathing easier. The design follows the contour of the body, creating maximum comfort. With that said, the odd shape of the pillow does pose some home design problems and may need to be stored out of sight during the day.
4 Custom Sleeping Snuggle Full Body Pillow
Despite what the company name implies, this pillow is not adjustable. However, it is already quite comfortable as it is. This can be attributed to the soft gel cluster fiber blend and the bamboo-rayon cover. Both feel incredibly soft and luxurious, even while still offering the support needed.
Much like our number three choice, it offers all-around support, targeting numerous joints and the spinal column. However, since it does not wrap around the entire body, the support is not quite as good as choice number three. With that said, since it is not such an awkward shape, it does look better when left out and can be incorporated into the overall room design—no need to hide it away during the day.
5 ComfySure Pregnancy Full Body Pillow
Once again, we have chosen a pillow marketed to pregnant women. And once again, it really does work for everyone, pregnant or not. Ideal for those suffering from multiple types of joint pain, including back and neck pain, it could be the key to a good night of sleep for you.
Unlike other pregnancy pillows, this one completely surrounds the body, which means that if you want to switch sides as you sleep, you can do it without flipping the massive pillow over. While this is a major plus over most other pillows like it, we ranked it at number five due to the filling; the polyester blend is not as good at staying cool, even though it does not truly get hot as you sleep.
6 Remedy Side Sleeper Contour Pillow for Neck, Shoulder, and Back Pain Relief
If you thought the full body pillows were unusual, take a look at this one. But although it may look almost alien, it is actually incredibly comfortable. While the other pillows on this list are great at relieving shoulder pain, this is the first option that was made specifically to accomplish this feat.
Small enough to travel with you, you never need to be without the comfort it offers. The high loft ensures the spine is kept in alignment while the ear pocket gives side sleepers relief they never knew they needed. It comes with a pillow case and has a satisfaction guarantee, so you can feel safe giving this unique pillow a try.
7 Sleep Yoga Dual Position Neck Pillow
Did you ever imagine that a pillow would have something of a cult following? Well, this is true in the case of the Sleep Yoga Side Sleeper Arm Rest Posture Pillow. Based on the description alone, people went crazy for this pillow on Kickstarter, and now it is available to purchase. Since it has hit the market, customers have loved this pillow for its ability to both relieve pain and improve posture while sleeping.
The design team behind the pillow is filled with chiropractors and yoga enthusiasts, and the focus was on achieving perfect alignment, which naturally relieves pressure on the joints. And since it is uses a cotton mix for filler, it is a great alternative for those who would like to be able to avoid memory foam. The brand also offers other pillows to address pain in different joints.
8 Z Gel Memory Foam L-Shape Pillow for Side Sleeping
Z is an unusually named company that has really made a name for itself by producing unique and incredibly comfortable pillows. Designed specifically for side sleeping, it is slightly softer than most other side sleep options on the market. While this is not ideal in every case, for those who want a little more give from their pillow, it is a great choice.
The company designed this pillow to address shoulder pain, neck pain, and migraines. It is meant to retain its shape for life, and the company does offer returns and replacements should the pillow you purchase not live up to the hype. There are two downsides that customers note. First, it has a chemical odor that takes a while to go away, and pillowcases can only be purchased from Z.
9 Aeris Contour Pillow,Premium Side Sleeper PilloW
Most side-sleep options are made for those who like to cuddle their pillow while they sleep. The problem is that for those who do, the shoulder pain pillow just isn’t the pillow they want to snuggle with. With this option from Aeris, side sleepers can enjoy the benefits of this positioning pillow while cuddling—or not cuddling—whatever they wish.
The product is made from special memory foam that is designed to stay cool throughout the night—important since you cannot flip this pillow over and still use it. While it is designed to target the neck and back, it is also great at relieving shoulder pain. Finally, it comes with perhaps the best guarantee you will find: a lifetime free replacement guarantee.
10 Cooling Gel Memory Foam Pillow
For a pillow that works for all sleep positions, is affordable, and comes with a guarantee, this Cooling Gel Memory Foam Pillow is a great choice. The shape is meant to make it usable by those who sleep in any position and the memory foam is meant to help the pillow retain its shape while molding to your body.
Thanks to the cooling gel, it stays cool all night long. It is also hypoallergenic, making it a great choice for those with allergies. It is backed by a 100 percent satisfaction, no questions asked, money-back guarantee. While there is no big brand name behind it, it is still a solid choice.
How Much of a Difference Does the Best Pillow for Shoulder Pain Make?
Ultimately, your underlying health will determine how big of a difference a pillow will make in your pain level and quality of sleep. If your pain is being caused by a bad pillow, using the right one will eliminate the pain completely. If the pain is coming from an underlying injury, the pillow will stop it from worsening during sleep, but if you experience pain during the day, chances are it will still be there at night.
How to Sleep with Shoulder Pain
While purchasing the right pillow will be the biggest change you can make, another way to relieve shoulder pain is to take a new approach to how you sleep. There are multiple ways you can do this, which we will outline below.
Other Methods for Reducing or Eliminating Shoulder Pain When Sleeping
After you have tried the above, if you are still experiencing pain or the pain is not lessening enough for you to sleep well, it is time to try some other options. At this stage, you need to speak with your doctor about your pain, just in case the cause is more serious than you believe it to be. Once you do this, you can try the following methods:
Sleep is not a luxury—it is a necessity. When we do not sleep well, we hurt ourselves mentally and physically. Without quality sleep, we perform worse overall, putting our work and academic lives at risk. Not to mention that on too little sleep, driving and other activities become dangerous. Shoulder pain should not stop you from living a great life, and that is why you should purchase the best pillow for shoulder pain. Consider your sleep position and other important factors to guide you in your purchase. It is time to get a good night’s rest.