How To Overcome Pain From Sleeping On The Side

Many people seem to prefer sleeping on the side, and even when they try to adjust their sleep position they will always end up on the side. While there is nothing wrong with sleeping on the side and it is also quite comfortable, there are some issues that can arise at some point. And key among them is severe shoulder pain since your arm has to take up a lot of weight when sleeping on the side.

Shoulder pain from sleeping on the side is quite common, and it can make sleep uncomfortable for you. Also, the pain can extend to other parts of the arm and make extending your arm to reach for something very painful. The shoulder pain can also sometimes result in a weak grip that makes simple things like holding a cup of coffee tedious.

If you are having some shoulder pain from sleeping on the side, it is vital to understand some of the possible cause and how to overcome it.

What Causes Shoulder Pain From Sleeping On The Side?

While many people tend to assume that just sleeping on the side is the cause of shoulder pain, this is not entirely true. How you sleep is what causes the pain as there are many ways of sleeping on the side without developing pain. One of the main causes of this problem is sleeping on the side for long without moving or adjusting your sleep position.

By sleeping on the side for long periods you can develop rotator cuff issues. The rotator cuff is just a collection of muscles and tendons that work together to stabilize the shoulder. And the main causes of pain in relation to the rotator cuff are rotator cuff tears and rotator cuff tendinosis. While both will in most case just make your shoulders painful, they can sometimes result in more serious problems if you do not treat them.

Another common cause of shoulder pain from sleeping on the side is having a mattress that is not supportive enough. If the mattress is not firm enough, your body will sink in and cause an unnatural alignment between the neck, back and shoulder hence resulting in pain. Also, most people will end up using their hands to support their head if their mattress or pillow cannot provide adequate support. And by doing this you will end up subjecting your shoulder to unnecessary strain and pressure.

How To Overcome Side Sleeping Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain tends to get worse at night and it can make it impossible for you to get any sleep. And now that you know some of the common cause the next and probably the most important thing is to learn how to overcome it.

best silk pillowcase

Here are four easy ways to overcome shoulder pain from sleeping on the side.

#1. Choose A Good Pillow

You will probably not want to change your sleep position and even if you want to it will be quite hard for you. Adjusting from sleeping on the side to the back or your stomach is not always easy. The simple thing that you can do will be to change your pillow to something that provides more support for side sleeping. You can also get a special shoulder pain pillow that will support your shoulder and ensure that you do not put any unnecessary weight on it as you sleep.

#2. Position The Pillow Well

Getting the right pillow for shoulder pain is the first step but it will only be helpful if you position or use it well. For the best results, you should position a pillow between your knees to ensure proper hips alignment, behind the back to ease tension on your back and in front of the stomach for proper support. While it is possible to have pillows in all these places, sometimes you will only need one. Where you choose to have it depends on what you find most comfortable.

#3. Get A More Comfortable Mattress

Just like with a pillow, you also need to find a mattress that suits your sleep position. From spring mattresses to memory foam and latex mattresses there are countless options, and you only need to find one that makes it comfortable for you to sleep on the side without developing shoulder pain. The simple idea here is to go for something that is sensitive to pressure points and can preserve the body's natural alignment. And if you do not want to buy a new mattress, you can always go for a topper or pad as they are cheaper alternatives.

#4. Do Some Shoulder Pain Stretches At Night

Shoulder stretches will help to ease the tension that builds up during the day on the muscles and tendons on the shoulder. And doing them can also be an effective way of reducing the likelihood of developing shoulder pain. Stretches will only take a few minutes and they will have many benefits such as increasing the shoulder’s flexibility and range of motion and improving blood flow. All this can be useful in dealing with the shoulder pain.

Bottom Line

Shoulder pain is one of those things that almost all side sleepers will have to deal with at some point. And besides from making it hard for you to fall asleep, it can also affect your everyday routine as it weakens your grip and makes it had to stretch the arm. Luckily there are many ways of dealing with it and also preventing it once you understand the causes. But, regardless of how you choose to deal with it, the first thing should always be to get a high-quality shoulder pain pillow.

  • Jane
  • Updated April 9, 2018

I am Jane Collins, a Founder and a Main Editor of I decided to create this site to share my knowledge, guides and tips to help you to have a good night's sleep.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments