Although sleep is arguably one of the most essential processes our bodies go through every day, far too many people sit in bed, rolling in pain and discomfort. In most cases, many of us believe that neck pain and shoulder pain is simply a symptom of age, poor posture or as a result of a day’s work – but this is seldom the case.
Understanding Shoulder and Neck Pain
If you’re waking up during the night or in the morning with tight shoulders, a sore neck or even find your whole upper body in pain, when it wasn’t like that before bed, then there’s a good chance it’s your mattress – not your daily life.
It’s an excellent idea to take a step back and to analyse the situation at hand first. Try to understand your sleeping position, sleeping habits and how hard it is for you to get comfortable before you finally nod off in the evening.
If you’ve noticed that you’re a side sleeper, then you should figure out if your mattress is allowing your shoulders to dip well into it. If this isn’t happening, you’re going to need to invest in a medium-firm memory foam mattress or latex version. If you’re a back sleeper or tummy sleeper, whose upper body is falling too deep into the bed and causing pain, then it’s time for a firmer mattress.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best mattresses, firmness levels and sleeping styles for certain types of soreness to get you on track to pain relief.
The WinkBed – Innerspring Hybrid
Landing at a top spot on our list, the WinkBed is our premier choice thanks to its great quality, edge strength and pressure point support. This mattress comes in a tonne of varieties that include firmness levels from soft through to very firm, making it an ideal choice for everyone.
You’ll find an innerspring core inside the wink bed, and a fantastic pillow top that provides ideal sinkage for stomach sleepers and their joints. Unlike many innerspring mattresses, the WinkBed doubles down on support with zoned pocketed coils that make sure all joints experience some form of pressure relief.
For back pain sufferers, you’ll be glad to know that there’s optimal sinkage in the pillow top to get the weight off your hips and shoulders for relief. For neck and shoulder pain, the gel polyfoam pillow top again comes in handy here allowing you to experience weight lifted off your shoulders.
The mattress is also ideal for all sleeper weights, with the edge support being an industry leader. You’re able to rely on the entire bed keeping your contour and relieving pain in almost all locations, even the legs.
To end, motion isolation stands out here as does temperature regulation, so you’ll be kept comfortable, uninterrupted and pain free throughout the night.
Huge Selection to Choose From
Designed for Ultimate Support
Reinforced Pocket Springs for Pressure Points
Layla Hybrid – Pocket Coil and Memory Foam
Another mattress trying its hardest to offer the best of both worlds is the Layla Hybrid. The mattress is designed to be flippable and that means you’re able to choose from a soft mattress or a firm mattress with ease.
There’s a fantastic proprietary copper-infused foam in here which keeps sleepers as cool as possible and provides contouring at the same time. This contouring enables support for the neck and shoulders as well as the hips. You’ll find the memory foam layers here also provide different and diverse layers of support as your body sinks into them. The head and chest, for example, will be elevated, whereas your shoulders will be allowed to dip a little more to prevent joint pressure.
With comfort layers made of memory foam, and the added pocket coil springs, the Layla also allows for proper support for heavier sleepers. You’ll have no trouble being supported on the Layla no matter your body weight.
Lastly, the zoned transition foam layers work as a ‘body pillow’ of sorts as you’ll find that after a few minutes you’re essentially encompassed or cradled by the mattress no matter your sleep position. That said, any pain your experiencing should fade within just a few nights.
Flippable Design for Firmness Options
Optimal Pressure Relief
Designed to Keep Cool
Copper Infused Foam
Saatva – Innerspring
A high-quality innerspring mattress, the Saatva, is also your perfect nighttime companion when it comes to relieving neck muscles and ushering in a healthy sleep. Although not quite as soft as a memory foam variant, the Saatva’s firmness ranges from soft through to firm, which gives you the assurance you’ll find the right mattress.
The core of the mattress is made of solid 12-gauge Bonnell Coils, which we’re glad to say match the feel of layers of foam, so there’s still a good feel here. On top of this, the springs ensure there’s plenty of support for back and stomach sleepers who need a firm type of mattress to ensure a ‘straight line’ is kept in their spine.
For added support, there is also a thin layer of micro coils that also make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep. These work to add the extra comfort often found in pillow tops, though with more of a posture-support focus.
Various mattress reviews have outlined that the Saatva is the ideal mattress for back pain, with neck and shoulder pain also deeply improved.
Finally, the Saatva model does offer multiple thicknesses, so if you’re a heavier person, you’ll still be able to get that optimal level of sinkage in your mattress without having to worry about coils not expanding and retracting far enough.
Wide Range of Firmnesses
Two Height Profiles
A Good Bounce
Good for Combination Sleepers
Birch Mattress – Hybrid Mattress with Latex and Coils
The Birch Mattress blends the best of our two favourite materials into a hybrid design with a plush topper, and offers outstanding back support as a result.
Unlike memory foam, latex is a more dense and firm material with a lot of contouring capability. Paired with the coil springs, the Birch works to keep you exceptionally cool as you sleep, while also providing solid support for the back. You won’t find any unnecessary sinkage here.
As a medium-firm fitness, the Birch mattress is ideal for back and tummy sleepers who are looking to keep their spinal alignments in check. If you’re somewhere in the realm of 130 and 230 pounds, then this mattress is perfect for you. The firm coils and latex will make sure you’re not sinking too far, and irritating your pressure points.
To add, the quality of the Birch coil springs mean you’re not likely to hear any squeaks or annoying sounds as you move about the bed. Throughout testing, the Birch Mattresses also did very well in isolating movement and keeping sleepers uninterrupted, which is fantastic if you’re prone to waking up during your sleep when someone moves.
Lastly, when it comes to neck and shoulder pain, the Birch Mattress works similarly to a memory foam model in that it will pull weight from your sore joints, alleviate lower back pain and in turn, loosen the shoulders and neck.
Fantastic Blend of Latex and Coils
Ideal for Back Sleepers
Engineered for Optimal Support
Good Temperature Regulation
Nectar – Memory Foam
To an all-foam mattress, Nectar’s three-layer mattress is the mattress type for side sleepers and combination sleepers.
If there’s only one word to describe the Nectar Mattress, it’s ‘comfortable.’ Everything about the mattress, including its material compress topper, has been designed with comfort in mind. From the top down to the bottom, the Nectar is engineered to be as supportive as possible, and with cooling gel, support foam and pressure relief foam, neck and shoulder pain will be a thing of the past.
As one of our top picks, the Nectar’s top layer of foam is one inch thick, and has been gel-infused to ensure that heat is quickly dispersed to keep sleepers cool. Optimal breathability is continued in the Tencel cover that keeps airflow ideal in warmer climates. Below the top layer, is a three inch layer of breathable memory foam for medium-firm support for back sleepers. Finally, the bottom of the mattress has a one inch thick gel layer, exclusively for pressure relief and heat dispersion.
The medium-firm mattress is ideal for side sleepers, though back sleepers who are light in weight will certainly get a great experience out of the mattress. You’ll be well supported and have no chance of dipping, keeping your back well-aligned. The one year sleep trial will also make sure you’ve had plenty of time to try the mattress out.
Designed for Pressure Point Relief
Breathability from Top to Bottom
Comfortable for Combination Sleepers
Choosing a Mattress for Neck and Shoulder Pain
From our list of mattresses above, it should be clear that good back support is the most important factor in choosing a new mattress to alleviate pain.
Most buyers often head for the softest mattresses simply because they’re going to feel the best at first test, however, these aren’t always ideal. You’ll want to choose a somewhat firm mattress, pop for the right pillow and be sure you’re getting top mattress features like heat regulation.
A few of our top tips are:
Always Support the Back
A mattress that’s too soft is going to dip, and slowly but surely leave you with back pain that leads to sore shoulders and neck. If you’re a back sleeper or stomach sleeper we highly suggest choosing a more firm mattress over a soft, plush one as these will support your back most optimally. For a side sleeper your best bet to combat neck and shoulder pain is a firm lower layer, and an ultra soft upper layer – these will allow for shoulder and hip sinkage, but good spine support.
Memory Foam Can Work Against You
Although memory foam is a fan favourite, for some sleepers it can work to worsen pain in a lot of cases, since it may dip a little too far. If you’re going to choose a memory foam mattress, try select a medium-firm or firm variant. A mattress that’s too soft won’t support your joints and result in lower back pain.
Breathability is Important
A passive issue that can affect neck and shoulder pain is high temperature. If your current mattress or new mattress isn’t designed to keep you cool you’re likely going to be tossing and turning trying to keep cool and ultimately fall asleep in a poor position. Be on the lookout for optimal air flow in your mattress and this will allow you to lie and stay in one ideal position for longer.