Sore Shoulder from Sleeping? Tips to Relieve Discomfort

Shoulder pain can really mess with your day and quality of life. If not dealt with, it could get worse. How you sleep is a big reason for this. Bad sleeping positions can press on your shoulder, making it hurt when you wake up.

Getting rid of that sore shoulder feeling is key. You need to know why it happens and how to fix it. Good posture, the right sleep positions, and some stretches can help a lot. With these, you can get better sleep and wake up without as much pain.

Key Takeaways

  • Shoulder pain can change how you live and sleep.
  • How you sleep matters a lot for your shoulder pain.
  • Knowing why your shoulder hurts is the first step to feeling better.
  • Sleeping right, using the right pillows, and changing your habits can ease the pain.
  • If your shoulder keeps hurting, you should see a doctor for help.

Understanding Shoulder Pain from Sleeping

How you sleep can make your shoulders hurt. This is because sleeping on your side can press your shoulders too much. If you have a shoulder or upper arm problem, it can make things worse.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain at Night

If you sleep on your side, you might get bursitis. Bursitis is when a fluid pad in your shoulder gets inflamed. This pad helps your bones move smoothly.

You might also feel pain because of biceps tendonitis or rotator cuff injuries. These can happen from doing the same shoulder movement over and over. Sports like racquet and ball games often cause these injuries.

Prolonged Pressure on the Shoulder

Side sleeping can press on your shoulder for too long. This can cause a lot of pain, especially if your shoulder is already hurt or inflamed.

Bursitis and Tendonitis

Bursitis causes a lot of side sleeping pain. And if your biceps tendon is aching from overuse, it can make your shoulder hurt more at night.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator cuff injuries are big trouble too. If you have a tear, it can mean a lot of pain when you sleep on that side.

Identifying the Root Cause

Shoulder pain, especially during or after sleep, comes from different things. It can be due to doing too much, getting older, or an injury.

Overuse Injuries and Repetitive Motions

Doing the same shoulder movements a lot can hurt it. This is common in sports like tennis. The shoulder gets inflamed and painful from all the action.

Age-Related Degeneration

As people get older, their shoulder tendons weaken. This makes injuries more likely. Sleeping for long periods can also cause pain.

Trauma or Injury

A big fall or lifting something heavy can hurt your shoulder. This might even tear a tendon. This kind of injury is painful, especially at night.

Know what’s causing your shoulder pain to treat it right. Fixing the main issue helps you get better and sleep without pain again.

sore shoulder from sleeping

Waking with shoulder pain is not fun. It stops you from enjoying life. Different things can cause this sleep-related shoulder aches. It could be from using your shoulder too much or getting older. It might also happen from a big injury. Knowing why the shoulder hurts helps in choosing how to fix it.

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In a study, most people who had shoulder pain after sleep slept on their bad shoulder. Injuries to the rotator cuff are often the reason. This can happen from a fall or playing sports like baseball. The first aid for this is to rest and put ice on it. Also, people might suggest doing some special exercises.

Other issues that might make your shoulder hurt more after sleep include shoulder bursitis and shoulder impingement syndrome. They both can come from injuries or doing the same movement over and over. Sometimes, surgery is the answer if things like rest and medicine don’t help. Osteoarthritis of the shoulder is a different reason why your shoulder might feel stiff or hurt when you sleep. Treatment for this might include pain medicine, exercises, or even surgery.

Figuring out what’s making your shoulder sore is key. It’s the first step to better sleep and less pain. Tackling the real issue and treating it right can help you sleep well again.

Immediate Relief Measures

First, try stretching your shoulder before bed. This can help with soreness and reduce pain. Movements like shoulder shrugs, rolls, and wall stretches are simple yet effective.

Stretching and Strengthening Exercises

Gently exercise to make shoulder muscles stronger. Actions like scapular squeezes and shoulder rows can really help. They improve movement and support in your shoulder.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can lessen shoulder pain. They reduce swelling and offer quick relief for discomfort.

Applying Ice or Heat

Using ice or heat on your shoulder can work wonders. Ice cuts down on swelling. Heat boosts blood flow, aiding in the healing process. Try both methods alternately for the best effect.

Optimal Sleeping Positions

The way you sleep can really affect your shoulder pain. Some sleep positions can make pain less, while others can make it worse. You should learn about the best and worst ways to sleep to help your shoulder pain. Then, you can sleep in a way that feels good and supports your shoulder.

Sleeping on Your Back

Back sleepers, listen up. Putting a pillow or towel under one elbow is key. It lifts your shoulder joint to keep it supported right. This way of back sleeping can make your rotator cuff feel better and help your whole shoulder line up well.

Sleeping on Your Side

For side sleepers, lay on the side that doesn’t hurt and hold a pillow. This stops your sore shoulder from getting squished too much. It’s great for folks with bursitis or shoulder trouble because it keeps things in line without pressing too hard.

Avoiding Stomach Sleeping

Try not to sleep on your stomach if your shoulder hurts. This makes your neck and shoulder twist in bad ways. It can make your shoulder feel worse and hurt more when you wake up.

Supportive Sleep Accessories

Do you wake up with a sore shoulder from sleeping? Try adding supportive sleep accessories. They can really ease your shoulder pain after sleep. The right pillow and a shoulder brace or sleeve are key.

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Choosing the Right Pillow

Finding the best pillow is crucial. It should help your shoulder yet support your head and neck well. Pillows that keep your spine straight and your shoulders level are great. Consider memory foam or contoured pillows for the best sleeping posture discomfort relief if you sleep on your side.

Using a Shoulder Brace or Compression Sleeve

If you’re dealing with night shoulder stiffness or sleep-related shoulder aches, a brace or sleeve might help. They’re good for injuries or overuse. These helpers give your shoulder some gentle support and pressure. This can help your shoulder heal and reduce post-sleep shoulder soreness.

Add these helpful sleep accessories to your night routine. It’s a great way to battle nocturnal shoulder strain and improper sleep positioning shoulder pain. You’ll see better sleep and feel more comfortable every day.

Creating a Comfortable Sleep Environment

To get rid of shoulder pain, good sleep is key. Your bed and pillow should support you well. They stop your body from hurting by relieving pressure, that can lead to shoulder pain.

Investing in a Quality Mattress

The right mattress is very important. It should fit your body’s shape. This means it’ll help keep your shoulders and back comfortable. Memory foam mattresses are great for this. They adjust to your body, reducing shoulder pain.

Maintaining a Cool and Dark Bedroom

A comfy sleep space means keeping your room cool, dark, and quiet. Bright lights and heat at night can mess up your sleep. This can make shoulder pain worse. A cool, dark room helps you sleep better and lets your body heal.

Minimizing Noise Disturbances

Loud noises can disturb your sleep and make your shoulders hurt. A white noise machine or earplugs might help. They create a calm sleep space. This is good for people with shoulder pain at night.

Lifestyle Modifications for Better Sleep

Having a solid bedtime routine is key for great sleep. It makes your body know when to sleep. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed is smart too. You can try relaxing with some stretches or deep breaths. This all helps your body relax, making sleep better.

Establishing a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is important. It keeps your body’s sleep on track. A steady routine also means you wake up feeling less sore. This way, you sleep better and your body feels good in the morning.

Avoiding Stimulants Before Bedtime

Drinking coffee or alcohol too close to bedtime is a bad idea. It messes up your sleep and can make your shoulders hurt. These things mess with your natural sleep patterns. Then, you might spend the night tossing and turning.

Incorporating Relaxation Techniques

Relaxing before bed can make a big difference. Try gentle stretches or deep breathing. These methods help your muscles relax. This leads to a night where your shoulders feel much better in the morning.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If shoulder pain stops you from doing normal things, it’s time to see a doctor. If there is extra pain, like swelling or redness, or you feel feverish, get medical help fast. Also, if shoulder pain comes with numbness or tingling in your arm or hand, don’t ignore it.

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Severe or Persistent Pain

Bad, lasting shoulder pain means it’s time to visit a doctor. They can check you out, do tests, and find the best way to help. This might include taking medicines, doing exercises, or even surgery, if it’s really needed.

Additional Symptoms like Swelling or Fever

If your shoulder pain comes with other signs like swelling, redness, or fever, don’t wait to see a doctor. These could be signs of something more serious, like bursitis or infection. The sooner you get treatment, the better.

History of Shoulder Injuries or Weakness

Already had shoulder injuries? Feeling weakness, numbness, or tingling with shoulder pain? It’s wise to seek medical advice. These signs might mean something more, like rotator cuff tears or nerve impingement. You might need special care.


Shoulder pain from sleeping can really hold you back. It can make your life less fun. But, you can fight it. Learn why your shoulder hurts. It could be from using it too much or getting older. Healing from a big injury can also cause pain.

There are things you can do right now to feel better. Try stretching. Or, take some medicine you can buy without a doctor. Putting ice or something warm on your shoulder might help too.

Sleep right to make your shoulder feel less sore. Lay on your back or side. Use a good pillow. Or, wear a shoulder brace. These things can all make a big difference.

Make your bed fit for a king or queen. A great mattress is key. Keep your room cold, dark, and quiet for the best sleep. This can help in many ways.

If the pain won’t go away, see a doctor. They can tell you what’s wrong. And, they’ll know how to help. They might suggest therapy. Or, they might say you need an operation. Doing what the doctor says can put you on track to sleep without pain again.


What are the common causes of shoulder pain from sleeping?

If your shoulder hurts after sleeping, it might be due to pressure. Bursitis, tendonitis, and rotator cuff issues also play a role.

How can overuse injuries and repetitive motions lead to shoulder pain?

Doing the same shoulder movements a lot can hurt it over time. This creates swelling and ache in that area.

What are some immediate relief measures for shoulder pain?

Quick fixes for shoulder pain include exercises, certain pills, and ice or heat. These things can make it feel better now.

What are the optimal sleeping positions for shoulder pain?

To sleep better with shoulder pain, try laying on a pillow or towel. Also, sleep on your good side with a hug pillow.

How can supportive sleep accessories help with shoulder pain?

A good pillow, a shoulder brace, and a nice mattress are great choices. They lessen shoulder pressure and can stop the pain.

When should you seek medical attention for shoulder pain?

See a doctor if your shoulder pain is bad and doesn’t go away. If it comes with swelling, red skin, or feels weak, it’s best to get help.