Purchasing best mattress can be a difficult task, especially with so many alternatives available nowadays. Choosing between a firm and a soft mattress is a common challenge when you go to buy mattress online or offline. Some individuals swear by the advantages of a firm mattress, while others prefer the comfortable cushioning of a soft mattress.
But which one of these is ideally good for you?
The answer to that is not simple, because it is dependent on various factors such as body weight, sleeping position, and any medical issues. Don't worry though because we'll assist you in determining whether a firm or soft mattress is best for you.
Mattress firmness categorization
Mattress’s firmness options range from Extra soft to soft or plush, and medium-soft to medium-firm, firm, and extra-firm and are graded from 1-10 on a scale with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. The following is a general guide for mattress firmness categorization:
Extra Soft: These mattresses are exceptionally soft and give a lot of sinkage, making them suitable for persons who enjoy a cloud-like, cushioned sleeping surface.
Soft | Plush: Plush firmness mattresses are softer than usual and provide a moderate amount of sinkage and contouring. People who like a softer resting surface may appreciate these mattresses.
Medium-Soft: Mattresses with a medium-soft firmness level offer a balance between softness and support. These mattresses are ideal for people who prefer a slightly softer sleeping surface with some support.
Medium-Firm: Mattresses with a medium-firm firmness level are the most common, as they offer a balance between support and softness. These mattresses are ideal for people who prefer a firmer sleeping surface with some support and plushness.
Firm: Mattresses with a firm firmness level is sturdy, and supportive and don’t sink much, making this ideal for people who prefer a firmer sleeping surface.
Extra-Firm: Mattresses with an extra-firm firmness level are extremely firm and offer almost no sinkage and are ideal for people who prefer a firmer or hard bed.
What is a firm mattress and its benefits?
Firm beds provide a relatively hard sleeping surface with minimal give. It is typically made with high-density materials such as memory foam, latex, or innerspring coils. Here are some benefits of sleeping on a firm bed:
Better Spinal Alignment: Firm mattresses provide a stable sleeping surface and adequate support to the natural curves of your body and help in maintaining proper spinal alignment while you sleep. This can help alleviate back pain and reduce the risk of developing spinal problems.
Better Support: It can provide adequate support to your body by equally dispersing your body weight and eliminating pressure spots, particularly if you are bigger or have a larger body structure. It also reduces the likelihood of poor alignment and pain by avoiding excessive sinking.
Improved Posture: A firm bed can help you improve your posture by keeping your spine upright and preventing you from sinking too far into the bed. This can help reduce tension in your neck, shoulders, and back while also lowering the risk of developing back problems.
Pressure point relief: Firm sleep surfaces distribute your body weight uniformly across the bed and don't place too much strain on one part, such as your hips, shoulders, or lower back, eliminating pressure points. As a result, many orthopaedic mattresses for back pain are designed to be firmer.
Long-lasting: Firm mattresses are more durable than soft mattresses because they are less likely to develop sagging or indentations over time. This means you can enjoy a nice sleeping surface for a longer amount of time before replacing your mattress.
Who should buy a firm mattress?
Back sleepers: Firm mattresses are typically best for back sleepers as they give the required support to preserve appropriate spinal alignment and prevent drooping in the lower back, lowering the risk of discomfort.
Stomach sleepers: Stomach sleepers can benefit from a firm mattress as it helps keep the body in a more neutral position. A firm surface can prevent excessive sinking of the hips and maintain better spinal alignment for this sleeping position.
Individuals with back pain: If you experience chronic back pain, a firm mattress may provide the necessary support to alleviate discomfort and promote proper alignment. However, it's important to note that not every back pain can be lessened with a mattress, so if you are suffering from persistent back pain it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional.
Heavier individuals: Firm mattresses offer the necessary support to prevent excessive sinking and maintain proper alignment, making these best suited for individuals with higher body weight.
Drawbacks of firm mattresses?
While firm beds have their benefits, they may not be suitable for everyone. Here is why;
Lack of contouring: A firm mattress may not provide as much contouring or pressure relief as a softer one, so if you have pressure-sensitive areas, such as bony prominences or joint problems, you might want to avoid it.
Discomfort for side sleepers: Side sleepers frequently demand a bed with greater give to suit their body's natural curves and ease pressure on their hips and shoulders. A firm mattress may lack appropriate contouring, resulting in pressure spots for side sleepers.
Limited motion absorption: Firm mattresses typically have less motion absorption capability. If you share the bed with a partner who tends to move around during sleep, the firm surface may transmit more motion, leading to disturbances and potential sleep disruptions.
Initial adjustment period: Switching to a firm mattress from a softer one may require an adjustment period. Your body may take some time to adapt to the firmer surface, and it's possible to experience temporary discomfort until you become accustomed to it.
Individuals who may want to avoid sleeping on firm mattresses include:
Side sleepers: As mentioned earlier, side sleepers generally benefit from a bed that offers more contouring and pressure relief, which is often provided by medium to medium-firm mattresses. If you are a side sleeper, go for a medium to medium firm mattress instead of a firm or extra firm.
People with chronic pain or pressure-sensitive areas: If you have chronic pain issues or specific pressure-sensitive areas, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia, a firm mattress may exacerbate discomfort instead of providing relief. Softer mattresses with better pressure relief might be more suitable.
Individuals seeking a plush or cushioned feel: Some people simply prefer a softer, plusher sleeping surface for the comfort and luxurious feel it provides. If you enjoy sinking into your bed and prefer a gentle cradling sensation, a firm mattress may not offer the desired level of softness.
What is a soft mattress and its benefits?
A soft mattress offers a plush and cushioned sleeping surface. It is designed to provide a gentle and contouring feel, allowing your body to sink into it. Here are some benefits of a soft mattress:
Pressure relief: Soft mattresses are very effective at relieving pressure spots. They contour to your body's curves, effectively distributing your weight and relieving strain on sensitive areas such as your hips, shoulders, and joints. This can be especially effective for people who have discomfort or pain in certain regions.
Enhanced Comfort: It provides a plush and cosy feel, offering a high level of comfort and can create a luxurious sleeping experience, especially for individuals who prefer a more cushioned surface.
Spinal Alignment: Some high-quality soft mattresses, despite their softer feel, can provide proper spinal alignment and reduce the risk of back or neck pain by conforming the body and giving support where needed.
Motion Isolation: Soft mattresses are generally effective at isolating motion. This means that movements on one side of the bed are less likely to transfer to the other side, allowing for more undisturbed sleep. This can be advantageous for couples or individuals who are easily disturbed by their partner's movements during the night.
Who should buy a soft mattress?
Side Sleepers: Side sleepers are often recommended to use soft mattresses, as they can provide exceptional pressure relief for the hips and shoulders, which typically bear more weight in this sleeping position. Its contouring properties can help maintain proper spinal alignment for side sleepers as well.
Lightweight Individuals: A soft mattress may be more comfortable for people who are lighter in weight. Because they put less pressure on the bed, a soft surface can provide enough support and contouring for their bodies, avoiding pain that might arise with a firmer mattress.
Individuals with joint pain or arthritis: Soft mattresses can be beneficial for individuals with joint pain or conditions like arthritis. The cushioning effect of a soft mattress helps to alleviate pressure on the joints, reducing pain and promoting more restful sleep.
Combination Sleepers: Combination sleepers who frequently change their sleeping positions throughout the night can benefit from a soft mattress. Its ability to contour to different body positions can provide comfort and support, regardless of the sleeping posture.
It's important to note that mattress preferences can vary from person to person. Some individuals may find a soft mattress too plush and lacking in support. It's advisable to try different mattress types and firmness levels to determine what works best for your body and personal comfort preferences.
Drawbacks of soft mattresses?
While soft mattresses have their benefits, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider. Here are a few drawbacks of a soft mattress:
Lack of support: Soft mattresses may lack the necessary support for certain individuals. The plush and cushioned surface can cause excessive sinking, which can lead to poor spinal alignment and potential back or neck pain, especially for individuals who require more firm support.
Reduced durability: Soft mattresses tend to have less durability compared to firmer ones. The soft materials may compress more quickly over time, leading to sagging or indentations. This can affect the overall lifespan and supportiveness of the mattress.
Heat retention: Soft mattresses, particularly those made with certain materials like memory foam, tend to trap body heat. This can result in sleeping hot and discomfort, especially for individuals who naturally sleep warm or live in warmer climates.
Difficulty of movement: The contouring properties of a soft mattress can make it more difficult to change positions or get in and out of bed. The sinking feeling may restrict movement, which can be challenging for individuals who require ease of mobility or have physical limitations.
Who should avoid sleeping on a soft mattress?
Stomach sleepers: Soft mattresses can cause the hips and abdomen to sink too deeply, which can lead to an unnatural curve in the spine and strain on the lower back for stomach sleepers. A firmer mattress is generally more suitable for maintaining proper spinal alignment in this sleeping position.
Heavier individuals: Soft mattresses can cause excessive sinking and may not provide enough support to prevent discomfort and preserve good alignment for people with heavier bodies. So for heavier people, it is recommended to use firmer mattresses with more support and sturdiness.
Individuals with certain back conditions: An extremely soft mattress lacks support and gives excessive sinkage, which can cause discomfort and possible spinal misalignment, exacerbating the problem for people with back illnesses such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis.
Individuals who prefer a firmer sleeping surface: Personal preference is important in mattress selection. If you want a harder sleeping surface or have had better results in the past with firmer mattresses, a soft mattress may not provide the support or sensation that you seek.
It's crucial to know that mattress preferences might differ greatly among people. While some individuals prefer soft mattresses for their sinking cushy feel, others may prefer hard mattresses for their solid support and reduced sinkage. Pay attention to your body's needs and then get a mattress that fulfils those needs.
It is also true that your choices may vary over time depending on your needs. Choose a dual side mattress, such as the Amore Bond, to have both soft and firm sides. It's a good idea to experiment with various mattress firmness levels from time to time to see what works best for your body and personal comfort preferences. You can also speak with one of our mattress specialists to determine which mattress is best for you.