Firm or Soft Mattress: Which Do I Need?

Firm or Soft Mattress: Which Do I Need?

Do you often toss and turn, searching for that elusive, comfortable sleep every night? Did you ever think that the culprit of your restless nights might be lurking right beneath you—your mattress?

We cannot deny the fact that, apart from our comfortable sleeping environment and plush surfaces and pillows, our mattress is the foundation of a good night's sleep. When choosing the perfect mattress, you'll probably come across two common choices: a firm or soft mattress.

Each option comes with its own set of advantages and considerations, making it important to understand the differences and identify which one suits and supports your preferred sleeping position.


What Makes a Suitable Mattress?

What Makes a Suitable Mattress?

You may be wondering: what makes a perfect mattress "perfect" and what makes a best mattress "best"?

To answer this question, it is important to understand that such inquiries relate to your subjective choices and points of view that align with your own sleep needs and unique personal preferences. There's no one-size-fits-all kind of mattress, so it is essential to assess your own needs and preferences while keeping in mind that a suitable mattress is one that provides optimal comfort and support layer technologies that accommodate all your unique sleep preferences and needs.

Whether it's a firm or soft mattress, it should strike a balance in between, promote proper spinal alignment, and provide pressure relief for a restful night's sleep.


How Does Your Preferred Sleeping Position Affect Your Mattress Choice?

How Does Your Preferred Sleeping Position Affect Your Mattress Choice?

The ideal mattress choice depends from person to person. When shopping and selecting the new mattress or the perfect mattress for you, it's a good idea to test different types and firmness scales or levels of the mattress to determine which one offers the best support and comfort for your personal sleeping preferences.

Different sleep positions dictate different demands on your body. Here's how your preferred sleep position can affect your mattress choice:


Back Sleepers

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers generally benefit from a mattress that provides good lumbar support that helps achieve natural spinal alignment. So, a medium firm mattress to firm mattress is usually the best choice for back sleepers because it helps prevent the lower back from sinking to deeply into the mattress.


Side Sleepers

Side Sleepers

Side sleepers need a mattress that allows their shoulders and hips to sink in slightly to maintain proper spinal alignment, so a medium-soft to medium mattress with sufficient or enough cushioning can help relieve pressure points and alleviate hip pain.


Stomach Sleepers

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers or tummy sleepers often need a firmer mattress to prevent excessive sinking of the hips, which can cause the spinal cord to curve unnaturally. Thus, a medium-firm to firm mattress is best suited because it provides the needed and necessary support for stomach sleepers.


Combination Sleepers

Combination Sleeper

A combination sleeper who switches between various positions may benefit from a medium-firm mattress because it strikes a balance between support and comfort and can accommodate different sleeping styles.


Couples with Different Sleep Preferences

Couples with Different Sleep Preferences

If you share a bed with a partner who has a different preferred sleep position, consider a mattress with customisable firmness scale or levels to accommodate both of your partner's needs.


Health Considerations

Health Considerations

If you have specific health concerns, such as chronic back pain or arthritis, consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best mattress for your condition, or consult with a certified sleep science coach. In some cases, they may recommend a specialised mattress, such as a memory foam mattress or latex mattress, to provide the necessary support and comfort.

However, it is important to keep in mind that mattress preferences can change over time, so regularly reassess your mattress if your sleep habits or comfort levels change.


What are Mattress Firmness Levels Categories and What Do They Mean?

Mattress firmness levels are categorised on a scale that helps describe how soft or firm a mattress feels. These categories typically range from "soft" to "firm" and sometimes include variations in between.

Here's a breakdown of common mattress firmness levels and what they mean:


Ultra-Soft (1-2/10)

These mattresses are so exceptionally soft that some call them plush beds or soft beds, which are the best for those who prefer a cloud-like sleeping experience and have pressure-relieving properties.


Soft (3-4/10)

Soft mattresses offer a comfortable and plush feel. They contour to your body but provide more support than an ultra-soft mattress.


Medium (5-6/10)

Medium-firm mattresses are the most popular and versatile choice, as they can provide a balanced mix of support and comfort.


Medium Firm (6-7/10)

Medium-firm mattresses offer a slightly firmer mattress feel, but they provide more support for those who need it and are ideal for stomach sleeping because of their softness and good support.


Firm (7-8/10)

Firm mattresses or firm beds are quite rigid and offer minimal support, but they provide excellent support and are often recommended for stomach sleepers and back sleepers.


Extra Firm (9-10/10)

Extra-firm mattresses are designed for people who require maximum support, such as those with back pain or specific medical conditions. However, it is not recommended for most individuals due to their lack of comfort.

Keep in mind that individual preferences for mattress firmness vary greatly, so what feels comfortable to one person may not feel the same to another. Factors like body weight, sleeping position, and personal preferences all play an important role in determining the ideal firmness level for you.


Who Benefits Most from a Firm Mattress?

Who Benefits Most from a Firm Mattress

A firm mattress can benefit different people in many ways, depending on their sleep preferences, body type, and specific needs. However, here are some groups of people who may benefit most from a firm mattress or firm bed:


Back Sleepers

Firm mattresses provide support for people who sleep on their backs because they help maintain proper spinal alignment and reduce the risk of developing lower back pain.


Heavier Individuals

People with a higher body weight may find firm mattresses more comfortable as they offer better support and prevent sinking too deeply into the mattress, which can lead to discomfort and misalignment on softer mattresses.


Those with Back Pain

Firm mattresses can help alleviate back pain for some people by providing a stable, firm support and supportive surface that gives superior pressure relief on the spine and muscles.


Stomach Sleepers

Average-weight stomach sleepers often benefit from firm mattresses as they help keep the body in a more neutral position, reducing the likelihood of neck and back pain.


Combination Sleepers

People who switch between different positions during the night may find that a firm mattress offers the versatility needed to support their different sleeping postures.


Those Seeking Durability

Firm mattresses tend to be more durable than softer mattresses or soft beds, as they are less likely to develop sagging over time, which can be appealing to individuals looking for a long-lasting mattress.


What are the Pros and Cons of Sleeping on a Firm Mattress?

What are the Pros and Cons of Sleeping on a Firm Mattress

Of course, if there are pros, there will be cons. Mattress firmness has its own advantages and disadvantages that cannot be avoided because every individual has their own preferences and requirements when it comes to their own comfort.


Pros of Firm Mattress

  • Has high quality support layer especially for back and spine

  • Reduced pressure points

  • Longevity

  • Less motion transfer

  • Allergy-Friendly


Cons of Firm Mattress

  • Firmer bed may not be comfortable for everyone. Some people find them too hard and uncomfortable, leading to pressure points and discomfort during sleep.

  • Lack of cushioning

  • Not suitable for all sleep positions


Who Should Consider a Soft Mattress?

Who Should Consider a Soft Mattress

A soft mattress can be suitable for certain individuals, but of course, it is important to note that mattress preference is highly subjective and depends on several factors. Nevertheless, here are some types of people who might consider a soft mattress:


Side Sleepers

Soft mattresses often provide better pressure relief for side sleepers because they conform to the curves of the body and help alleviate pressure on the shoulders and hips.


Lighter Individuals

Average-weight stomach sleepers and other people who are lighter in weight may find that a soft mattress offers proper support layer technologies and comfort, as they may not sink into the mattress too much.


Those with Joint Pain

Soft mattresses can be more forgiving on joints, making them ideal for those who have conditions like arthritis and joint pain.


Those Who Prefer Plush Feel or Plush Pressure Relief

Some people simply prefer the plush and cushioned feel of a soft mattress, and it suits their sleep preferences.


Couples with Varying Preferences

In cases where one partner prefers a softer mattress while the other prefers a firmer one, a compromise can be a medium-firm mattress with a mattress topper to add softness on one side.


What are the Pros and Cons of Sleeping on a Soft Mattress?

What are the Pros and Cons of Sleeping on a Soft Mattress?

Sleeping on a soft mattress can provide comfort and plush pressure relief for some individuals, especially side sleepers, but it may lack the necessary support for others.


Pros of Soft Mattress

  • Comfortable for people who prefer a plush and cushioned feel.

  • Pressure relief

  • Motion isolation

  • Ideal for side sleepers


Cons of Soft Mattress

  • Soft mattresses may not provide proper support, especially for back and stomach sleepers.

  • Soft mattresses can wear out more quickly than firmer mattresses.

  • Not ideal for hot sleepers because some soft mattresses, particularly those made with memory foam, may trap body heat and become uncomfortably warm during the night.

  • Prone to sagging over time, which can further reduce their support.

  • Tends to be more expensive than a firmer mattress.


How Does Your Mattress Choice Impact Your Sleep Quality?

How Does Your Mattress Choice Impact Your Sleep Quality

A common mistake that we often commit is that we think that the bigger the mattress or bed, the greater the comfort. The truth is, although comfort is highly subjective, there are still different factors that could either help or affect our sleep comfort. For instance, the kind or type of mattress we choose

Remember that when it comes to a mattress, you are not only investing in the aesthetics it can bring to your place, but you are also investing in your overall well-being. So, you should not choose the most beautiful mattress, but you also have to consider its firmness and materials that can either promote restful sleep or contribute to discomfort and disrupted sleep.

For example, a mattress that is too firm may create pressure points on your body that may cause aches and pains. While a softer mattress may provide proper support, that may lead to poor spinal alignment.


How Does Memory Foam Compare to Other Mattress When it Comes Firm vs Soft Mattress?

How Does Memory Foam Compare to Other Mattress When it Comes Firm vs Soft Mattress

Memory foam mattresses have specific characteristics that distinguish them from other types when it comes to firm vs. soft mattresses. But here's how memory foam mattresses compare to other mattress types in terms of firmness and softness:


Memory Foam Mattresses

Firmness: Memory foam mattresses are available in a range of firmness levels, from soft to firm, which are determined by the density and thickness of the memory foam layer.

Softness: Memory foam is known for its ability to contour to your body's shape, providing a plush mattress feel. Softer memory foam mattresses offer a hugging sensation, while firmer mattresses provide more support with less sinkage.


Innerspring Mattresses

Firmness: Innerspring mattresses tend to be firmer, especially those with a higher coil count, but still, the firmness depends on the thickness and gauge of the coils.

Softness: Innerspring mattresses can also be made with pillow tops that add a layer of cushioning for a softer feel. However, they typically offer less conforming support compared to memory foam.


Latex Mattresses

Firmness: Latex mattresses come in various firmness levels, but the firmness depends on the type of latex used (natural or synthetic) and the manufacturing process.

Softness: Latex mattresses provide a supportive yet responsive surface and can offer a good balance between support and comfort, depending on the firmness level you choose.


Hybrid Mattresses

Firmness: Hybrid mattresses combine innerspring coils with foam or latex layers, whose firmness can vary widely depending on the materials and their arrangement.

Softness: Hybrid mattresses can be designed to have a softer top layer, such as memory foam or latex, for added comfort. Also, the firm or soft mattresses made in hybrids can be customised based on your preferences.



What is the difference between firm and soft mattresses?

The main difference lies in the level of firmness or softness. A firm mattress offers more resistance when you lie on it, providing better support for your back and spine. In contrast, a soft mattress conforms to your body's shape, offering a plush and cushioned feel.


Is a soft mattress better for people with back pain?

Not necessarily. While some people with back pain may find relief on a soft mattress due to its conforming nature, others may require a firmer surface for better support. However, it's essential to consider individual preferences and consult with a healthcare professional if you have chronic back issues or a certified sleep science coach for more straightforward advice.


Which sleeping positions are best suited for firm mattresses?

Firm mattresses are generally better for back and stomach sleepers because they help maintain proper spinal alignment, reducing the risk of back pain and discomfort.



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