Firm Vs Soft Mattress
The mattress you rest on each night plays an important role in the quality of your sleep. If you frequently wake up in the middle of the night with sore
The mattress you rest on each night plays an important role in the quality of your sleep. If you frequently wake up in the middle of the night with sore muscles or feel unrested throughout the day, your bed may not be supporting you correctly. Based on your body type and preferred sleep position, you need a certain mattress firmness so your muscles can fully relax. When you are resting in a healthy, tension-free position, youre more likely to sleep soundly and wake feeling refreshed.
Whether you are a side, back, stomach, or combination sleeper, there is a mattress designed for your specific needs. Throughout this article, we will help you determine the level of comfort that is right for you, whether it be firm or soft.
How To Soften Up A Firm Mattress
Step 1: Check Your Mattress Base
A mattress base can impact how firm your mattress feels. Pairing your mattress with a solid bed base can help make your mattress feel more comfortable. If you choose a poor quality base, on the other hand, it can limit the benefits of even the most high-quality mattress.
Step 2: Add Mattress Pad or Topper
A mattress pad or memory foam mattress topper can add some extra cushion to your sleeping surface. Although the effect wont be as dramatic as it would be if you invested in a brand new, softer mattress, it still provides a layer of pillowy cushion.
To really get the most out of your mattress topper, look for one that is thick and made from high-quality memory foam to get body-hugging contouring.
Step 3: Check the Temperature
If you have a memory foam mattress, it can stiffen in colder temperatures. Try raising the thermostat by a few degrees to soften the memory foam. Be careful raising the temperature too much because if youre too hot while you sleep, you might not sleep as well.
Step 4: Break It In
Step 5: Rotate or Flip Your Mattress
Rotating your mattress can help it wear more evenly and keep it comfortable for a longer period of time.
Whats The Difference Between A Soft Mattress And A Firm Mattress
Soft mattresses feel plush to the touch and sink beneath the sleepers body. They tend to have more comfort layers like memory foam, latex, and soft mattress covers, like a pillow top. Firmer mattresses are just that: more firm to the touch. They tend to contour to the body less on initial touch and typically provide a more even sleeping surface.
While the types of materials used in a mattress impact firmness, how the materials are created and then combined is what ultimately determines firmness level. For example, two all-foam mattresses could have entirely different firmness levels depending on how the foams are layered, the types of foam used, and the mattress cover material.
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Is Sleeping On A Firm Mattress Good For You
Lightweight individuals may not experience enough sinking on a firm mattresscausing spinal misalignment and muscle tension. A firm bed may help support the lumber and relieve lower back pain. However, those with arthritis and joint pain need a mattress that will hug the curves of the body for pressure relief.
Your Pain Is Worse When You Wake Up
If you wake up every morning with aches and pains in your back, it could mean that your mattress is not giving you the support you need. A good, supportive mattress will support your spine, allowing your muscles to relax and decompress as you sleep. But, a bad mattress will deny your spine the support it needs, meaning your muscles will have to work harder to support your spine throughout the night. When you wake up, youll be left with aching muscles and lower back pain.
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Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Firm Mattress
A firm mattress is considered to be a hard mattress that has little or no indentation when you sit or lay on it. Good-quality form mattresses are usually made from memory foam and can vary in firmness.
Extra firm mattresses will have no indentation and medium-firm mattresses will show little indentation under body weight. For more info, lets look at the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing a firm mattress
- Comfortable for every sleeping style, especially for back and stomach sleeping positions.
- A firm mattress might enable a natural body alignment and position, allowing a better, deeper, and uninterrupted sleep.
- A firm mattress resists body weight and prevents the body from sinking into the mattress, which makes it excellent for heavier people.
- For those with back pain, it is believed that a firm mattress provides the necessary back support, especially in the lower lumbar region.
- A firm mattress is great for isolating motion so, if your partner tosses and turns during sleep, youll stay uninterrupted.
Are Hard Mattresses Better For You
Hard mattresses The hard mattress helps keep your body straight and the spine neutral while you are sleeping. And due to this, the pressure on your internal system gets reduced and your body maintains a better flow of functions and efficient blood circulation throughout the night to give you a better sleep.
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Soft Best For Side Sleepers And Sleepers Under 150 Lbs
Soft mattresses tend to be better for lighter weighted sleepers under 150 lbs and sleepers with a lower body fat percentage especially in the side sleeping position with back pain because the reduced surface tension allows you to sink more deeply into the mattress materials to off-set the pressure that would normally build up on your body and in your joints on a firmer mattress.
Soft mattresses can be differentiated further into extra-soft, soft, and medium-soft firmnesses as follows:
Extra-Soft Ideal For Side Sleepers Under 130 lbs
Extra-soft mattresses are best suited to the lightest weighted side sleepers under 130 lbs with back pain because the maximal give afforded by the surface of the mattress can help to dissipate your body weight more evenly across the mattress to reduce the pressure in your joints.
Mattresses with memory foam in the upper comfort layer can be especially beneficial for lighter weighted side sleepers and/or sleepers with a lower body fat percentage because the foam can adapt to your unique body shape to soothe the pressure that you would typically feel on a firmer mattress surface.
Soft Best For 130 150 lbs Side Sleepers
Soft mattresses are best suited to lighter weighted side sleepers in the 130 150 lbs range because the softer than average surface tension allows you to sink into the materials more for better pressure relief.
Medium-Soft Suitable for 130 150 lbs Front, Back, and Side Sleepers
Mattress Types And Firmness
Different types of mattresses utilize different materials, which can also affect the firmness. The following are the four most common mattress styles and the firmness levels you can expect with each.
- Memory Foam Mattresses: Memory foam is available in several different firmness options. Depending on the manufacturing process, memory foam can be either soft or extra firm. When shopping for a memory foam bed, look at the type of memory foam used and the layers supporting it to determine the firmness it will provide.
- Latex Foam Mattresses: There are two types of latex foamDunlop and Talalay latex. Dunlop tends to have a firmer firm, and these beds are typically considered medium-firm. Talalay latex is generally treated with additives to give it a soft to medium feel. Both materials have a natural elasticity that offers a slight bounce.
- Hybrid Mattresses: Hybrid mattresses have a stable coil base and a foam comfort layer. The type of foam used in the top of the bed will determine the firmness you will experience.
- Innerspring Mattresses: The coil springs in the base of an innerspring bed give it a firm feel. These beds tend to have a thinner comfort layer, so they are classified as either medium-firm or firm.
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Best Soft Mattress: Amerisleep As5
Amerisleeps AS5 is their softest model designed to cushion and cradle the pressure points when side sleeping. This mattress is also perfect for lightweight individuals who tend to experience minimal sinking because the Bio-Pur® foam responds with very little pressure.
Since Amerisleeps Bio-Pur® comfort foam is made with plant-based oils, it is naturally more breathable and has more elasticity than most mattress foams. So, while it provides deep contouring, AS5 wont become over-heated and uncomfortable.
Since soft mattresses tend to create excess sinking, Amerisleep includes two unique foam layers that promote a neutral spine. Their Active Flex foam is buoyant to keep the hips and shoulders lifted and aligned, while their Affinity foam with HIVE® technology provides targeted support to the lumbar spine to reduce lower back pain.
These three layers are supported by Amerisleeps Bio-Core® foam, a sturdy material that helps reduce sagging and indentations.
The AS5 also comes with a generous 20-year warranty and a 100-night sleep trial period.
- Ultra-soft comfort layer to prevent pressure points
- Bio-Pur® plant-based foam is non-toxic
- Supportive foam base is resistant to sagging
The Influence Of Sleeping On A Hard Or Soft Bed
Sleeping on a soft surface
the body will bend back into the sagged pit, causing limited freedom of movement and strain for certain muscle groups
Sleeping on a hard surface
a firm mattress will cause higher pressure on certain places
Both with sleeping on a surface thats too soft or too hard, the spine will be supported insufficientlyThose with a bad back require a good balance between support and comfort.
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What We Already Know: The Advantages & Disadvantages
Comfortable For Those With Arthritis And Joint Pain
Those with arthritis and joint pain tend to find relief with a softer mattress that cushions sensitive areas. If these sleepers rest on a firm mattress, it could force the body into uncomfortable sleep positions that exacerbate pain.
The spine should also be kept in a neutral position to alleviate tension. Therefore, the torso must not sink too far down. If you are a heavier sleeper with arthritis, you may be more comfortable on a medium mattress.
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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Sleeping On A Softer Mattress
Soft mattresses specialize in delivering pressure relief. They enable the side sleepers additional flexibility to snuggle in there and reduce the pressure on the hips and shoulders. Soft beds are indeed more generally viewed to be comfortable in comparison to firm mattresses.
Soft mattresses are frequently deficient in support while appearing extremely fluffy and pressure-alleviating. These are sometimes not sufficient to support greater weights therefore, they may not always provide enough support for back and stomach lying.
People might have much more difficulty turning around and changing positions at nighttime when they sleep on a soft bed. Individuals may very well report feeling sweaty since a wide region of their body is really not revealed to the surrounding air as they snuggle in.
What Is A Soft Mattress
Soft mattresses are made up of high-quality and thick comfort layers made from the best materials such as memory foam or latex. These mattresses are 12-14 inches thick while comfort layers are at least 2-4 inches thick. A soft bed would come roughly between 2-3 scale because sleepers would get easily used to it.
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What Is A Plush Mattress
A plush mattress has a softer feel than a firm mattress that youll easier sink into. Plush firmness ought to cradle your body while offering pressure relief to every muscle without sinkage. A pressure relieving plush mattress will give you that soft feel you without aches and pains from lack of support.
Existing Research Votes Firmer Mattress
We know that mattress firmness is not a black and white situation. It is rather a spectrum of firmness options to suit people of different weights, sleeping positions, and ailments. So in saying firmer mattresses were referring to those in the 6-10 firmness levels.
Existing research vouches for mattresses on the firmer side of the scale mainly medium-firm in their ability to relieve chronic back pain, sleep quality, comfort, and efficiency. This was according to a study by Professor Ahmed Radwan, PhD and his colleagues for the National Sleep Foundations journal called Sleep Health. They combined and assessed all available clinical trials to find out the mattress firmness best for back pain, sleep quality, and spinal alignment.
Here are some more interesting data they found:
- Medium to firm mattresses were generally more comfortable than soft mattresses.
- Average shoulder pressure was higher in softer mattresses. A specific research found that firmness levels had to be upped to increase comfort in patients.
- Soft mattresses decrease excessive compressive forces on joints, while firm mattresses help maintain appropriate sleeping posture especially for side-sleepers to avoid the pelvis from sagging.
- The most liked mattresses were ones where the spinal curvature was similar to that of a standing position.
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Benefits Of A Hard Mattress
Benefits Of Firm Mattresses
Although neither one is more or less equipped to provide support, here are the unique benefits that a firm mattress can offer, though it depends on the exact construction of the bed:
- Even weight distribution Sleepers with a tendency to roll around throughout the night will likely enjoy a mattress that ranks higher on the firmness scale. Rather than sinking into a plush mattress and getting stuck in one spot, theyll be able to find a comfortable position no matter where they toss and turn to because the firm sleep surface supports their body weight evenly across the mattress.
- Motion transfer prevention Ever wondered how to keep mattress from sliding around as you reposition your body throughout the night? If youre concerned about disrupting a partner by tossing and turning while you sleep, a firm mattress can help minimize the transfer of disruptive movement from one side of the bed to the other. However, this also has a lot to do with how the internal layers are constructed and assembled.
- Lower back support Back and stomach sleepers especially can benefit from a firmer mattress because it lifts the hips and aligns the spine, which allows the muscles to fully relax. Sinking too deeply into a mattress can put excess pressure on the back, neck, and spine, which adds to rather than alleviates the tension.
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Layer Design Influences Comfort And Support
The way in which the layers of the mattress are designed can influence how the firmness of the mattress is perceived especially when you have back pain because even subtle differences can be felt vividly.
The upper comfort layer of the mattress ties heavily to the level of firmness and also influences the rate of compression and pressure relief that youll experience.
Whilst the lower support layer is dominant in its role of providing support with some mattresses also having an additional transition layer sandwiched between these two layers to stop you from sinking into the support core below and potentially making your back pain worse.
Heres a breakdown of how you can expect the layering design of different mattress types to potentially influence your back pain and comfort levels:
All-foam mattresses can potentially be suitable for all sleeper types if they are selected in the correct firmness, but heavier weighted sleepers may find mattresses with foam in both the comfort and support core to sink in too much, be harder to move around in, and possibly make your back pain worse.
Conversely, lighter weighted sleepers are the most likely to benefit from an all-foam mattress in the correct firmness because the greater capacity for material compression can help to dissipate pressure and help you to maintain good posture.