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Is It Better To Have A Firm Or Soft Mattress

What Firmness Of Mattress Is Best

Firm vs Soft Mattress – Which One Should You Get?

Many sleep experts recommend a mattress of medium firmness. However, A mattress that eases the sensitive pressure points of the hips and shoulders is the most important factor to consider. A pressure relieving mattress will gently support the contours of your body, align the spine, and offer superior comfort. Whether you prefer a soft or firm mattress is your personal preference.

Soft Or Firm Mattress: Which Is Better For Side Sleepers

All sleep experts recommend side sleeping for better rest and healthier life. Statistically, most people favor sleeping on their side, even though we tend to change positions during sleep. Considering these two facts, many mattress manufacturers and retailers advertise various models as being the best for side sleepers. But the truth is that such products must present a few unique traits to make side sleeping a truly comfortable experience.

We have heard several myths regarding those features, and Ive noticed that the central debate focused on their level of firmness. Some say softer is best, others advocate for a higher degree of stiffness. Let me expose both tales:

Differences Between Firm And Soft Mattresses

Mattress firmness is rated on a scale of 1-10, from softest to firmest. Soft mattresses are fluffier and sink in when you lie on them. Firm mattresses are harder and have less give. Most people actually prefer something in the middleabout medium-firm.

The firmness scale is a great starting point to compare mattresses. But keep in mind that firmness is a very personal thing.

Different body types experience firmness differently. For example, a heavier person will find that many mattresses feel softer than their rating. That’s because heavy people put more weight on the mattress, so it softens and sinks in.

In general, innerspring beds tend to be firmer, while foam beds are typically softer. But you can definitely find soft or firm mattresses of any type.

Some mattress brands actually have multiple firmness levels for you to choose from. The Saatva Classic, for example, comes in soft, medium-firm, and firm. If you’re in the market for a comfortable innerspring mattress, be sure to check them out.

Is a firm or soft mattress better for back pain?

Most people find that a medium-firm mattress adequately supports them. But depending on your weight and sleep style, you might have different needs.

Why does firmness even matter when shopping for a new mattress? Find out below how your bed’s firmness level affects your body.

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What Are Firm Mattresses Good For

The best firm mattress, on the other hand, provides a stable surface to sleep on which helps to improve circulation. Rather than sinking into the mattress, your bones will absorb most of the pressure putting less stress on your muscles and arteries. Another advantage is that a firm mattress helps to keep your back straight and provides even support for your whole body.

If you dont have back issues or if you sleep on your stomach, a firm mattress can provide you with excellent support

However, for those who have back issues or weak bones – the added pressure of a firm mattress might lead to an uncomfortable nights sleep.

If you dont have back issues or if you sleep on your stomach, a firm mattress can provide you with excellent support. Meaning you will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go!

Firm Or Plush Mattress: Which Should You Choose

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Squishy and soft or solid and firm? Thats the question that every sleeper has to answer for themselves when it comes to selecting the right mattress.

Mattresses differ just as much as sleepers do and there is no singular degree of firmness or plushness that earns the top spot for sound sleep. Its all about personal preferencethose who want to sink into their mattress the way they sink into a warm, welcoming hug will prefer the plush qualities of a soft mattress, while those who want to rest comfortably atop theirmattress will love the supportive rigidity of a firmer bed.

So, which is the right mattress for you?

Whether you want the plush softness of our Nova Hybrid or the unwavered firmness of the Wave Hybrid, your mattresses got your back, literally.

Beyond identifying your sleeping preferences, youll want to understand the nuances of both firm and soft mattresses, and how both can be plenty supportive regardless of how squishy the materials are. In this blog, well cover the differences between a plush vs. firm mattress, the benefits of each, and what to consider when making a purchase.

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Whats The Difference Between A Firm And Soft Mattress

When shopping for a new mattress, you have likely noticed that each one comes with a firmness level. But, how is this level determined? Many brands rely on a standard firmness scale from 1 to 10with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. Firm and soft mattresses are at opposite ends of this scale. That said, youll rarely find mattresses rated as a 10 or a 1 because those are extremely firm and extremely soft beds that arent commonly made.

A firm mattress rates between a 9 and a 7 on the firmness scale. These beds have very little give, so the surface tends to remain even and allows for little sinking.

A soft mattress rates between a 2 and a 3 on the firmness scale. These beds compress quickly and easier when pressure is applied. Most sleepers experience some level of sinking when resting on a soft bed.

When To Buy A Mattress With A Medium Firmness

A mattress designed with a medium firmness level essentially establishes a compromise between support and pressure relief. As mattresses with a medium level of firmness provide an optimal design for an estimated 80 percent of sleepers, individuals looking to purchase a new mattress may want to consider their options in this mid-tier range.

Here are the groups that will likely enjoy a medium firmness mattress.

  • Combo sleepers. Many people dont conform to a strict sleeping position. With a medium mattress, combination sleepers maintain pressure relief while lying on their side while maintaining spinal alignment while lying on their back or stomach.
  • Small or average-sized body types. If youre petite or under around ~200 lbs, we especially think you can get away with a mattress with a medium firmness regardless of your sleeper type because its so balanced.
  • Couples with different sleeping styles. By combining features that provide both cushion and support, a mattress in the medium firmness category works to provide comfort and restfulness all the way around.

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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.


Traditional Spring

What Is A Plush Mattress

Firm vs Soft Mattress (Which Type Of Bed Is Best For You?)

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.

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Suitable For Lightweight Sleepers

Whether resting on their side, back, or stomach, lighter individuals , will naturally experience very little sinking. If these individuals sleep on a firm mattress, tension can build-up near the pressure pointscreating pain and stiffness. Lightweight sleepers need a soft bed that will quickly respond to their body weight for adequate contouring.

Advantages Of Soft Mattresses

For people who dont usually need as much support, a soft mattress can be a dream come true. Theres nothing quite like falling asleep on something that feels like a cloud every night.

Soft mattresses, especially memory foam mattresses, contour to the natural curves of your body. A soft mattress can cradle you to a great nights sleep.

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How To Choose Between A Firm Or Soft Mattress

Choosing between mattress firmnesses comes down to your sleeping position and size. Firm mattresses are a good option for large sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers. Conversely, soft mattresses work well for petite sleepers and side sleepers.

However, soft and firm mattresses arent the only firmnesses out there. If both of these seem too extreme for you, its worth looking into more balanced mattresses, such as a medium-soft, medium, or medium-firm mattresses.

If youre unsure what the best mattress firmness for you is, always take advantage of sleep trials. Nearly every reliable mattress brand will offer some sort of sleep trial lasting between 30 to 365 days for you to test your mattress at home. With this trial period, you can truly get a feel for a mattress and decide if you want to keep it long-term.

Drawbacks Of A Soft Mattress

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Though they can seem more comfortable and luxurious, a soft mattress can actually cause back problems for back and stomach sleepers, and those of a heavier weight.

Soft mattresses can also be problematic for bed sharers. The heavier partner may sink further in, making the sleep surface unbalanced. Finding a firmness that suits both parties can be tricky.

In some cases, soft mattresses may be less long lasting than firm. All types of mattress tend to become softer over time, so starting from an already soft baseline can lead mattresses to become unusable after a shorter amount of time, though there are still many models that have excellent durability, even with a softer feel.

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Whats A Soft Mattress

On the mattress firmness scale, soft mattresses are roughly between a 2 to 3. A soft bed is highly responsive and easily conforms under a sleepers body.

Whats unique to soft mattresses is their thick comfort layer made from materials such as memory foam or latex. The mattresses are usually about 12 to 14 inches thick, while the comfort layers are at least 2 to 4 inches thick.

What Type Of Mattress Is Best For People With Low Back Pain

Back pain is one of the top reasons that people begin to lose mobility in middle age. Pain can keep people from engaging in physical activity, making it more difficult for them to maintain a healthy weight and keep up their strength, stamina, and balance as they age. So treating and managing back pain that results from injuries or health problems is crucial for staying on the path of a healthy and active life.

Considering that most people spend roughly a third of their lives lying in bed, choosing the right mattress is essential for managing low back pain. It can make the difference in whether you can sleep at night and function the next day.

In the past, doctors often recommended very firm mattresses. But one survey of 268 people with low back pain found that those who slept on very hard mattresses had the poorest sleep quality. There was no difference in sleep quality between those who used medium-firm and firm mattresses.

Soft mattresses, on the other hand, can also be problematic. While a soft mattress that conforms to your body’s natural curves may help the joints align favorably, you might also sink in so deeply that your joints twist and become painful during the night.

If you want to find out whether a firmer mattress would feel better than the one you’re currently using, try putting a plywood board under your mattress to dampen the movement from the bedsprings, or try placing your mattress on the floor.

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Firm Best For Front And Back Sleepers Over 200 Lbs

Firm mattresses tend to be better for heavier weighted front and back sleepers over 200 lbs with back pain because the tighter surface tension and reduced capacity for material compression can help to stop you from sinking too deeply into the mattress materials and instead help to keep your spine and lower back well supported so that your body is being placed under less strain.

Firm mattresses can be divided up into extra-firm, firm, and medium-firm with subtle differences that are as follows:

Extra-Firm Ideal For Front Sleepers Over 250 lbs

Extra firm mattresses are best suited to the heaviest weighted front sleepers over 250 lbs with back pain because the maximal surface tension can help to keep your hips in the proper position and guard against your lower back from painful hammocking.

However, due to this relatively extreme level of firmness, you should choose an adaptive material like memory foam or latex foam in the upper comfort layer to off-set the pressure points that it may create on your body .

Firm Best For 230 250 lbsFront and Back Sleepers

A firm mattress is best suited to front and back sleepers with back pain in the 230 250 lbs range because the higher than average surface tension can help to push back against your body weight for protection against poor posture whilst youre lying down.

Medium-Firm Suitable For 200 230 lbs Front, Back, and Side Sleepers

Sleeping Position & Other Facts

Soft vs Firm Mattress (Which Bed Is Right For You?)
  • People who sleep on their back or stomach find hard mattress better for them.
  • People who sleep on their sides find soft mattress supporting their body better.
  • For lightweight people, a soft mattress is always a better choice.
  • Compared to the hard mattress, soft mattresses are more expensive.
  • Soft mattresses tend to become softer after some use, achieving its prime after some years of use.

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How To Save Money On An Online Mattress

Many mattresses run limited time promotions throughout the year, so you might find discounts or offers for a free item with your mattress purchase at any time. However, some of the best deals usually fall on holiday weekends around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Black Friday.

To save additional money shopping for a mattress online, you might check for special offers through your credit card or a cash back program like Rakuten.

Firm Vs Soft Mattress: Which Is Best For You

Lets face it, mattress shopping can be an overwhelming affair. There are hundreds of mattresses to choose from online, and they come in all different types and sizes. Plus, buying a mattress is a big investment, so its a decision you want to make carefully.

There is one question that every mattress shopper should ask themselves: Do I want a firm or soft mattress?This is a great place to start because the mattress firmness will really affect how comfortable or supported you feel on a mattress. Yes, a big part if it comes down to personal preference, but there are some more objective benefits and drawbacks to both firm and soft mattresses.

We have put together this firm vs soft mattress guide to help all those confused mattress shoppers decide which is best for you. Watch our video below or read on to compare them!

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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.

Materials Impacts Pressure Relief And Support

Mattress plays a vital role in your better sleeping habits ...

The materials that your mattress is primarily made from can make a huge difference to how comfortable you feel in your mattress if you have back pain:

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses are best for lighter weighted sleepers, sleepers with a lower body fat percentage, and side sleepers with back pain because the materials unique ability to conform to your physical characteristics means that you can experience greater pressure relief and contoured support to help maintain good posture and combat back pain.

Heavier weighted sleepers can also enjoy the pressure-relieving qualities of memory foam providing that the mattress is firm enough to stop you from sinking too far into the materials.

Latex Foam

Latex foam mattresses are suitable for front, back, and side sleepers with back pain who may also sleep hot,sweat at night, and/or suffer from restlessness because natural latex tends to be more breathable and able to recover faster than memory foam for better mobility and temperature regulation as long as the mattress has the right level of firmness relative to your body weight.


Polyfoam mattresses tend to be better for lighter and average weighted sleepers with back pain because polyfoam tends to not be as dense and durable as memory foam meaning that it could wear out faster under heavier weights and lead to sagging that may make your back pain worse.

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