Mattress Firmness Vs Support
Firmness and support are not the same. Support layers are designed to keep your spine neutral, while firmness is the immediate feel of your mattress based on the thickness of the comfort layers.
People mistakenly assume firm mattresses are the best for support because theyre so sturdy, but soft mattresses can also be supportive and pain-relieving. Firm mattresses can also be extremely comfortable and luxurious, just like soft mattresses.
Plush Vs Firm Mattresses For Back Pain
Back pain is a common issue we often tend to forget about. Feels like we are used to living with back pain, and allow it to remain in the background while dealing with our everyday lives.
Well, one of the most common reasons behind back pain is the unhealthy sleeping posture caused by an unsuitable mattress. Simply said, your back hurts when you sleep wrong.
So, when it comes to back pain, which option is better: plush or firm?
Heres the deal: while many people note that they experience more pain relief when sleeping on softer mattresses, it all comes down to proper support. When dealing with back pain, you need your spine to remain neutral during the night. This will help reduce tension from the vertebrae, support the natural curves of your back, and keep it relaxed.
An overly soft mattress would prevent that by allowing too much sinkage in the hip area. And an overly firm bed wont be suited either. It would distort the natural position of your spine.
In this video, Dr. Travis Stork explains that a proper mattress is supposed to support your body weight while allowing for just enough give to keep the natural alignment of the spine:
So, concerning the plush vs firm mattress debate, Dr. Stork is leaning towards firmer beds rather than soft mattresses.
Heres the kicker: your bed doesnt have to be brick-firm. In fact, it is recommended to find a good balance between firmness and cradling, which a quality medium-firm mattress could offer .
My Mattress Is Too Soft Should I Get A New One
Experts recommend that you should replace your mattress every eight to ten years. However, you can still go on with your mattress until it becomes uncomfortable. It all depends on the care you give to your mattress during usage.
Classic cars exist because their owners take very good care of them. If you think that your mattress is too soft, there are ways to give it back that oomph.
Getting a stiffer mattress cover will do the trick. Visit your local mattress store and find one that feels good to lie on. You can also add a platform on the underside of the bed.
A stiff sheet of plywood will do the trick. Sometimes a simple flip can be all the difference. Flip your mattress 360 degrees and make sure when you place it, the feet section becomes the head section.
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Cons Of A Soft Mattress
In some cases, soft mattresses may be less durable due to sagging. They can make aches and pains worse for stomach and back sleepers, and heavyweight individuals may find that theyre not supportive enough. Extremely soft mattresses can also cause trouble for couples. If one partner is heavier and sinks further into the mattress, the other partner can experience an uncomfortable, uneven sleeping surface.
All About Mattress Firmness
When purchasing a mattress, one of the first steps is choosing a mattress firmness level that suits your needs. Mattress firmness can be confusing, however. What one person feels is luxuriously soft may feel uncomfortably firm to someone else. While mattress firmness is somewhat subjective and dependent on personal preference, it is important to choose a firmness level thats suited to your sleeping style and personal preference. Otherwise, youll suffer from more than interrupted sleep you could develop problems such as back pain.
In short, mattress firmness refers to how the mattress feels when you first lie down on it. Does it push back and feel stiff, or contour and cushion your body? Even though individual preference is subjective, there is a numerical mattress firmness scale to help you understand what to expect when you lay on a particular mattress. The scale runs from 1 to 10 and covers the three common mattress firmnesses: soft, medium, and firm.
In this guide, well discuss the mattress firmness scale, mattress firmness levels, and what firmness rating works best for different sleep preferences and body types.
To learn even more about what to look for in a mattress, check out our comprehensive Best Mattress guide.
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Make Your Soft Mattress Firm
What if a soft mattress isnt your gig, and somehow you ended up with one? There are ways to fix it without buckling down to purchase a brand new mattress right now. Try one or all of these tips to get you by until you have decided on the mattress you want, and have found the funds to procure it. Were gonna go back to the aforementioned Foundation Check. See above, it could solve a lot of problems! If a mattress is feeling like it is too soft, reevaluate it to see if it is actually sagging, if it is a relatively new mattress, odds are it isnt sagging and actually just poorly supported.
Is A Soft Mattress Good For Your Back
A soft mattress can bring much comfort to those who are suffering from back pain. Side sleepers also find a soft mattress to be ideal, a quality soft mattress will allow the hips to sink while still providing pressure relief. A soft mattress can be good for your back, providing its designed to offer pressure relief.
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How Do You Fix A Mattress That Is Too Soft
A couple of ways to fix a mattress that is too soft is to check the foundation and add a mattress topper. Your current foundation may not be the right one for your bed, or it could be worn out. For instance, memory foam, hybrid, and latex mattresses get better support from a solid or slatted surface. Adding a piece of plywood between your bed and the foundation can give you more support.
Suitable For Back And Stomach Sleepers
When resting on the back, the hips and buttocks tend to sink. If the mattress is too soft, these areas may sink excessivelyresulting in a misaligned spine and tense muscles. Back sleepers tend to sleep best on a firmer bed that will prevent sinking and keep the hips in line with the shoulders and head. When the spine is neutral, the body can fully relax and repair.
Our spines naturally curve, but when sleeping the stomach, this curve can become exaggerated. Over time, the pressure this position places on the back and neck can lead to chronic pain. In most cases, it is best to avoid stomach sleeping. However, if you find it difficult to avoid this position, the best mattresses for stomach sleeping are firmer. A firm bed will keep the hips lifted to reduce the pressure on the spine.
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Ideal For Back Sleepers
A soft mattress may not be a good choice for back sleepers, as a too-soft mattress may leave your lower back aching. If you do have a soft mattress, placing a small pillow behind the knees can help your spine align properly. On the other hand, those who tend to sleep on their back may find that sleeping on a medium-firm mattress is a better option for them.
What Are The Cons Of A Soft Mattress
A softer surface has a tendency to develop more pressure points when compared to a firmer mattress. This means that someone with scoliosis might need more support from the bed which can be difficult for them if they sink in too deep.
Older people or those who are overweight also may find it harder on their joints because of the softness of this type of mattress. One common complaint is difficulty turning over while sleeping without having to move your whole body first.
Some people complain about how quickly these mattresses get warm during sleep. Often times youll feel like youre lying right on top of a heating pad.
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Firm Vs Soft Mattress Which One Is Better
Wondering when was the last time you slept like a baby?
Are you going through issues like anxiety, insomnia, or stress?
Such issues are quite relatable for me, to be honest.
Why? Well, there are several reasons why I don’t sleep as comfortably as I used to.
I have been suffering from backache and sleep-related problems for as long as I can recall.
The worst part of the story is, I have consulted many physicians, healthcare experts, and even chiropractors, but the cause behind my issues remained unknown.
It was just recently that I found out why I couldn’t sleep properly my old and lumpy mattress is the real culprit.
Needless to say, purchasing a mattress isn’t a small investment. I am looking for a new mattress these days, and I have come across a large number of options.
Mattresses are nowadays available in various firmness levels. It all comes down to your personal preference at the end of the day, whether you like sleeping on a plush or a firm mattress.
A firm mattress provides your body with the stiffness it needs whereas, plush bedding gives cushioning.
Let me share some details with you here my physician has recommended me to get a firm mattress because of the backache I am going through.
A firm mattress provides adequate support to your back and hip bones while alleviating the pain.
Even then, I know people that prefer softer options for their body aches as they believe firm mattresses contribute to making the pain worse.
Nevertheless, it is an endless debate!
Benefits Of A Firm Bed
Here are the top three reasons to consider getting a firm mattress:
- You sleep on your stomach. If you’re a stomach sleeper, a mattress that’s too soft will pull your spine downward, exaggerating the curve of the lower back. This is especially true if you carry extra weight around your midsection. To promote healthy spinal alignment, stomach sleepers should snooze on a firm mattress.
- You have a bigger body. Generally, the heavier you are, the firmer your mattress should be. If you weigh 230 pounds or more, you’ll be more comfortable on a firm mattress as it will help keep your spine aligned without sagging. This, in turn, will help prevent low back painsomething heavier people are at higher risk of suffering from.
- You suffer fromback pain back painback pain. If you have back pain, you should be particularly careful when choosing the firmness level of your mattress. Your choice should depend to some extent on your sleeping position , but generally, mattresses that are too soft will make your backache worse. You want your mattress to be firm enough to help you maintain the natural S-curve of your spine. Be careful not to go too firm, though, because if the mattress does not have any give it also won’t provide sufficient comfort for your back.
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What Are Soft Mattresses Good For
The best soft mattress is the one that lets you sink in and doze off into a lulled slumber. Besides the extra comfort, soft mattresses are usually the go-to mattress for side sleepers. A soft mattress can better cushion your shoulders and hips.
Another thing to keep in mind is whether youll be sharing your bed
For the most part, soft mattresses are usually made from memory foam which can be great for you to literally sink into the mattress. The downside is that memory foam retains heat meaning that trying to stay cool on hot nights might be a problem.
Another thing to keep in mind is whether youll be sharing your bed. If youre sharing the bed the heavier partner may sink further in making the bed unbalanced
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.
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It Needs To Keep Your Spine Aligned
You may not realize it, but good posture is important when you sleep. The muscles and ligaments in your back need to relax and recover while you snooze. If a mattress is too firm — or too squishy — it won’t support your spine at your neck or lower back the way it needs to. What’s firm enough is different for everyone: If you have wide hips, for instance, a slightly softer surface may be better. You need some more give in order to keep your spine in alignment. Someone with narrower hips might be better off with a firmer surface.
What Are The Benefits Of A Firm Mattress
You might be wondering if there are benefits to sleeping on a firm mattress. If youre not struggling with chronic back pain of any kind, youre likely going to find a firm mattress fairly comfortable.
Firm mattresses are also recommended to sleepers who prefer resting on their stomach since a firm surface will keep the back aligned properly. The benefits of a firm mattress can include that it helps prevent your lower back from sinking too deep into your mattress. This encourages a steady flow of oxygen while youre sleeping.
Firm mattresses are also likely to be beneficial to sleepers who rest on their back. Thats because they provide a more stable surface for the back to recover on.
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How Much Should A Quality Mattress Cost
When it comes to shopping for a new mattress, buying a high-quality mattress for more restful sleep is an investment in your health and happiness.
These are a few considerations that affect the price of a mattress:
- As you would expect, the larger the mattress, the more it costs. A king mattress will cost significantly more than a twin.
- Materials make a difference. Foam is the least expensive to produce while latex is the most costly.
- The advanced features used in higher-end mattresses are reflected in their price. Expect to pay more for mattresses with cooling technology or edge reinforcement.
- Online shopping for a mattress in a box will cost you less than shopping from a physical retail store where overhead is higher and mattress prices are marked up to compensate.
A budget foam mattress may cost $450 or less. Higher-end foam mattress options start at $600 and up. Expect to pay $1,200 or less for a budget latex mattress and at least $2,500 for a luxury option.
Firmness And Mattress Performance
The firmness setting may be used to determine how a mattress will perform in the long run. Performance factors tied to mattress firmness include the following:
The table below features a summary of pricing and performance expectations for mattresses with different firmness settings:
|Good to Very Good|
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Better For Lower Back Discomfort
According to WebMD, If a mattress is too firm or too squishy it wont support your spine at your neck or lower back the way it needs to.
Research is limited, but in one study, researchers assigned new mattresses to more than 300 people with low back pain. They used either medium-firm or firm mattresses for 90 days. Those in the medium group reported the least amount of discomfort.
You might consider getting a memory foam mattress . The foam molds to your body.
How Do You Know If Your Mattress Is Too Firm
Some signs your mattress is too firm for you include:
- You frequently wake up with back, neck, or shoulder pain
- You wake up feeling tired
- You sleep better on other beds
- You experience numbness or tingling in your arms or hands
Remember that if your mattress is new, sometimes it just takes a couple of weeks for your mattress to soften up and get comfortable.
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Other Factors To Consider When Choosing A New Mattress
In addition to plushness or firmness, there are other factors youll need to consider when finding the mattress thats best suited to you. Every mattress manufacturer has its own unique method of achieving different degrees of firmness, but there are few specific strategies youll want to be familiar with.
- What kinds of materials are being used to build each mattress?
- How has the mattress design been optimized for maximum comfort and support?
Lets take a look at mattress materials and zoning designs to help you make a more informed purchasing decision.