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Is It Better To Sleep On Hard Or Soft Mattress

Making The Best Choice For You

Bed firmness? Sleeping on hard surfaces or soft surfaces? Effect on hips, shoulders, and back?

One of the benefits of todays mattress market is that the options are endless. This means that both firm and soft mattresses are available at a variety of price points, so you can typically find the exact firmness youre looking for within budget. All firmness levels are available regardless mattress type, meaning that you can find soft, medium, and firm versions of all-foam, hybrid, innerspring, and latex mattresses.

When selecting a soft or firm mattress, youll want to take note of several factors, including your sleeping position and areas of back pain. As weve mentioned, side sleepers tend to enjoy soft mattresses, while back and stomach sleepers bodies agree with firmer ones. If youre not dedicated to one sleeping position or have a sleeping style that differs from your partner, a medium firm mattress can be a safe bet. Keep your size in mind when shopping, too. Lightweight back sleepers may do well on a soft mattress. Conversely, heavyweight side sleepers may find the contouring they need in a medium or firm mattress.

Beyond these factors, selecting a firm or soft mattress is up to your preferences. When shopping around, lay on a variety of mattresses with different firmness levels and, prior to making a decision, be sure the manufacturer offers a trial period thats long enough for you to get a good feel for whether the bed will suit you in the long run.

What If My Partner And I Have Different Firmness Preferences

While we once had to compromise on mattress firmness, the good news is that mattress makers now have multi-firmness mattresses.

These mattresses offer customisable components that you can easily interchange to get different firmness levels on different sides of your bed.

This customisation means if your sleep partner loves a softer sleep surface but you need firm support, multi-firmness mattresses can meet your needs.

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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Use A Mattress Topper

There are all kinds of mattress toppers available that can add additional contouring or pressure relief to the surface of a too-firm mattress. This is by far the simplest way to correct a too-firm mattress.

Memory foam and latex excel and pain relief and prove durable, though wool, cotton, feather, and poly foam toppers are also popular as well. Sleep Like The Dead finds that the following types of toppers have the highest owner satisfaction:

  • Memory Foam Toppers, particularly toppers under 2 thick with lower foam density
  • Wool Toppers
  • Down Alternative/Fiber Toppers

Pros Of A Firm Mattresses

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The word firm might be a turnoff for some, but firm mattresses can provide an amazingly comfortable nights sleep. Theyre great for heavier than average individuals who may experience too much sinkage on a soft mattress. Durability also tends to increase in correlation with mattress firmness, as premature sagging isnt usually an issue. Back and stomach sleepers tend to find greater support in medium-firm and firm varieties thanks to the even sleeping surface these mattresses provide.

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Is A Firm Or Soft Mattress Better For Me

When youre choosing a new mattress theres a range of questions that youre likely to ask yourself is it better to have a firm or a soft mattress? Is a soft mattress supportive enough? You may have heard mixed reviews on whether you should sleep on a firm or a soft mattress. The reality is that theres no one perfect mattress feel for everyone, and personal preference is the most important thing. There are however, some important factors you should consider when deciding whats best for you.

Who Will Benefit From A Firmer Mattress

If you weigh more than average, you will likely find a firmer mattress is more pleasing to sleep on because it will support you better.

For people who sleep on their fronts, Dormeo recommends a firmer mattress, too. You may also benefit from a mattress topper that can add a little cushioning to your sleep experience, though this is a matter of personal taste.

Back sleepers may find that they can have their pick of mattresses so long as the mattress gives them proper spine support. Try starting with a medium-firm mattress, as these tend to be a sweet spot for many sleepers.

Firmer mattresses may also suit you if you deal with back pain because a firm mattress gives your spine and hips extra support.

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Soft Vs Firm Mattresses

In this article, we define mattress firmness and discuss the pros and cons of soft vs firm mattresses so you understand which is right for you.

Buying a mattress is a very personal decision and selecting one from the wide variety of types of mattresses available today can feel like walking through a maze. Breaking the options down can simplify your decision. One of the most important aspects to decide on early in the shopping process is firmness. This choice will depend entirely on your preferences, sleep position, size, and budget. In this article, were discussing mattress firmness, including what it is, the pros and cons of soft and firm mattresses, and pointers for choosing a firmness level that works well for you.

How To Choose Whats Right For You

Mattresses: Hard or Soft Whats Better?

The two main choices to consider are whether you generally suffer from back pain or not, and which sleeping position you favor. Those without back pain and who sleep on their back or stomach will likely favor a firmer mattress. Side sleepers or those with back issues may prefer something softer although it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Another thing that should be considered is weight. A heavier person may find a firm mattress deceptively soft, while a lighter person may not get a huge amount of give even from a softer mattress. Generally an average to heavy build will be better suited to a firmer mattress.

Another important element which should not be overlooked is personal preference. Regardless of which is more specialized for your spines needs, if you find it uncomfortable, youre unlikely to get a good nights sleep on it. And that is the main purpose of a mattress, after all. Thats why I recommend taking a look at our picks for the most comfortable mattress to find the best mattress that fits your needs.

Its important to remember that the choice is not exactly black and white. There is a spectrum of firmness within mattresses. Furthermore, one can compromise by having a firm mattress in terms of spring suspension, but adding a plush, soft topper.

Overall, its really important to properly test out a mattress in order to make an informed choice. Simply sitting down on it in stores unlikely to cut it.

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Drawbacks Of Soft Mattresses

While a soft mattress might seem more luxurious and comfortable, it can actually cause issues if you sleep on your stomach and back, as well as if you are heavyweight. Couples will also experience issues with a softer mattress.

The heavier partner might sink further, which makes the sleep surface unbalanced. It can be a difficult task to find hardness, which is right for both sides.

Pros Of A Soft Mattresses

Soft mattresses feel comfortable to the touch. Theyre what we think of when we imagine a cozy, restful nights sleep. Theyre also excellent for individuals experiencing back pain on firmer surfaces. Side sleepers also gravitate towards them as their sleeping position tends to require softer surfaces that allow for greater contouring at the shoulders and hips to alleviate pressure.

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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.

Other Factors To Consider When Choosing A New Mattress

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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.

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Benefits And Drawbacks Of A Hard Mattress

Before we start talking about this type of mattress, we must make a little clarification. When experts want to refer to the hard mattress, they always do so with the terms of firm mattress or firm mattress. It is an aspect to take into account, since a hard mattress, as we imagine it, would never be beneficial for health and rest.

The first advantage that a firm mattress offers is related to the lto position of the column. The spine will always have a better posture with a surface whose firmness provides a higher degree of support. The back is one of the most important parts of the body, if we are not careful with the way we sleep, we can create serious problems. This bad habit will result in pain, fatigue and the appearance of physical and psychological problems.

The rest factor is also essential when choosing this type of mattress. An excessively soft surface will force the body to constantly be looking for support points, so resting will be a more complicated task. Tossing and turning in bed is of little benefit, and no matter how many hours we sleep, we will always wake up tired. In this sense, it must be taken into account that while we sleep, the body is active, and it needs the greatest possible comfort to avoid exhaustion due to exercise overload.

Should Side Sleepers Have A Soft Or Firm Mattress

Side sleepers should have a firm mattress with a thick layer of padding to help protect their spine from compression. A soft mattress could exacerbate problems for side sleepers by pressing against the shoulder and hip, which could lead to back pain and restricted blood flow.

A firm mattress is best for back sleepers. In general, a softer surface results in more pressure on the joints of your spine and hips than a firmer one does. This means that people with sensitive backs may be better off sleeping on something harder.

Back sleepers should look for mattresses with good support throughout the entire body. If you are looking at top-rated beds online or in-store, check how many coils they have to give them proper support from head to toe while keeping their spine aligned correctly during restful slumber every night.

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What About Standard Spring Tensions

If youre looking at an entry-level mattress with only one spring tension it is usually a 1.4 gauge wire on the medium side. This is because it suits the largest number of sleepers as most people fall into this bracket.

The support from all similar spring foundations is relatively the same, particularly if the same spring gauge is used. One thing thats essential is to ask and find out the spring gauge or tension of any mattress you are buying. Where possible and if your budget allows you should always opt for a tailored spring tension like our Artisan Range of hand made mattresses.

Other Important Considerations When Choosing A Mattress


A mattress is often a significant investment. Once you find the mattress of your dreams, you might hesitate before committing to the purchase. What if it doesnt quite measure up to the description, feels uncomfortable, or doesnt stay cool?

The good news is, most mattress brands understand your dilemma and offer some options to help give you peace of mind.

Whenever possible, consider the following before you click the Complete Order button:

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Who Will Benefit From A Softer Mattress

While there are exceptions, its a general rule that the less you weigh, the more likely you are to find a softer mattress that will fit your needs better than a firmer one.

Side sleepers may find that because they are putting a lot of weight on their hips and shoulders when they sleep, a softer mattress can provide more comfort.

Older people may also find that a softer mattress gives them better cushioning for their joints, though they may prefer a mattress closer to the medium to medium-firm side for its back support.

Test Drive A Mattress Before You Buy

“You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it,” Decker says. So why would you invest hundreds — or even thousands of dollars in a mattress without trying it out first? Take any new mattress you’re considering for a test nap. “People should not be embarrassed to go into a store and lay on a mattress for 20 minutes,” Decker says.

For a more realistic test, sleep in the beds at different hotel chains when you travel. If you get an especially good night’s sleep on one of them, ask the desk clerk what brand it is.

When you test out a mattress, make sure it feels comfortable in every position, especially the side you favor for sleeping. The mattress should be supportive where you need it, without putting too much pressure on your body, Levy says.

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How Much Should I Spend On My New Bed

The cost of a new mattress varies depending on what materials its made out of, how comfortable its design looks to you, as well as other factors like whether or not there are any special deals going at that time from retailers in your area. Typically speaking though, mattresses will range anywhere between $500 -$3000.

What Makes A Mattress Firm Or Soft

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First off, most mattress companies use a 1-10 scale to rate how firm their mattresses are. At Mattress Clarity, we also use a 1-10 scale, and we consider 6.5 to be medium-firm. Anything below 6.5 is going to be on the softer end of the spectrum, and anything above 6.5 is going to be firmer.

A mattresss firmness is going to be mainly determined by its construction and materials. For instance, an innerspring mattress with no real comfort layer is probably going to be firmer. Of course, the grade of the coils will also affect the firmness and support of the mattress but, generally, innerspring mattresses are going to be firmer-than-average. Mattresses that feature latex are also usually firmer and more supportive latex is a very durable and dense material that doesnt have quite the give that some foam mattresses have.

Speaking of foam, memory foam mattresses are often softer-than-average this material is known for its comfortable feel and great pressure relief. In fact, some of the best bed-in-a-box mattresses feature memory foam alternatives such as Adaptive Foam or AirFoam that are also quite soft.

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Disadvantages Of A Soft Mattress

  • 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 as the heavier partner may sink further in, making the sleep surface unbalanced.
  • Soft mattresses may be less long lasting than hard mattress. 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.
  • Read: 5 Pros & Cons of Hard vs. Soft Mattresses

    The Desired Level Of Comfort

    What do you prefer? Unfortunately, many people still wrongly believe that a good mattress should be hard. This is often due to the fact that in the 1970s there were only two alternatives: either a sagging mattress or a harder one. Fortunately, today we have many more options available, and it is important strike the right balance.

    For example, there are also mattresses, such as the Belgian Fylds mattress, which feel soft at first touch but offer firm support. Come and visit us at the showroom, where you can test our mattresses in peace and quiet, and decide for yourself which hardness you find most comfortable.

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    Consider Your Body Type

    It makes sense that the support a jockey needs at night in bed is different to the support a Wallabies player needs.

    So consider your size and which points of your body feel the most pressure when you lay down . The SleepMaker Sleep Selector can help provide a bed match to give you support that suits your body type.


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