Firm VS Soft Mattress. Which One is Better?

Do you sleep well? 

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.

sleep on a mattress
Credit: Freepik

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!

If you’re not in the mood to get into the details, here I have prepared a mini table that highlights the properties of both the mattresses, skim through it to get a better idea: 

No. of PropertiesSoft MattressesFirm Mattresses
For Side Sleepers
For Back Sleepers
For Front Sleepers
Backache Remedy
Skin Disorders Remedy
Joint Stiffness Remedy
For Couples
For Older Adults
For Kids
soft mattress
Credit: Freepik

You cannot neglect a soft mattress. It is designed to provide you with a peaceful sleep after a long day at work.

Adding to it, a soft mattress helps cure the joint pain or stiffness that you may experience because of fatigue, sleep deprivation, or age.

A soft mattress is great for side and front sleepers as it lifts you up and provides you with adequate support.

All the high-end brands measure the softness of a mattress from a scale of 1-10.

You can quickly know about the plushness of your mattress from the given number. However, in order to get the right product, it is better to try it in person.

Talking about the number scale, 1 goes for the exceptionally soft mattress. A mattress with a medium plush level and sinking-in quality falls in 2-3. 

At 4-6, there comes the mattress that isn't too plush but lets your body slightly sink in; whereas, 7-9 is a little firm and doesn't allow the body to sink. 

Mattresses at number 10 in the scale are pretty hard; therefore, they don't feel soft or let the body sink in.

My mother has a soft mattress made with latex foam, but it is way too plush for me.

If you wish to purchase one, a great option is to read the online product reviews.

It goes without saying that a soft mattress brings along a number of benefits for you, including:

It provides your body with bouncy yet ergonomic support.

It promises a peaceful sleep as well as reduced turning and tossing.

It relieves pressure on the body.

It is durable.

It is reversible; thus, it can be used from both sides.

It stabilizes the blood flow in the body.

It helps cure joint stiffness and pain.

It is excellent for skin conditions, for example, bruising.

A Firm Mattress

firm mattress

While sleeping on a hard mattress, it helps keep the spine and body in a neutral position.

It is how firm mattresses reduce the pressure on your internal organs and increase the blood circulation in the meantime; whilst, providing you with a comfortable sleep all night.

I remember reading a study that said, the level of oxygen is increased when you sleep in a straight and aligned position, making the process of inhalation better and secure.

Apart from that, a firm mattress helps with relieving body aches, especially backache.

You may have heard that sleeping on hard surfaces helps cure backache. Though, it isn't easy to switch to a hard mattress.

If you sleep on a soft bed, let’s be clear, it would take you some time to adjust with the firm one.

I would like to share my two cents here, someone at a retail store told me to take good care of the firmness level.

A mattress at 10th scale level can be too hard for you, and as a result, it may contribute to your existing body aches. Therefore, consider the firmness level before making a purchase.

Like a soft mattress, firm mattresses have their own benefits. Here I have shared a few so that you know what you're getting yourself into.

It is usually constructed using high-quality foam.

It doesn't sag.

It is a natural alternative to painkillers as it can naturally cure body aches.

Its thickness level can be customized.

It helps in digestion.

It increases the blood flow.

It provides an incredible alignment to the spine.

It is long-lasting and wouldn't have dips and lumps.

Are you still confused about which one is better? 

You're contemplating which one to get? Aren't you? 

I wasn't sure about it either, but now I'm confident that a mattress with a medium firmness level would go well with me.

To tell you the truth, the thought of getting a mattress that is too plush or too hard scares me. 

Hence, I have come to terms that I'd be getting the one that falls in-between the number scale 4-6, maybe.

Difference Between a Soft and Firm Mattress

Credit: Freepik

One significant difference between the two is how the mattress feels to the touch.

A firm mattress feels rigid; whereas, a soft mattress is more bouncy and easily compressed with a little pressure.

The way your mattress feels is not restricted to just two categories, firm or soft. It is more of a spectrum.

There are many options available, which can be either positive, or negative.

Different mattresses are made using various materials. The plushness and firmness level of a bed merely depends upon its construction.

However, some mattresses come with an additional upper layer or upholstery that notably affects the firmness.

For example, if there is a latex foam topper, it can provide you with a superficial feeling of stiffness, yet it doesn't bring along the actual properties of a firm bed.

Both the kinds, be it a soft or hard mattress, are available at different price rates. 

I reckon that purchasing a new mattress is a big investment, but spending some on your comfort wouldn't hurt anybody.

After all, comfort is everyone’s priority.

Pros of a Soft Mattress

People with a persistent issue of backache or the ones that don't feel comfortable sleeping on a firm mattress are usually recommended to get a soft bed.

Besides, a soft mattress is also great for thinner individuals since a firm bed doesn't compress well for them. 

For side sleepers, buying a soft mattress is an ideal option as it can successfully provide cushioning to your hip and shoulder bones.

Cons of a Soft Mattress

Apparently, a soft bed looks and feels more comfortable, but later down the road, it can cause back and spinal issues. Also, it isn't helpful for stomach and back sleepers.

Using a soft mattress can be problematic for people that sleep with their partners. 

How? Let's find out! 

The heavier person would further sink in, making the mattress uneven and unbalanced.

They're less durable as compared to firm beds. They tend to sag over time, which makes them uncomfortable to use.

Pros of a Firm Mattress

For people like me, having a constant war with backache, a firm mattress is a safe option. 

While sleeping on a hard surface, the bones take most of the pressure, which releases pressure on muscles, tissues, arteries, and veins.

As a result, there's no strain on the muscles, and blood flow is increased.

A firm mattress allows more oxygen to the body by protecting your lower back from collapsing. 

Since the weight of the body is distributed evenly on a firm bed, there's little to no chance of sagging.

Cons of a Firm Mattress

When switching to a firm mattress from a softer one, it is initially quite hard to get used to it. 

In case of health issues like scoliosis and arthritis, a firm mattress can aggravate the pain, let alone help cure it.

It is precisely the reason why you should research thoroughly before purchasing a mattress.

Apart from that, I don’t think a firm mattress would do well with children.

Kids are suckers for bouncy beds, and a firm mattress wouldn’t provide them with the bounce they need. 

Purchasing a new mattress isn’t a blank and white process. There are many things that you need to take into consideration, including your medical condition and sleeping position that you prefer. 

Trying out a mattress at a store for merely a few seconds isn’t going to cut it, so take as much time as you need and make an informed decision.

After all, you wouldn’t want to risk your comfort. Would you? Give it a thought!

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