When purchasing a mattress, one of the distinguishing factors to be aware of is whether it is soft or firm, or somewhere between. It’s very easy to tell the difference between a hard and soft mattress simply by touching it. A soft mattress has much more give when you press your hand into it or sit or lie down on it.
If you sink into a mattress, it’s on the softer side. On the other hand, a hard mattress feels more firm and has less give. You can lie on top of it without sinking into it as much.
Hard vs. Soft Mattresses
So what’s better? It’s all about personal preference. Those people who prefer hard mattresses note how they provide more support. A firm mattress may also be the better choice if you sleep on your stomach or back because it keeps your body straighter during the night.
However, If your mattress is too firm, it could push against injuries or tender joints, leaving you in pain when you wake up in the morning.
There are perks of a soft mattress, too. Specifically, soft mattresses can offer more comfort, especially to sleepers who often wake with back pain. Even someone without any back injuries or ailments may find that a hard mattress leaves them aching in the morning and throughout the day.
A hard mattress may exacerbate existing injuries, too. Soft mattresses are often the mattress of choice for side sleepers whose bodies aren’t quite as straight during the night. But if you sink into a soft mattress and stay in the same position all night, you could wake up with pain in your pressure points, especially around the hips and shoulders, the following day.
It is important to note that even if your mattress is a good fit, you could wake up sore because of other factors- such as a pillow that’s too firm or not supportive enough.
It’s Not All About Firmness
It’s also important to note that shoppers who are heavy may experience mattress firmness a bit differently than other consumers. The more weight, the more you’ll sink into a soft mattress.
Thus, a mattress of medium firmness or a hard mattress may be a better option for those who weigh more, especially couples who have a combined higher weight. When shopping for a mattress, you may also want to stick to innerspring and hybrid designs rather than pure memory foam if you’re heavier.
Consumers have more than just two choices when it comes to mattresses, however. For example, there are adjustable mattresses, which offer comfort no matter your needs on any given night. Adjustable mattresses might also be the best option for couples with different sleeping preferences.
Furthermore, if you desire a mattress somewhere in the middle, then it might be time to consider a custom foam mattress that’s designed specifically for you rather than one “off the rack.” Sleepers who frequently toss and turn or do not consistently sleep in one position might be better off with a custom mattress solution.
Finally, a pillow-top mattress may be a good compromise for someone who wants a bed that’s both supportive and soft.
Although you can test mattresses for a few minutes in person, it’s different when you finally sleep on one for eight hours a night, seven days a week. You might realize that while a softer mattress felt okay in store, it just isn’t supportive enough for daily use. At least one study has found that medium-firm mattresses reduce back pain.
Sleeping poorly contributes to less sleep overall, increasing health risks and posing other dangers. There may be creative solutions, however. For example, if your new mattress is just slightly too firm, you might be able to add a mattress topper to achieve the perfect softness.
Ultimately, the decision whether you buy a soft or firm mattress comes down to personal preference. While a harder mattress may provide much-needed support for some people, it’s simply too uncomfortable for others.
Of course, there are other aspects to consider, including the material that your mattress is made from. Check out our blog for additional helpful bedroom tips!