Shopping for a mattress can be frustrating and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be if you have the right information upfront. As you get started on your mattress shopping journey, one of the first questions you need to answer is how firm of a mattress you want.
For example, are you looking for a cushy bed that you sink into? Or do you prefer a bed that is firm and supportive without the cushy feeling? We’ll look at firm vs. soft mattresses and look at how to know what mattress type is right for you.
What is the Difference Between Firmness and Support?
You don’t want to confuse firmness and support when shopping for a mattress. First, a supportive mattress keeps your spine neutral. Second, firmness is how your mattress feels when you lay on it.
Both firm and soft mattresses can be supportive and relieve pain. And they can both be comfortable. The most important thing for you to know is which mattress feels best for you. You also want to make sure it was built for your sleep style.
What is the Difference Between a Firm and Soft Mattress?
When you start looking at mattresses, you may hear people talk about the scale of firmness. Many mattress companies use this scale to rate mattress firmness. This is a 1-10 scale. This scale may vary between manufacturers, but on average, anything under 6.5 is a softer mattress, and anything over 6.5 is firmer. Around this middle point, you’ll find a medium-firm mattress.
Generally, memory foam mattresses are softer, while innerspring mattresses are firmer. Many people these days prefer memory foam mattresses because they contour to the sleeper’s body, are comfortable, and offer pressure relief.
However, you can find a memory foam mattress that is medium-firm to firm. It all depends on the comfort layer on the top.
It is very important to test out mattresses before purchasing because one person’s firm mattress isn’t always another person’s. It may depend on personal preference or the size of the sleeper. For example, a heavier person might feel like a memory foam mattress is firmer, while a lighter person would find the opposite.
Who Benefits from a Firm Mattress Type?
A firm mattress isn’t one that you can sink into. This type of mattress is great for people who sleep on their backs or their stomach. This is because a firm mattress helps keep your back and hips aligned, so you don’t have pain when you sleep or wake up in the morning.
In addition, heavier people might prefer a firm mattress because they won’t sink into it. Thus, they won’t feel like they are stuck in the mattress. Firm mattresses aren’t the right mattress for all sleepers, though. Sometimes a firm mattress isn’t comfortable. This is especially true if you’ve been sleeping on a soft mattress. It might take a month or two for you to get used to it.
Also, if you have arthritis or joint pain, a firm mattress may cause you even more problems. A softer mattress is probably right for you.
Who Benefits from a Soft Mattress Type?
A soft mattress is one that conforms to your body and is very responsive. They are often made from memory foam, and the better the mattress, the more layers it has. A soft mattress is a good choice for side sleepers because it provides soft cushioning for your hips and shoulders. This in turn supports a healthy spine.
Soft mattresses are cozy and cushioning. They can help reduce pressure points, so you don’t wake up with back, neck, shoulder, and hip pain. For people with lots of back pain, a soft mattress might even help relieve your pain because it cradles your back.
On the con side, a soft mattress can offer too much cushioning, and back and stomach sleepers may not find it comfortable. Generally, they need a sturdier surface.
So, how do you choose, and how do you know what mattress is right for you in the firm vs. soft battleground? You will know which mattress type is right for you based on your sleeping position (back, stomach, side, or combo) and your size.
Choose a firm mattress if you are a back or stomach sleeper or a larger person. If you are petite or you sleep on your side, head to a softer mattress. For most people, somewhere in the middle is the best place to be.
Lay down on mattresses and try them out. It really is up to you and based on your personal preference. You want to choose the best mattress for you and your sleep partner if you have one.