Choosing Between a Softer or Firmer Mattress: Finding Your Best Mattress for Your Needs

When choosing a new mattress, one of the crucial elements to decide on is the firmness of the mattress. A mattress that is soft and plush will feel inviting and comfortable to one person while feeling uncomfortable–even suffocating–to another. So, in order to create a great, supportive sleep environment, you’ll need to think through your preferred mattress firmness.

Both firmer and softer mattresses have their advantages and considerations. The right firmness for you will largely depend on sleep style, body type, health considerations and personal preference. We’re here to help you find the best mattress for your needs.

Understanding Soft and Firm Mattresses

Soft Mattresses:

Soft mattresses are often associated with a plush feel, providing a sinking sensation as they conform closely to the body’s shape. These mattresses typically have more cushioning layers on top, often made from latex, memory foam or other conforming materials. They’re beneficial for side sleepers, as they can alleviate pressure on the shoulders and hips.

Firm Mattresses:

Firm mattresses, on the other hand, offer a more solid and supportive surface. They provide a higher level of pushback against the body, ensuring that there’s less sinkage. This type of mattress is usually recommended for back or stomach sleepers, as it helps maintain spinal alignment.

One way to summarize the differences between soft and firm mattresses is: softer mattresses alleviate pressure and firmer mattresses encourage alignment.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Firmness Level:

1. Sleeping Position:

  • Side Sleepers: Generally prefer softer mattresses as they provide better contouring and pressure relief for hips and shoulders. Sleeping on our side means sleeping with the least area of our body touching the mattress, so that puts the most weight on the smallest area. Softer mattresses absorb the pressure further into the mattress space, providing pressure relief at knees, hips and other sensitive joints.
  • Back or Stomach Sleepers: Tend to find firmer mattresses more comfortable as they offer better spinal support and prevent sinking into the bed. As back and stomach sleepers have a large area of their body touching the mattress, a firmer mattress better hold their spine in alignment.

2. Body Weight:

  • Lighter Individuals: Often prefer softer mattresses as they need less firmness to achieve proper support.
  • Heavier Individuals: Might benefit from a firmer mattress to prevent excessive sinkage and maintain proper spinal alignment.

3. Health Conditions:

  • Back Pain: Those with back issues might find relief with a firmer mattress that provides better support and spinal alignment.
  • Joint Pain: Soft mattresses can help alleviate pressure points for individuals with joint pain.

4. Personal Preference:

  • Some individuals simply prefer the feel of one type over the other, irrespective of their sleeping position or physical considerations. We always recommend trying some mattresses out at a showroom to help you determine your preferences. Often, folks will come into our showroom telling us that they need a very firm or very soft mattress, and, after trying a few, will find that they prefer a different firmness level than they thought they would.

Tips for Making the Right Choice:

  • Test Before Buying: As discussed above, it’s a great idea to visit mattress stores and spend time lying on different mattresses to gauge your comfort level.
  • Consider Hybrid Options: Mattresses combining both soft and firm materials can offer a compromise suitable for various sleep preferences.
  • Trial Periods: Many mattress brands offer trial periods, allowing you to test the mattress at home and return it if it doesn’t meet your comfort needs.
  • Consult Your Doctor: Especially if you have specific health conditions, seek advice from a healthcare professional to understand what mattress type might benefit you.

My Green Mattress’ Firmness Guide

Here at My Green Mattress, we offer handmade, 100%-certified organic mattresses in a variety of firmness levels. Each mattress has a firmness rating (listed in the specifications section on the mattress page) to help you understand how the mattress will feel. If you want more information, feel free to contact us and we can discuss firmness levels with you. Remember: each mattress comes with a 365-night trial period, so if you want to try out a mattress’ firmness level, you can do so at home for 365 nights, risk free.

Ultimately, the decision between a softer or firmer mattress boils down to personal comfort and individual needs. Softer mattresses can be better suited to side sleepers and those with joint pain, while firmer mattresses can be better for back and stomach sleepers with spinal alignment issues or back pain. But a lot of the decision comes down to personal preference. Learning your ideal mattress firmness level, and trying out mattresses for comfort, you can make an informed decision about the best mattress for you, ultimately promoting better sleep and overall well-being.