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Firm or Soft Mattress? Which is Better?

Updated: Feb 2

by Joshua Roman

Mattress shopping is one of the most challenging forms of shopping. Will it be better to shop online or in person? Should you get a traditional Innerspring or memory foam mattress? What about hybrid mattresses? There are gel-infused memory foam mattresses too.

Since there are few regulation standards in the mattress industry, we have more choices than brain cells to make a proper decision. With so much to think about, it's no wonder we get confused. Let's keep it as simple as possible.

Follow this simple guide, narrow down your options, and eliminate the confusion in your mattress shopping experience.

Everything you need to make the right decision, right here.

Some Things to Consider First

Everyone has different sleeping preferences, body shapes, sizes, and even medical preconditions making the right mattress different for everyone.

For example, If you are a side sleeper, the typically suggested comfort would be a softer mattress. However, people over 230lb could end up experiencing back pains, dipping in their mattress very early on, spring memory loss, and other complications with their softer mattress. A recommendation has to be tailored to all your personal needs. Choosing becomes increasingly problematic when dealing with a partner's sleeping needs and preferences opposite from yours. From experience, nothing has been more difficult than matching a 5'5", 130lb woman's sleeping solution with that of a 6'2", 220lb man.

So, make sure you talk to someone who has been in the mattress industry long enough to help you properly navigate through your options and can help you find the best compromise solution in the case of conflicting sleeping needs.

Soft Mattress Benefits and Drawbacks.

BENEFITS - Best For Side Sleepers Those sleeping on their side are going to want a mattress that will relieve any extra pressure on their shoulders and hips. Softer mattresses excel at providing that needed pressure point support. It also provides better side sleeper spinal alignment to help ease and prevent any potential back pain.

- Best for Light Sleepers Lighter sleepers will always sleep better on a plush mattress. This is especially the choice for you if you prefer sinking into your mattress to get that "cuddled" feel. Rather than feeling like you are sleeping on top of the mattress, you'll find that softer mattresses are considered to be a more comfortable, cozy sleep for most people.


- Lack of Overall Support Softer mattresses often break down and lose support quicker over time. With less dense materials implemented in its construction, you will find that you will have to replace softer mattresses more frequently. If you are average to above average in weight, you might consider a firmer mattress to save on your investment. - Sleeps Hot Unless your plush mattress has integrated cooling technology, you will tend to sleep hotter. When a mattress "cuddles" you, heat retention will be evident throughout the night. - Not for Back or Stomach Sleepers Plush mattresses are usually dedicated to side sleepers only that weigh under 230 lbs. It's just not the choice for most back and stomach sleepers. The back sleeper's hips will potentially sink too far causing unsupported curvature of the spine. The same can happen with Stomach sleepers.

Firm Mattress Benefits and Drawbacks.

Conclusion: Somewhere In Between?

Don't see yourself fitting in either camp? Something in the middle will probably be your best bet. For the heavy side sleeper, you'll want something in the medium-firm feel to help relieve those pressure points and be supportive enough to last. If you are a lighter back or stomach sleeper, you may want to contemplate something between soft and firm options. Studies have shown that medium and medium-firm comfort levels best meet the sleeping needs of most sleepers. If you are a restless sleeper who sleeps in several different positions throughout the night, a medium firm will be the best compromise to accommodate all sleeping positions.

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