Imagine sleeping on a mattress that’s so uncomfortable that you’re forced to wake up in the middle of the night to rest. It breaks our foamy little hearts to hear such stories from dreamers who prefer a firm mattress but currently own a soft one or vice versa. If you or someone you know has gone through a similar ordeal, today is your lucky day. We’re going to help you make the best choice between a soft and a hard mattress.
Difference between soft and hard mattresses
Softness or hardness here refers to how your mattress feels when you lie on it. It’s simply the firmness of your mattress. It is important to note that the best mattress choice here is highly based on personal preference.
But how do you even know what you prefer?
If you’re like most dreamers we know, you have used the universal test for mattress firmness – kufinya kama avocado.
However, this popular test does not truly help you to make the best choice. We recommend testing the mattress by lying on it for a couple of nights. It is best to buy from a vendor who offers at least a 30-day trial period. That way, you can return the mattress and get your money back if it feels too hard or too soft for your taste.
What really affects mattress firmness?
Besides personal preference, there are two main factors affecting mattress firmness: body weight and your favorite sleeping position.
When you lie on a mattress, how hard or soft it feels depends on how much pressure your body exerts onto the top surface. Given the same mattress, a heavy person will naturally press more against its surface than a lighter person. As such, heavier people are often better served by firmer mattresses while lighter people go for medium to soft mattresses.
- Favorite sleeping position
There are three main sleeping positions: side, back and stomach sleepers. Each sleeping position affects how you press against the mattress. The main pressure points when you lie down are your head, shoulders, chest, hips, buttocks, knees, ankles and heels. These are the more pointed or heavier body parts depending on your sleeping position.
A good mattress allows your spine to retain its natural curve by offering proper support to your body and ample relief to pressure points. Ideally, it should feel as if you are floating. There’s a reason why they call it floating to dreamland.
A bad mattress, however, distorts your normal spinal alignment and exerts excess pressure on some body parts. This is why you’ll wake up to pain and soreness in certain areas of your body, especially at the base of your spine (lower back).
Pros and cons of soft and firm mattresses
Keeping in mind that none of these mattress choices is perfect, knowing the advantages and drawbacks of each will help you make an informed purchase.
Cons of a soft mattress
- It can cause back pains for stomach and back sleepers.
- It has lower durability levels and tends to become too soft too quickly.
- For people sharing a bed, it can quickly become unbalanced and uncomfortable when one side sinks further than the other.
Pros of a soft mattress
- It provides ample cushioning around the shoulders for side sleepers.
Cons of a firm mattress
- If the top surface is too firm, the mattress can be quite uncomfortable for side sleepers. Heavier side sleepers, however, are often best be served by a firm mattress.
- The switch from a soft to a firm mattress generally feels uncomfortable but wears off with time.
Pros of a firm mattress
- Highly durable, which allows it to remain comfy for longer.
- Great at providing well-distributed body support since there is less mattress sagging.
Making the best choice
To recap, a good mattress should provide good spinal alignment. Just as when you are standing or seating, your spine needs to maintain its natural curve when you lie down. The mattress should also offer ample cushioning of the body parts that mainly press against the mattress surface.
Most importantly, nothing is set in stone and your personal preference will always carry the day. If you’re having uncomfy nights or back pains, seek medical attention and consider switching to a different mattress firmness.