Mattress Obsessed

How to Know If You Need a Firm or Soft Mattress

Today,  mattresses come in all shapes and sizes to fit your sleep needs. From small and soft to large and firm,  finding the mattress that is best for you is an essential part of your health and to getting the best sleep every night.

One of the keys to  finding the best mattress for you is to determine if you need a firm vs. soft mattress or something in-between. (The answer might surprise you.)

Whether you're likely to prefer a soft or firm mattress is actually rooted in your sleep position — with stomach sleepers often preferring a firmer mattress, side sleepers enjoying a soft mattress and back sleepers preferring a medium firmness.

Even if you prefer a medium, firm or soft mattress, your body is programmed to automatically adjust itself to counter any misalignment during sleep. But, if you sleep on the wrong mattress, it may cause your body to have to adapt too much throughout the night, leaving you with aches and pains during the day.

To determine whether you need a firm or soft mattress, here are a few things you need to consider:

How to Determine if You Need a Firm vs Soft Mattress​​

Spinal Alignment is Key to a Good Night's Sleep

When our spine is in its natural position, the neck, middle back and lower back are in good alignment. This means that our lungs are able to take in more oxygen, increasing circulation and relieving joint and muscle pains.

On the contrary, poor alignment during sleep prevents the body from relaxing, therefore causing someone to not only get less sleep, but feel poorly when they wake up the next morning. To ensure you're getting your best sleep every night, choosing a mattress that is not too firm or not too soft for your personal sleep style is key.

So what's the deal with firm mattresses?

Although there are schools of thought providing support for both a soft or firm mattress, science generally accepts the following as the best answer: when it comes to your body relaxing during sleep, it is necessary that your bones have some resistance.

With a firmer mattress, your bones are forced to support your body during sleep, rather than relying on your muscles. This allows your muscles to relax, improving circulation. Additionally, your lower back is unable to sink in and collapse into the mattress.

If you're considering a firm mattress purchase, stop by your  nearest Mattress Firm and consider testing some of our best firm mattress options:

Best Firm Mattresses

Simmons Beautyrest Legend Garrison


Serta iComfort Blue Touch 1000 Memory Foam Mattress


What are the benefits of a soft mattress?

While having a firmer mattress provides your bones with more resistance and support, a softer mattress can give you the comfort and cushion you need to sleep happy throughout the night.

Generally, softer mattresses are best for back and side sleepers, as they conform to joints and the spine, providing you with enough cushion and support. If you're wondering what is a pillow top mattress or euro top mattress, the answer is much simpler than you may think.

If you are considering a soft mattress purchase, here are some great options you can test out at your local  Mattress Firm location:

Best Soft Mattresses

Sleepy's Hush 11″ Pillow Top Encased Coil Mattress


Find Your Happy Medium

Ultimately, your choice in a firm mattress vs. soft mattress really boils down to personal preference and sleep style. And, if you're really struggling to choose, you can even find a mattress that's somewhere in between, like a firm pillow top mattress.

At the end of the day, everyone should be able to find the best mattress that makes them comfortable. As the nations largest specialty mattress retailer, Mattress Firm has plenty of options that you can test out — stop by your  nearest Mattress Firm today and consult one of our sleep experts.

Happy snoozing!

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