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Firm vs. Soft Mattress: Is One Better Than the Other?

September 2, 2020  ·  7 min read

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When choosing a new mattress, most individuals have an opinion as to whether they prefer a firm vs. soft mattress. From firm to medium-firm, and from soft to ultra-soft, almost everyone has a favorite mattress comfort level.

However, most individuals also know that they should get a supportive mattress — and since firmness is often equated with supportiveness, this can lead to confusion. Is a soft mattress bad for you? Are all firm mattresses good for you?

Frankly, the answers to these questions depend on your preferred sleeping position, weight, and body type. Ultimately, though, it’s almost always possible to find either a soft or firm mattress that can satisfy your sleeping needs and preferences when you work with a mattress manufacturer you can trust. 

Learn how Texas Mattress Makers makes this possible and get answers to your top questions about investing in a firm vs. soft mattress. 

The Difference Between “Firm” and “Supportive” 

Before we get any further into the discussion of firm vs. soft mattresses, there’s one point that we need to address: the difference between a firm mattress and a supportive one. 

In the mattress world, a supportive mattress is one that promotes proper spinal alignment. Your spine has natural curves in it that should stay in their natural position when you lay down. A supportive mattress helps keep your spine neutral; it doesn’t “flatten” these curves, exacerbate them, or add additional curvatures. 

Meanwhile, firmness, along with softness, plushness, etc., are terms that apply to the feel or comfort of a mattress. In other words, a mattress can feel soft and be supportive, and not all firm-feeling mattresses are naturally supportive. So long as they are properly manufactured, a supportive mattress can be made to accommodate almost all preferences for feel.

So, Is a Softer or Firmer Mattress Better? 

To this question we must reply with another: Better for whom? The feel of a mattress (firm vs. soft) is a personal preference. The important thing to keep in mind is that, soft or firm, your mattress must have the right support to give you a truly good night’s sleep. Supportive mattresses can be created in various ways. For example, imagine one of our hybrid mattresses, perhaps one that uses our Quantum mattress component as a support (i.e. base) layer to your mattress. 

All individually wrapped coil components are composed of individually wrapped coils that move independently of one another, allowing each spring to compress to the exact curvature of your body. In the case of the quantum coil, which uses micro coils and has about 200% more coils than your normal hybrid mattress, this creates a very supportive and firm-feeling sleeping surface for certain body types. 

The addition of a comfort layer on top of this supportive base layer can be a gamechanger. Depending on the material used in the comfort layer (latex, memory foam, etc.), a variety of firm to soft mattress feels can be achieved without sacrificing support. 

The same effect can be achieved in our other hybrid mattresses, not just ones using the quantum coil component. Mattresses of different feels and support levels can be made by placing mattress components like these into various combinations until you get the exact mattress that meets both your sleeping needs and preferences. 

Concerned that a soft mattress may start sagging on you? See our article on Body Indentations vs. Sagging.

Firm vs. Soft Mattresses for Each Sleep Position 

Trying to decide between a firm vs. soft mattress for side sleepers? Or a firm vs. soft mattress for back sleepers? Even though a supportive mattress can be made to accommodate almost all preferences for feel, a person should still consider their sleeping position when considering their preferred mattress feel. 

People who sleep in certain positions or who have certain body types are more naturally suited to particular types and feels of mattresses.

Side sleepers

If you sleep on your side or like to switch your sleeping position during the night, you may consider purchasing a mattress with a soft or medium feel. When you sleep on your side, naturally wider areas of your body like your hips and shoulders tend to sink deeper in the mattress. The soft top layers of a mattress can provide these areas with extra cushion and contouring, alleviating pressure points while still keeping your spine aligned.

Back and stomach sleepers

If you sleep on your back or stomach, you will likely be better off with a medium to a firmer-feeling mattress. When sleeping in these positions, the heaviest part of your body, your hips, tend to sink further in your mattress. A firm mattress helps keep your hips elevated, preventing aches and pains in your back. 

Combination sleepers

True combination sleepers are more likely to fare better with a medium-soft or medium-firm mattress, as these options provide the most versatility for your varied positions while also making it easier for you to switch from one position to another. 

That said, we encourage you to pay attention to the sleeping position that you tend to gravitate toward when you get into bed. This sleeping position may actually be your preferred sleeping position, and you may simply be tossing and turning due to discomfort from a mattress that doesn’t suit your needs.

Firm vs. Soft Mattress Back Pain

Whether your back pain is caused by your mattress or from other activities or injuries, a bad mattress will only make things worse. Generally, those who suffer from back pain need to look for a very supportive mattress that is also on the firmer side. If you suffer from chronic pain, we highly recommend speaking to one of our mattress experts to find a mattress that can help alleviate your symptoms. 

If you have questions now, you can also chat with a Texas Mattress Makers expert online.

What if Me and My Partner Have Different Mattress Needs?  

Many partners are able to find a mattress that suits both their needs. Should your needs differ significantly, however, you still have options. One option is a dual comfort mattress — a single mattress made so that each side caters to you and your partner’s specific preference. Our dual comfort mattresses can be made with queen-size and above. Just keep in mind that this option must be purchased at one of our locations or by talking to one of our experts online or over the phone.  Another option is a split king mattress — two separate mattresses housed within one bed frame. Both options can provide a solution to the problem of different sleeping needs. 

For more information, see our article about king vs. split king mattresses.

Don’t Know Whether you Should be Buying a Firm vs. Soft Mattress? We Can Help! 

Deciding between a firm vs. soft mattress is just one part of the process of finding a mattress that will bring your rest and comfort night after night. With so many factors to keep in mind, choosing a mattress can quickly become overwhelming. 

At Texas Mattress Makers, we have over four decades of experience manufacturing mattresses and helping our customers find the best mattress for their particular sleep needs, preferences, and budget. All of our mattresses are hand-crafted by our team, allowing us to provide our customers with high-quality products while passing on savings. 

If you already know what you’re looking for, you can browse our full selection of handmade mattresses online. Simply choose to shop by either comfort level, mattress type, mattress size, or budget and chat with an expert online if you have questions. 

Or if you would prefer to get a feel for our mattresses in-person, visit us at any of our convenient Houston locations today!

More Helpful Articles by Texas Mattress Makers: 

Mattress 101

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